TUNE BY TUNE, AND AUDIO FILES (scroll horizontally )
No Geese moments
the 'Keyfoot' experience or 'Apefrogs' barn dance. We had many of
these moments, and many are to come. No Geese was the first I remember.
Simply put this is a time at rehearsal or jam where there a complete
flow between the players, coming out with new tunes and riffs and
changes as if by magic. A complete empathy in the non-verbal domain,
a group symbiosis where individuals are distinct but their input
combined becomes more than expected or imagined outcome. A bit like
moving trains making different noises, changing fluidly.
admit I labour the case but when it happens it is awesome and a
good reason for staying alive. I think that the 'downs effect' and/or
glue may have contributed to these moments. Possibly even practice.
Similar are moments of very good playing as an ensemble of tunes
we already new. Handsome Hand basic tracks were recorded straight
off as was Dog Eared Moonlight. This did sometimes work live, probably
more times than I remember as we created things that were difficult
to live up to in mixed company.
Steve captured much of our early efforts to tape. This involved
evenings and weekends of recording putative tunes, or frequently
anything that came to hand or mind. There were rare attempts at
whole projects e.g. the druids from mars but they rather miss the
charm of a more social appraoch.
are some healthy ideas with pointers the feel and freedom of much
of the later material. There was also the occasional female voice
to be heard. There is the first appearance of the wasp, various
motley instruments, including tea tray and cardboard boxes all the
way to Zag pere's Vibraphone.
| CDs, tapes etc
MJT. A group where everything clicked when jamming to produce a
tune that seemed more cohesive and polished. The funky town riff
helped quite a lot in this respect.
SA. One that the Hawkwind fans liked. Like so many ZATCB lyrics
this one is autobiographical as I really did meet a young lady on
the downs with eyebrows like Noel Gallagher's sister. Other early
songs inspired by real events include the little heard Meaty Bloke
("He was meatier than a meat pie"), You Think You're So Funny ("well
I'm not laughing you bastard"), I'm a Whisker, and the song Zag
sang about the pimple on his bottom.
MJT. At this stage we gad a penchant for tunes that were pastoral,
folk inspired (still do I guess). I guess this was a result of time
spent in the grassy suburbs and of listening to the incredible string
band amongst others. Ragwort is probably the best and most complete
example of the folk beads. It is a shame that this (and many of
these earlier tunes) have not been re-recorded but watch this space
MJT. Pop song about ropey parties at college and their aftermath.
It was written in a new tuning on the guitar. Who was that large
snorkel wearing being playing the wasp?
SA. A tribute to soirees at Toms, Nicks posh party in Shirley, the
famous Tonka Toy and racing commentary party of Crystal Palace,
the game known as "Stick", the wilful damage known as chucking pudd,
glubbing etc etc.
with a loving) Radio Hook (full of my looking-glass)
MJT. A few years of listening to Dave Brubeck and the timely appearance
of Golden Brown by the Stranglers created a bit of a taste for varied
time signatures. This was I think the most obvious go at a something
with a flavour of jazz waltz type of thing. It has a nice chorus
and good playing but regrettably no real melody throughout. Can
this be rectified?
SA. Mik being unduly harsh. It swings, in its own fragile way.
MJT. Simple riff that at times sounded quite funky. Did a really
good version of this on the key foot tape which we tried to recreate
at Vines Cross with partial success.
SA. That would make the keyfoot tape 3 or 4 years earlier than my
estimate. I guess if you remember 39 Mitchley Hill, you weren't
there. The fizz, the buzz, the echoes... I like the bit where it
falls to pieces then comes back in.
MJT. One of the favourite bands of the time was Pere Ubu, in particular
the Modern Dance album. This riff is unusually close, for ZATCB,
to the original song, in this case non-alignment pact.
SA. My little legs are very weak.
MJT. The archetypal welded song. Two or three riff melted, poured
into a mould and left to set . SA Expresses discomfort with sensuality
MJT. One of the best names on the album. Also one of the least tuneful
though I think it's a good song, with awesome bass playing.
SA. Theres no flab on this one, it whips along. For the intro voices
we recorded the lines normally, played it backwards and write it
down phonetically, recorded that, and played it backwards. Result!
up your Donkeys (aka "Zappa Thing") Coulsdon Vancouver
SA. Being an innocent sort and a bit slow on the uptake, it was
only yesterday that I realised "he's a bishop in a sea of clams"
had a sexual connotation. To think I sang such filth.
MJT. I regret that it only has sexual connotations in hindsight.
At the time this was a flight of fancy based on the sight of a huge
pile of empty seafood shells in Selsdon Park Hotel. I am not sure
where the bishop is from. If I had tried to write filth deliberately
it would most likely been some insipid drivel about fur and bullets
and so on. In fact, if anyone is interested I have much of this
material for sale, with ‘personal' items too. Perhaps not right
for the ZATCB site though.
SA. I wish both LUYD and CV were better recorded. Methinks nobody
but us knows what the lyrics are. Asif helps out on the vocals.
MJT. The main body of the tune was recorded in one take. Pretty
good playing though I think this was the only time we played it
so sadly lost to the public, except on this album.
SA. The bit where we keeping switching the stresses on the beats
back to front, whilst terribly muso, is one of my favourite 15 seconds
of this album.
MJT. It does what it says on the tin. I was always particularly
pleased to get to the end of the song without too many blunders.
SA. There's a whole oxbow lake of another tune that split off from
this one, but was never seen through.
