ZATCB TUNE BY TUNE, AND AUDIO FILES (scroll horizontally )

The No Geese moments
Or 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.

I 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.

Early Tapes
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.

There 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.

Mik Tubb

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1983 Demo

No Geese
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 for developments.
SA. Riddlesdown.

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.

(Sealed 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.


In the Tunnel
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.

Pere Ubu Rip-off
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


Loaf Of Legs

MJT. The archetypal welded song. Two or three riff melted, poured into a mould and left to set . SA Expresses discomfort with sensuality or something.

Aegememnon Sporran [play excerpt]
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!

Lock 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.

New one
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.


Meandering Thing
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.
SA. Agree!

Arribean Thing
MJT. Ancient as the bans of the Nile? Perhaps not but an old thing made up in the front room in Sanderstead after college.

11-Beat Thing
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 one.

Handsome Hand
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 realise this.
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 Thing).



Jumpy Beguine [play excerpt]
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.

Hot Garrotte
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 exist.
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.

Dance for People with Many Legs
MJT. Odd and deliberately obscure piece of guitar playing double tracked out of time with itself (experimental!).

Reeky Gust
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".

Alpha Road [play excerpt]
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 too.

No geese (again)
Enough said already.

Sawtooth Gripmaster

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 standing?

Bearded Man at Sleep [play excerpt]
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.

5 0 1
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.

Dog-eared moonlight
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.

Mysterious thing
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.


Sweaty thing [play excerpt]
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 most atmospheric.
PH. Sometimes used as a set opener by Levitation.

7-Beat thing [play excerpt]
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 mistakes.
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.

Future Plans
MJT. One of the greatest lyrics of all time?
SA. The nearest we got to country, which wasn't very near.

Elongated thing [play excerpt]
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.

Bernard Crapshit
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 more pastoral.
SA. I think we were a very honest band and every bit as soulful as Motley Crue.


Julian 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.

Ekim Bey
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.

Other Classic ZATCB Tracks not on above tapes...

The 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.

Urinal [play excerpt]
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.

Cow Orgy Edinburgh Sue, La La, Dig U2,......