Pots, Pans, Percussion!
Neil, Tim and I spent about five days in a little studio right in the middle of Dublin laying down the bones of the album together with our engineer Fergal. We hadn’t heard any of the songs before and Neil had a big whiteboard with a list of tunes to be recorded. Some of them involved Neil teaching us the parts from the piano which was fun; except for me trying to follow his left hand to figure out the bass line for ‘I Like’ which I couldn’t get my head around to save my life. That one took ages!
We borrowed a nice double bass for the sessions from a friend of Fergal’s who was also called Simon. I remember that I played most of the album on my 5-string Warwick bass which Neil absolutely hated the look of (“It looks like an IKEA bass!” were his exact words) but he changed his mind when he heard how good it sounded on the songs. Never let me play it live though... I think those sessions were the first time I met Thomas Walsh. He came to visit us one afternoon and sang some backing vocals on ‘The Complete Banker’ which sounded fantastic.
One of the things I remember very clearly was us all recording the percussion/drum parts for the title track. Neil wanted something different from the drums and I suggested we should try some kind of trashy Tom Waits feel with pots and pans. We raided the kitchen and all stood in different corners of the room bashing out a little broken rhythm loop at full blast on tin pots and baking trays. Sounds great on the album.
We had great fun working on that album. We recorded about 18 songs that week including a very early version of ‘Napoleon Complex’. Neil’s new Nespresso machine proved invaluable.
Simon Little, December 2020.
Photo: Mark Tipping.