Newsletter OCTOBER 2017
Many of you will have started to see dates coming up for a full-on Daintees tour this winter. See the poster right for details and also the gig page on the website which you can click through to buy tickets for individual gigs.
This promises to be an excellent tour as Martin, John, Chris and Kate focus on the new Bayswater Road album material - supplemented with plenty of old classics no doubt. They will be supported by Davy Cowan who is very well worth getting there early for.
Ahead of the tour, I had a chat with the main man himself about the making of Bayswater Road - an album that is getting rave reviews all over the place...
Rich. For the uninitiated – where is Bayswater Road and why did you name the album after it?
Martin: Bayswater Road runs along the side of Hyde Park on the way to Holland Park, not far from Queensway. There is a hotel called The Columbia which sits on Bayswater opposite Hyde Park and was renowned for it’s rock & roll friendliness in the late 70’s and early 80’s, but it’s connection to music goes much farther back. Originally an American Airforce hotel with a lavish and discreet underground drinking bar, it was frequented by Frank Sinatra on occasions, but by the 70’s was our equivalent to New York’s Chelsea Hotel.
Rich. Your daughter Phoebe did the cover art. (I can see Roy Buchanan on there and John Martyn, echoing back to tours with them in the 80s!). Phoebe is a talented artist isn’t she?
Martin: Yes Phoebe did a great job on the cover, I just told her a little about the hotel’s history in my day and some of the folks I spent the odd evening with, so she researched some of them, knew others already, as she is quite a music head and she interpreted my mumblings with her art.
R. The current Daintees line-up of John Steel (guitars), Chris Mordey (bass) and Kate Stephenson (drums) have been with you for some time now and feature on the album. Who else have you got there supplementing the core band? There are some excellent keyboard playing and backing vocals going on…
M: Yes we have a guy named John Trier on keyboards. John is known for his work in Richard Hawley's band and also with Duane Eddy, a great musician. Also, we have Neil James Morrison on violin, Jim as I call him was passing Sheffield as he mysteriously delivers art up and down the country in his white van, so I coaxed him over for the afternoon.
My old mate Henry Fossbrooke on D whistle and the lovely Susanna Wolfe on lead female vocals.
Also on additional backing vocals are my partner Anna Lavigne along with Pat She and Nuala Keller.
R. Where was the album recorded? And who was in the production chair?
M: It was recorded in Sheffield’s Yellow Arch studios, I produced it and the engineer was Richard Hawley’s main man and bassist Mr Colin Elliot. Colin is a brilliant engineer but still thinks like a musician, so it’s not like being in the bleeding Open University trying to find a method of communication beyond the analytical mindset.
I like to communicate in metaphors and parody and Colin quite happily caters for that.
Everyone contributed highly though, so when you hear those guitar solos, drums or bass, the players gave us that. I might have briefed them, but if they were going the right way I wouldn’t interfere with that, so there is a lot of them on the album, but to me, that's what production is all about, if the players are good, simply guide them and they will deliver.
R. Did the songs come together quickly for this one? There are collaborations with Stephen Foster-Pilkington and your partner Anna Lavigne…
M: Oh aye, I like writing socially these days and could have easily finished them off and kept all the PRS for me, but Anna is a brilliant lyricist as is Steve Foster Pilkington, they are both very close friends of mine and I trust them impeccably, I wanted to interact with them and again they totally delivered.
R. I think it is a very strong album from a songwriting perspective - a lot of variation, can you tell me about some of the songs?
"High Sierra Snow" – reminds me of classic 60s pop
M: High Sierra Snow was written in the car in about 5 minutes. I asked Anna to write an extra verse and she also drafted the whole song with me later, great fun.
"Secret Crush" – with girl group harmonies
M: Those girl group harmonies are me & Susanna Wolf! Again written in fun really quickly, I was kinda channelling the Ramones with Phil Spector and a tad extra 1978 energy. I asked Steve Foster Pilkington to write an extra verse which he did perfectly. I already had the other verse but I wanted to share the song with Steve cos I love him and he is super talented.
"She Rides Horses"
M: Written as prose straight into my ’Notes’ facility on a MacBook Air, one take over a coffee. I wrote it for Anna Lavigne as she was being terrorised by someone who is no longer with us.
She is a lovely soul and one day she borrowed a friend’s horse and went for a ride
with her. Her friend just happened to take a lovely photo of Anna trotting through
a field filled with giant daisies, the photo looked ethereal with the daisies coming
up to the horse's
breast giving the effect of multi-dimensions.
When I saw the photo I responded immediately with the prose, which I took with
me to Sheffield on my phone and just sang it off the paper and showed the band
some chords. Things happen very quickly with the Daintees, but boy are they
great players, make things look easy.
I later had a pal paint the photo and here it is…
M: 1978 energy, converse, tight jeans, anti-violence and killer instinct song.
I love Susanna’s vocals on this, she reminds me of Pat Benatar hah!
R. On the early Daintees albums you were never afraid to broach difficult subject matter (e.g. Crocodile Cryer and Caroline) – I can hear a continuation of that in songs like Thorn For A Rose and Elaine…
M: That will always be there as it’s part of who I am.
R. Be great to hear the songs live on the upcoming tour. You have such a huge back catalogue now - how do you decide on a set list?
M: Well I reckon on the Bayswater Road tour we should just play the album as it’s very upbeat and should have a pretty good impact. Then as an encore, we’ll play an hour of Daintees classics bang bang bang, Bob’s yer uncle!
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