Stu leaves band, Weird become the Seventeenth, 4 years pass, Stu comes back, Weird write kick ass rock album.
2004 Facebook launches , Ireland bans smoking in pubs, Greece win the Euros and Weird make a comeback. It was never going to work…
Facebook that is.
The Background, let’s rock this shit.
When Stu returned to pick up the guitar there were grins all round the room. It had been four years since we had thought Weird had had its day and the bands legacy would be a couple of EPs and a ropey album ‘Cold home Street’. I had already been working with Stu on various projects having met him at Behind The Wall by chance. Amongst our new musical projects was an idea of a Weird ‘best of’ but in acoustic form. We had recorded Glass People first, that would appear on Whapper Stormer. I had mentioned to Greg and Derek that Stu and I were playing again. Strangely we decided against reforming the band and instead approached Kevin Byrne and Chris Burt with a proposal to start a new larger group. Other commitments prevented both Kevin and Chris from attending practise and myself, Derek, Greg and Stu found ourselves back in our old practise room with only a handful of songs from the big group practises. However Stand For Your Rights was written that very night and suddenly the desire to reform and write a new album was back.
Writing an album the easy way…
We wrote the album quickly. There was no pressure to evolve our sound as we were simply back to enjoy playing music. The songs are generally simple 4 chord progressions that the quo would be proud of. The songs had a great feeling though, from the shouty anger of Easy Way, the smoke hazed Trying To Grab Hold to the darkness of The Ending and its middle 8 that we have yet to better. We all felt part of the writing of the record and the solos were back. Now the challenge was to get the energy of the songs recorded.
One Take Jake.
We recorded, mixed and mastered the entire album ourselves. In 2004 we had very little equipment. I had a Tascam 788. My first digital recorder. A Stagg condenser microphone that was used for everything from the mono overhead drum kit sound to the vocals and guitars. A Shure sm58 was used on the snare and I have no idea what was used on the kick. The drums were recorded in Derek’s biggest bed room in his flat. It had high ceilings and the shape of the room lended itself to excellent acoustics. To this day it is still one of the best rooms I have recorded a kit in. The bass was in the smaller bedroom, guitars in the kitchen where the floor was wooden so a brighter sound for the guitars and a vocal booth in the tiny corridor. Egg cartons were used for acoustics, and as I stood and admired our little booth I had no idea that I had no idea what the fuck I was doing.
The recording went well, the songs were well rehearsed. We recorded much of the album in the flat in around three separate weekends. We drank a lot, ate a new thing called Subways. My favourite was the foot long meatball. (Still is) We had everyone around at some point to sit and drink, smoke, eat and drink. Gav McVicar, Kev Bryne and Dave Broon can be heard cheering as Greg nails a bass line in one take. Such a fun time, it spills onto the record despite the many dark moments that the songs have. Then there was the biblical rain. The heaviest rain I can recall, washing my old Renault that was sat outside. It was flooded. So I had another beer and recorded the rain that can be heard on the fade out at the end of the album.
So we gigged OMS, until our fingers bled.
We have never gigged an album as much as we had OMS. Sometimes playing twice a week which is a lot for us. Even more impressive given that our jobs were already starting to grind us down. We gigged Glasgow, Dundee, Edinburgh, Falkirk and Kirkcaldy. Kirkcaldy was simply brilliant. The Path Tavern. We met a band called Kranksolo on our travels, fucking loved that band and they became firm friends. They invited us to play the Path. The Krankies were a riot. One of the support acts had these huge shoes that lit up and a huge spiky hair. They were camp metal. 13 Tombs. Brilliant. We drove around in a big blue automatic Vauxhall called Vulture. The Cavern was good as well. Beatles played there you know.
reception and Legacy.
OMS generally went down well with our faithful. We still play Waiting On The Sound of Your High heels Baby and our clan love it. the Falkirk Herald were kind in their review, the Daily Record went meh and looking back I can see why. One More Solo is one of our best albums, the fun we had during that era will be hard to match. The original recording just needed a bit of mastering.
Ten Years On. The remaster.
A lot of remasters are awful cash ins that add nothing to the original recording. It wouldn’t be hard to improve the sound of OMS. The original was mixed and mastered in my living room on a pair of huge Celef speakers designed for hi fi use. I got it all wrong. The mix was buried under a sludge of low and low mid frequencies. Every song faded forever which Derek kindly pointed out on a daily basis for years. He had a very valid point.
Ten years on I put the CD into the D3200
Unfortunately I could not strip the songs back to tracking level as they had not been backed up… So there are limitations to what I could do, most remasters are the same. Get it right at the source as they say. These days I have a wee bit more knowledge, a set of budget monitors and basic sound acoustics in a purpose built studio. When I played the original recording it was glaringly obvious what needed fixing. I applied huge EQ cuts to the lowmid bass frequencies which opened up the mix. The guitars have come through quite well. I’ve added some dynamics to the mix. Easy Way has a gain of 1db at the chorus. The things you learn! Cold Calling has a new mix that I found. Cold Calling has always been poor recording. One of those songs that worked well live but on record it suffers. Fade outs have been cut and edited better. Not a huge difference but an improvement. The remaster will be yours absolutely free via download at our online album hub that is https://weirddecibels.bandcamp.com
How much do I love WordPress on android its a riot…
I hope you enjoy One More Solo, its reached its cheeky tenth birthday. Treat it well or it might rebel on you. Its an angry wee bugger.