Steve Harley

& Cockney Rebel

DIARY 05/10/09

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Slightly shattered. Ten tracks recorded, some sung, others waiting for lyrics. It’s like jet-lag. Coming down from the mad rushes of adrenalin that go with the producing/recording process. Been living-in at a residential recording studio. Odd to get up and share breakfast with the band. Odd, too, to share the dinner table each night, but they are all decent blokes and easy to get along with. I’m the one with the swimming head, tunes and words, production plans all juggled at the same time, so I’m the distant one over the boiled eggs and soldiers. Home for a few days, then to Germany, so the rush will re-start, and I’ll be all the better for it. Playing Live, that’s still number one for me. Berlin beckons and then on-the-road with the same decent blokes. Could be much worse, I know.

Been battling a tooth ache, too. My dentist has x-rayed it twice and found nothing untoward. But it keeps coming back, hurting. Robbie Gladwell mentioned “dentine”, which sounds close, even though I haven’t a clue what he’s on about. The new website will include a short film of the band and myself around the big pine kitchen table, routine-ing a new song. We sat there most mornings to rehearse. Raw, acoustic. Barry Wickens came to Suffolk and wrote with me for a couple of days. We got something good from the sessions. We shared a tune in the studio, too. Got the guys to the living room one evening, played them a chorus, with words, which I’d carried for at least 5 years. It didn’t make the cut on The Quality Of Mercy song list, but I knew it had something.....by 2.15 a.m we’d nailed it. Got a really good tune, mid-tempo, rocky, and the lyrics are coming along the “get the boys home from Afghan and Iraq” lines. So Barry, James, Lincoln and Stuart will share a little publishing, which could be handy. Robbie was away for most of the sessions, working for Gibson, I believe. Barry has depped brilliantly, showing electric guitar skills we all knew little or nothing about. Actually, there’s going to be much more electric guitar on this album than violin. But the violin already recorded will stun you. Barry is at a wonderful peak these day. There’s double-bass on a few tracks, hammered dulcimer, strange drums from Stuart, with tea-towels deadening tom-toms and military bass drum tapped by palm. Interesting sounds. Truth is, I feel more 70s at the moment than ultra-modern, and that suits. But then with the mini-moog and other eccentricities, the guys tell me it sounds modern anyway. Am experimenting like the early days at Abbey Road, and enjoying myself greatly. Got a beautiful recording for The Lartey Sisters too one day. Their song, “Nobody’s Here” with Barry and James arranging a Chamber Orchestra piece for me. Maybe Sir Terry will break them before he goes. I plan to get it to him almost in person. Kerr, my son, came by for an overnight stay and James Lascelles, gentleman that he is, suggested he play a cameo on piano. He does. And fine playing it is too. Proud dad? You bet.

SH