A few months ago, following a painfully delayed journey from north to south, I was greeted to the new Blah mansion by the smell of tequila, sea bass and freshly printed money. Something was different. The clocks went forward. I was in the future. The year 2000 was upon us – the actual year 2000! The one they hyped up but didn’t actually give us. Anyway, the album was already underway, about three or four songs deep. I could hear this one was going to be particularly special with Lee taking the reins on production duties, but now also having a keyboard player and occasional dabbler of guitar and bass guitar, Jack Chard at his disposal it became easier to create the sounds he wanted. A sombre, melancholy, feel-good but somehow also sad and thought-provoking collection of songs began to emerge. Some of the songs were reworked after Lee expressed his unhappiness at their lack of ‘feeling’. I specifically recall him kicking off at no one about how a couple of the songs needed tweaking due to their lack of “real fucking emotion. I want this music to actually make me fucking feel something, for fuck’s sake.” or something like that he said. He immediately began frantically re-editing drums and barking orders. I think he made someone sitting in on one of the sessions cry at one point. Not because he was being particularly poignant or deep but because he was just aggressively screaming about the lack of emotion in the beat he was making. The crying person appeared to make him very happy. He responded to the shrill howls with a guttural laugh followed by a screamed “yes!” then thanked them, gave them a fiver and some tissues then bailed out of the door. No one knew where he went and I didn’t see him again until the next time I returned to the south.
Upon my return some weeks later, drastic changes had been made. The floor and storage space of the hallway in the mansion was now entirely covered wall to wall with strange rustic futuristic pelf and carefully placed wires that didn’t seem to go anywhere. I pushed the door open through the rubble and mess into the living room and entered to witness a beautiful but sobbing woman watching the ‘ADHD CONCERTO 77’ video on mute. Jack had a bass guitar in his arms and some headphones on and started shouting about how he “will be a great bass guitarist very soon”. Lee then burst into the room, acting as though this wasn’t two weeks later and I had been there the whole time, as if he had only just left the room and this was five minutes later. “Where the fuck have you been laa? Come ‘ed then, you got that verse?” I didn’t know what verse he was talking about but before I could answer he played the latest and almost final version of “Bad Foot Forward”. I wrote a verse on the spot and recorded it a couple of hours later. When I finished, Lee still wasn’t happy and demanded more feeling in the music. He wanted the beat to switch up into an emotional, hard-hitting, hardcore rock and roll chorus section. This version of the chorus (or at least a chopped up slowed down version of it) ended up being the outro of the song after being replaced by a more mellow version.
After this, Lee demanded Jack make the guitar cry for the entirety of my verse as Lee felt it all still needed more feeling. During the making of this song, a fight broke out outside the house. After watching several people hit each other with random objects on the street, I turned to face the room to find Lee had disappeared again. He returned several hours later with DJ Jazz T and a bunch of DJ equipment. I hadn’t realised that the album was now 15 songs deep and this was the apparent “last phase” of its completion. Over the next few days, Lee decided to email the song “F U SAVE ME” to a Philadelphia producer and rapper who had reached out a few years back known as Sadhu Gold. Lee said he is the only one who should rap on this beat other than him. He put the album on hold for a week until Sadhu sent his verse back. The next day he decided this song must be heard right now followed up in a couple of weeks by ROCKET FUEL, so he distributed them both as singles. He then decided to start re-tweaking everything all over again. He locked himself away for a couple of days making beats and returned with a couple of tracks containing samples, as he decided the album needed some different sounds. One of these tracks was the beat for “FONELINE 06”, which is a remake of a song we had recorded in 2006 but never released. We recorded to it without a bass line but in the day or so in which it took Lee to make the two beats, Jack had mastered the bass, so he added the final bassline and Bob’s your cousin.
Later that same day (after fucking off for a couple of hours, again) Lee returned with a fresh bottle of tequila and demanded all the guests sleeping in the living room wake the fuck up as Baxter must now come around and record his verse for a song I hadn’t personally heard yet. He said it was a “colossal rap song and everybody below 6 foot must leave… except you Grubb… Oh and Jack, obviously.” Jack still had headphones on and was now mastering some other instrument in the corner. Minutes later, everybody left including Lee. I sat watching Vlad TV interviews and smoking on my own in the house for several hours. At around 4 am Lee re-emerged with Baxter and two pretty Japanese ladies carrying plastic bags full of food. They introduced themselves and spoke only in Japanese. The ladies made themselves at home while Lee and Baxter forced me to drink tequila from a plastic shot glass on my own while they drank vodka and orange juice and discussed the song they were about to record. Both of them tried to rap their verses out loud before they stepped to the mic and neither of them could get past the halfway point. Baxter then announced he knows what’s going on and took a healthy swig from a bottle of tequila on the table in front of me. He passed it to Lee who then done the same and said, “yes, great decision, let’s go”. Lee then stepped to the mic and recorded his verse in one take. Baxter then stepped up and done the same. During the melee, the 2 pretty Japanese ladies had vanished. I didn’t even notice at first until Lee walked to the couch and picked up one of the plastic bags full of food. He took out a couple of packets of crisps and lettuce, he balanced the items on the side of the couch then pulled out a framed A5 sized picture of Lou Reed from the same bag. He said, “this is it; Lou Reed 2000!!”. Nobody responded. He left the living room, Baxter left the mansion and I went to sleep on the living room floor. I woke up early the next day and left before anybody woke up.
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