November 2010

Page Separator Image

Sorry, I have been way to busy since the start of this month to even think about posting here guys!

The reason has been the huge urgency surrounding the pre-production and preparation for the imminent pre-Christmas release of the debut CoolBeyond Zero album When Mother Time Is On Your Side featuring my great friend and dearly departed soul mate Marc Traynor!!

One of the major reasons for the additional excitement is the fact that the band have booked a mastering session with the absolute genius that is John Astley that Mark (Morgon-Shaw) and I are going to attend. Mark mixed many of the songs on the album that also features the mixing talents of Master Traynor. John's pedigree is longer than an arm and a leg put together as can be seen from this list of his credentials, hence all the excitement -

KEY S - SINGLE LP - ALBUM OST - ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK DVD - DVD SACD - SUPER AUDIO CD M - MASTER RM - RE-MASTER Abba 8 LPs - Back catalogue LP RM Abba Abba Gold LP RM Abba SOS - The Best of Abba LP RM Abba More Abba Gold LP RM Abba The Singles Collection BOX M Abba Waterloo Anniversary Edition LP M Abba DVD The Definitive Collection DVD M Alex Cuba Band Humo de Tabaco LP M Alvin Lee 5 LPs, back catalogue LP RM Tori Amos Welcome to Florida DVD M Tori Amos Scarlet's Walk LP M Tori Amos Strange Little Girls LP M Tori Amos To Venus and Back LP M Tori Amos From The Choirgirl Hotel LP M Tori Amos Tales Of A Librarian LP/DVD RM Tori Amos Spark S M Arms Of Kismet Eponymous LP M Ash Intergalactic Cosmic 7's LP RM Ash Cosmic Debris LP RM Ash Envy S M Aurora Ordinary World S M The Birds The Birds LP RM Moya Brennan Two Horizons SACD M BR5-49 Best Ofandhellip;andhellip; LP RM Catatonia Paper, Scissors, Stone LP M Eric Clapton The Rainbow Concert LP RM Eric Clapton Crossroads 2 LP M Eric Clapton Just One Night LP RM Naimee Coleman My Star and Bring Down The Moon S/LP M Hugh Cornwell Hi Fi LP M Costar Keep It Light LP M Roger Daltrey Ride A Rock Horse LP RM Roger Daltrey Daltrey LP RM Roger Daltrey One Of The Boys LP RM Damian Dempsey Seize the Day and UK version LP M The Devlins Waves LP M The Devlins Consent LP M Ian Drury Tribute Brand New Boots and PantiesLP M Ian Drury 10 More Turnips LP M Electric Soft Parade Same Way, Every Day LP M Electric Soft Parade Empty At The End S M Ella Guru The First Album LP M Ella Guru Park Lake Speakers S M Louis Elliot The Long Way Round LP M John Entwistle Smash Your Head Against The Wall LP RM John Entwistle The Rock LP RM John Entwistle Whistle Rymes LP RM Sara Evans Crying Game LP M Rachel Fuller Cigarettes and Housework LP M Peter GreenSplinter Group - LiveDVD M Emmylou Harris One Big Love S M George Harrison My Sweet Lord S RM George Harrison All Things Must Pass LP RM George Harrison Dark Horse LP RM George Harrison Bangladesh Concert LP RM The High and Lonesome From The Playground LP M Hot House Flowers Out Of My Head LP M Jools Holland and Friends Small World, Big Band LP M Jools Holland and Friends Small World, Big Band 2 - More Friends LP M Jools Holland and Friends Small World, Big Band 3 LP M Jools Holland Hop The Wag LP M Jools Holland Swing compilation LP M Jools Holland Sunset Over London LP M John Lee Hooker Jack O' Diamonds LP RM Judas Priest 12 LPs, back catalogue LP RM Judas Priest Demolition LP M Judas Priest Metal Works '73 - '93 LP RM Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin Live BBC LP RM Level 42 Ultimate Collection LP RM Level 42 9 LPs, back catalogue LP RM Level 42 Level Best LP RM Lojo Boheme de Cristal LP M Lonestar Amazed S M Raul Malo Today S M Raul Malo I Said I Love You S M Martina McBride Blessed LP M Martina McBride I Love You FLP M John Mayall and Eric Clapton Blues Breakers LP RM John Mayall The Best Ofandhellip;. LP RM David Mead Mine and Yours LP M David Mead Comfort S M Keith Moon Two Sides Of The Moon LP RM Morgan Organized LP M Nils Petter Molvaer Streamer SACD M Leona Naess Ballerina S M The Nice and Keith Emerson Live 2002 Glasgow LP M Billy Nicholls Penumbra Moon LP RM Billy Nicholls Under One Banner LP RM Elaine Paige Centre Stage - Very Best Ofandhellip; LP RM/M Psychid Psychid LP M Ray Younger and Younger EP M Relish Rainbow Zephyr S M Relish Karma Calling LP M Relish Wild Flowers LP M Republica Speed Ballads LP M Rialto Night On Earth LP M Pauline Scanlan Red Colour Sun LP M Sex Pistols Live LP RM Slade Feel The Noize / Best of... LP RM Small Faces Small Faces LP RM Small Faces From The Beginning LP RM Tears For Fears The Hurting LP RM Tears For Fears Songs from The Big Chair LP RM Tears For Fears Sowing The Seeds Of Love LP RM Tears For Fears Tears Roll Down ( Greatest Hits ) LP RM Tetra Splendour Mr. Bishi LP M Pete Townshend The Best Of.. Coolwalkinsmoothtalkinstraightsmokinfirestokin LP RM Pete Townshend Scoop, Another Scoop, Scoop 3 and Scooped LP RM Pete Townshend and friends Jai Baba plus 2 LP RM Pete Townshend Live - House Of Blues Chicago LP M Pete Townshend Live - the Filmore 1996 LP M Pete Townshend Live - the Empire 1998 LP M Pete Townshend Live at Sadlers Wells 2000 DVD/CD M The Tractors Best Ofandhellip;andhellip;. LP RM The Vessels The Vessels LP M Tim Whitehead Personal Standards LP M Tim Whitehead and Colin Riley Tides LP M The Who Complete back catalogue LPs RM The Who 30 Years Max R and B - The Box Set BOX RM/M The Who Live in The Isle of Wight 1970 DVD RM The Who Tommy SACD and DVD-A SACD RM The Who A Quick One - Stereo reissue LP RM The Who Live At Leeds (reissue) LP RM The Who Who's Next Deluxe LP RM The Who Ultimate Collection LP RM The Who Live in Boston 2002 DVD M The Who and guests Tommy Soundtrack OST RM The Who and guests Quadrophenia Soundtrack OST RM The Who Kids are Alright OST RM The Who Kids are Alright DVD RM The Who and guests Live at The Albert Hall 2000DVD M The Who and guests Live at The Albert Hall 2000 SACD SACD M The Who Then and Now LP RM/M The Who Real Good Looking Boy S M The Who The Singles Collection BOX RM The Who The Official Bootleg Collection 2002-2004 Live LP M Them featuring Van Morrison The Story of Them LP RM Them Them LP RM Them Them Again LP RM Ultra Rescue Me LP M Various artists The Isle of Wight 1970, soundtrack OST RM Various artists Substitute - The Who Tribute album LP M

