thursday, july 22nd 1999
thom arrives & plays a new song on the acoustic. sounds great but has no name, so now on referred to as the song with no name
. we move on to "lost at sea/in limbo"
after only nine months work its starting to sound like its getting somewhere. good in fact. The others sound ok too.( everything
, everyone/the national anthem
). highlight of the day is attempting 3 part harmonies on "neil young *9"
- not the harmonies themselves, but phil cracking up because he feels a bit like that drummer from the eagles. a fucking brilliant rehearsal. its great to be in our band.
friday, july 23rd 1999
start by working on 'optimistic'
. i really love the words, especially the line "this one just crawled out the swamp" reminds me a bit of PJ Harvey's blues stuff. cool. a couple of interesting jams. one of them is jonny's who bemoans the fact that his stuff never turns into proper songs. its good but he doesnt realise it, as hes already bored of it by the time he plays it to us. finished by playing 'neil young *9'
or as cozzie calls it the 'phil is don henley' song. It sounds even better today. don't go on too long as its warm and unusually summery today so drive home and get caught in the inevitable friday traffic jams.
tuesday, july 27th 1999
a pretty frustrating day, but now we've been doing this for so long, you realise it can't all be like last week. it starts well with a different version of 'how to dissapear'
and 'everything in its right place'
. we then get sidetracked by a couple of loose ideas for songs (one is very like the Fall). However we have definitely lost our way with ' you and whose army'
- it was sounding great last week, so what happened today? time to go home.
wednesday, july 28th 1999
it may well be that because we are working on completely new material it seems that we have not moved much today, like yesterday. but we discussed ' follow me around'
and how we would like to approach it, rather than just start playing and thereby fall into old habits. plank says he likes the 'remain in light' style jam we had which is good because we were pretty nonchalant about it. 'de la soul'esque jam at end.
thursday, july 29th 1999
warts and all, warts and all......... the last two days were brewing up to this.....working on 'up the ladder'
. 30 seconds into it & it sounds utter shite. thom stops it. lack of energy. phil gets pissed off. we talk a bit. start up again with a dose of the 'fuck you's. sounds better almost immediately. funny that. oh and the new song from 22nd is called 'move along'
for the moment. also played the cminor
. lovely sunny day.
friday, july 30th 1999
spend the first 3hrs on 'up the ladder'
. things are happening; jonny brings in the 'missy eliot' chord??!! thom starts singing lyrics from another song, cozzie comes with a catchy riff for the chorus and phil is ..funking. with that going on its very easy for me. working through something is such a cliche but if youre in the right frame of mind its so true. finish by playing "lost at sea/in limbo"
, "c-minor song"
. it would be great to have another look at "you and whose army?"
next week, and rescue it for the 'lets leave it for a while' pile. plank's not here today as he's in Lobo, Norway with Mike Scott- they have no nights in summer.
tuesday, august 3rd 1999
start by working on 'lost at sea'
. thom thinks weve already recorded the definitive version whilst in paris. not sure about that, mind you he admits that thats because of the way hes singing it (which hes only done with a tape alone whilst driving). i really like this new version, as much as anything for its relentlessness and energy. anyhow move onto a new song 'cuttooth'
- its got a 'neu' thing about it - long and hypnotic.... finish with attempting to rescue 'you and whose army'
wednesday, august 4th 1999
first time since starting this that i have had absolutely no desire to write anything about today. 24 hours and a good rehearsal (thursday) later things are a little clearer. yesterday or rather today (the 4th) there was very little played but a lot of talk. the problem we have found is that we are essentially in limbo - for the first time in our time we have nothing to get ready for, except 'an album', but weve been working on that since january and nothing substantial has come of it, except maybe a few harsh lessons in how not to do things*. its like how do we start this - when we made our last three albums, there were time restrictions - we no longer have these. are we going down 'stone roses' territory? the result of this somewhat frank discussion is that we need a plan and something to aim for...
*not quite true in hindsight - we have recorded some good stuff (not much, though).
thursday, august 5th 1999
much better today... the sun shines in and out of our rehearsal room and we get a lot done... start with 'optimistic'
(still sounding great - jonny tries some cool ondes martenot on it - the high stuff is good, not however when he follows the main riff). move on to 'up the ladder'
- sounds better with more space. segway into 'follow me around'
and a reworking of the 'cminor song' (in a stax stylee). jonny meanwhile is attempting to put the vocal mic through his analogue filters - which looks like a remake of an old telephone exchange. "hello vicar, yes ill put you through to mr kipling"... so the last two songs are punctuated by sudden bursts of unearthly noises, both extremely good and extremely bad.
friday, august 6th 1999
last day of the week and last rehearsal for a couple of weeks as the eclipse takes place next wednesday. so we run through most of the songs. i think that these rehearsals will be viewed in hindsight as where we turned a corner (or hope so). obviously working on the songs and playing again has helped, but just as importantly we have been forced to confront certain things - like what the fuck are we doing exactly - how do we set up the next bit of recording so that we dont start 20-odd songs and not finish one of them. its taken us seven years to get this sort of freedom, and its what we always wanted, but it could be so easy to fuck it all up.