MJT. Springtime found the beads in joyful, sappy mood. Very much
like a girl turning over in bed.
MJT. Ancient as the bans of the Nile? Perhaps not but an old thing
made up in the front room in Sanderstead after college.
MJT. Devilish riff which when pulled off was one of the best things
we did. I think Paul was inspired by the patterns of bell ringing
when he wrote this.
PH. If you look carefully, you might find a bit of Prince in this
MJT. I think this is so called after a curious incident in a games
parlour in Surrey Street market. I was happily losing my bus fare
home on frogger or similar game. After a little while I noticed
some young girls watching. As I lost with style I heard one of them
say "Hasn't he got nice hands". I greatly wenjoyed the walk home
after this. The tune is a homage to the blues, but you may not readily
SA. Done live in one take. I can really hear that front room. If
only we'd manage to record everything as simply (hello, Arribean
MJT. More like pictures at an exhibition than a pop tune. Certainly
not a beguine. The end part I still really like and the beginning
is a nod to the influence of trumpton in this period (on mjt anyway).
SA. Hey lets hear it for the middle bit too.
MJT. The beads go killing joke sort of. If our friend Rory didn't
sing on part of this then he should have. I like the beginning and
indeed the rest of the tune as it unusually aggressive sounding
for us who were inclined to be too diffident. Great live recordings
SA. A big influence on Kurt Cobain, this. Fantastic synth solo,
ludricrous bass sound. In a perfect world would be remixed to sound
as punchy as it wanted to be.
for People with Many Legs
MJT. Odd and deliberately obscure piece of guitar playing double
tracked out of time with itself (experimental!).
MJT. This is a very jolly little tune with a good rhythm. It is
sadly lacking a proper melody. Maybe one day it will get one.
SA. Our Lord spaketh unto us. "I'd give it 5 minutes if I were you".
MJT. A tribute song to our friends Alpha Road, headed by our ex-partner
Asif. More good bits in this song than in many (fairly bad) albums.
The fast bass playing on the fast bit and the slow part in the middle
are particular highlights.
SA. Scoots along nicely and the slow pseudo majestic bit is good
Enough said already.
MJT. This is an awesome riff with great force. Could 5/4 make a
comeback for the modern stage?
SA. So coy, Mr Juicy. Why don't you tell where the truckhouse was
Man at Sleep [play
MJT. The title is a tribute to blues jam at chess. The guitar riff
is the apotheosis of complex, tricky things and the lyrics are a
view on to a very strange world.
MJT. King of France, father of Charlemagne. A pastoral tune that
is annoying when you can't play it properly.
MJT. This was created in honour of a morning which found Steve,
Paz and myself up at 5.01am and singing the blues. Credit due to
Clive of Alpha Road who wrote the first part of the intro riff.
SA. So many think it's about darts.
MJT. One of the best melodies with a fluidity that was sometime
lacking in the arrangements.
SA. For a long time known as Reasonable Thing, on account of it
being nicey nice and R2 friendly. This was a tune we often bullied
mercilessly by playing as nastily as possible.
MJT. Modern bebop sadly forgotten.
SA. Unassuming but I really like the tune. Time to own up - the
wall of noise near the end was a practical, not artistic decision,
to drown out a big cock-up in the playing.
MJT. Not used to lying this was truly sweaty thing.
SA. Generally the live encore and the other one the Hawkwind fans
liked. A video for this track shot in Beddington Park at dusk is
PH. Sometimes used as a set opener by Levitation.
MJT. What a killer tune. What more can I say except to hint at the
beauty of relief when playing at a gig and finishing without any
SA. Another one which has a video. The video director has been airbrushed
from history inna Stalin stylee.
PH. This one was rarely rehearsed more than once a session. It hurt.
MJT. One of the greatest lyrics of all time?
SA. The nearest we got to country, which wasn't very near.
MJT. Miscellaneous rhythm guitar part to which Steve added a melody
that made it into something worth playing. Helpfully, it is not
particularly elongated but I guess the parts do last a bit longer
than is our wont.
MJT. I am at a loss to explain the strange influence exerted by
Bernard Cribbins on this song. It doesn't sound much like that one
about a bloke down a hole and there is no womble flavour. If you
can get past the comedy element I think this is a good song poorly
served by our lack of respect for it (eg at Vines Cross "I will
convince you that I've got a bad guitar sound"). There are some
cool changes and the whole thing hangs together. The end is yet
SA. I think we were a very honest band and every bit as soulful
as Motley Crue.
Bream in space with drugs
MJT. A rather over ambitious title I admit. The reference to JB
is because I like his recordings of baroque recitals. The drugs
are based on the huge reverb. As a tune it is neither spacey nor
like JB but not a bad tune with the e to a d.
MJT's favourite. The music is loud and complex but with still, subtle
parts. The band sounds good on the recording and the lyrics the
best I think of all the songs. This is one of the most evocative
things we did.
SA. Sheppey in winter - bleakness is my weakness.
Classic ZATCB Tracks not on above tapes...
Bitter Principle of Wormwood
Written long before Absinthe became available in the UK, a knotty
instrumental evocation of Victorian derangement and Paris in the
1890s. Wryneck's version is on their CD.
formidable crowd displeaser influenced by Glenn Branca (or did
we arrive at the same idea, only stupider, by happy accident?) and
drinking Gold Label barley wine in the Dog and Bull.
Orgy Edinburgh Sue, La La, Dig U2,......