Hi. Tony here with my second blog entry.
Police Commissioner Terry Lewis with Tommy gun
Pig City was mixed down and ready for airplay on 4ZZZ just a few days before the October 22 election in 1983.
Some nine months later we went back into the studio and recorded “Material Possession”. I then had 1000 singles pressed by Sundown Records on my own label, A Records.
Here then is the B side, Material Possession. This version was taken off the original master tape, and slightly remastered.
Back in 1983, when I wrote Pig City, I wasn’t in a band at the time. Recording it was the obvious thing to do, but it wasn’t so simple in those days. Very few local bands had more than a four track tape deck.
I discovered that community radio station 4ZZZ had a one inch eight track tape deck, but the rest of the intended recording studio was a shambles. It was a large room, but to make space a staircase had been ripped out, leaving a pile of bricks and rubble, a huge steel girder, and a gaping hole in the ceiling.
After attending a number of 4ZZZ’s station meetings I was able to strike a deal. I could use the eight track if I built in the ceiling, (floor, from above) with 4ZZZ paying for the materials. I remember a whole team of people moving that bloody great girder with the aid of a block and tackle, but most of the building work was done by myself and my brother Terry. We spent ages drilling holes into concrete to anchor the supports for the beams.
It took us at a couple of months of regular work sessions to get all that done.Then it was a slow rush to get the recording done before the Queensland state election. My brother Terry and friend Nick Paine shared the work as engineers. Both of them were there most of the time. One of 4ZZZ’s former techs had almost built a mixing desk to recording specs which was never quite completed – we used an ordinary live desk instead. We did however have the luxury of two Neumann mikes belonging to 4ZZZ.
Recording by overdubbing is slow tedious work. Most people would get bored rigid within an hour or so of watching the same thing being played over and over.
First I laid down the rhythm guitar to a click track. It took ages and we ended up using two or three takes mixed together. Then it was the drums. Steven is a real pro and the only difficulty was trying different mike positions and settings to get the best sound. With the bed of the track down it was easier but with vocals, chorus, slide, lead, bass and sax to do, it took us a good couple of weeks of constant work. The main vocal was done on the first take, the slide only took about three, and Ian did the lead solo in one single take as well – amazing!
Nick and Terry were incredibly patient through all this, but when I did the sax solo last, I was doing a practice run through to warm up, which they recorded, then, in spite of my protests, declared it was quitting time.
They did the mix down and had it ready for airplay on 4ZZZ just a few days before the October 22 election.