John's web site is HERE and WE ARE GOING TO MEET HIM!!

Add to this that John produced The Who's album Who Are You and is The Who's guitarist Pete Townsend's brother-in-law! He also stays in Pete's old house in Twickenham, of which he is going to give us a tour when we attend the mastering session!! I'll keep you posted on that one, if I have got the time!!!!

Jay, Cool Beyond Zero's keyboards player has also started the promotional wheels turning and has started a web-page at that already has 17738 fans!!! "The board is set and the pieces are moving" as Gandalf said in the Lord Of The Rings trilogy!!


Here is my report of the amazing day I had in Twickenham on Wednesday 17 November when Mark (who mixed half the album) and I met Jon and had the album mastered.

04:30 Alarm goes off for the start of the big day! (I had actually been awake most of the night in excitement and expectation of the day to come but I let it go off so that Linda was wakened for the short 20 minute drive into Edinburgh airport, if I am perfectly honest!) Got to the airport at 05:25 and went and checked at the (completely empty and devoid of any passengers) check-in desk that I was OK to head straight for security, as I had already printed off the Easyjet boarding passes. The lass confirmed it was OK to go straight to security, so I headed up the stairs and along to the scanners etc. I got to the gate and started listening to the mixes we were taking down to Jon, for the million-th time! Pretty soon, we were called to boarding and I headed to the plane, where I popped everything into the overhead locker, excepting my IPod, that I used throughout the flight (whenever possible) to again listen to the work we were about to present to Jon, for him to lavish his expertise and creative influence on!! It was a relatively short flight (throughout which I had switched my phone off) and I was soon heading for the plane to terminal bus, transporting us to Gatwick's North Terminal, whereupon I re-energized the phone by switching it back on. It had no sooner found the network than a message almost immediately came up from Mark saying "I am hereandrdquo;.I replied "so am I, just heading to the exitandrdquo;. I composed the text message (with my head mostly down) as I walked and had difficulty in trying to prevent myself falling over the cases being pulled and stampede of people rushing to exit the airport! I had just clicked send as I looked up and although I now knew Mark was around, I didn't know exactly where?! As soon as I reached the main exit into the foyer, there was Mark, this guy who is uncannily identical and the spitting image of his avatar on our site!! Mark also did look shorter than I had expected (why would something think that a person would be taller in the first placeandhellip;where does that come from??!!!) and we greeted each other, happy in our ability to finally communicate in real-time. This was so different from our previous INTERNET collaboration world of communication, with its inherent delay!! We arrived at the car and (SatNav duly programmed) headed off to Twickenham. We made good time (considering the traffic) and were forced to endure these strange complete start/stops that happen on motorways. We reached Twickenham main street, where we were held up the longest, this being where it must have taken us 15 minutes to travel 400 yards, although we were still heavily chatting, fueled by our expectations of the day!! We headed down to the Thames riverside (that overlooks Eel Pie Island) and as we were both hungry, parked up and headed back up to the High Street in search of some sustenance. It was there that Mark asked (and received) confirmation from a Traffic Warden, that the chosen parking space that contained Mark's car was indeed free of charge! We ended up in Starbucks, where we enjoyed coffee and sandwiches that Mark paid for, thanks pal! I tried to let Jon know we had arrived (via text) but I could not get the message sent and we continued catching up, chatting excitedly, both being energized and driven by our wonder at the impending experience. We seemed to be transformed back into two young children, with our promised treat just about to arrive!! The time disappeared very quickly and soon, everything consumed, Mark suggested we head down to Jon's, a total distance of around 150 yards. We initially took the wrong route and ended up walking past the house on the main road, before turning back and going along a narrow alleyway, very quickly arriving at Jon's front door. I knocked on the door and there was around a 40-50 second anxious delay, in which there was a strange slight feeling of doubt. Is this the right address, is this the right address!!! This was soon quelled, as the door opened and we were ushered in by Jon. I said we were early, to which Jon replied "I knowandrdquo; before we exchanged introductions. John said "right then, c'mon upstairsandrdquo; and we followed Jon up and into the mastering room. We walked into the mastering area, past a Baby Grand piano, completely festooned with large amounts of recorded medium. The piano was no less busy than the walls, shelves and fireplace, that consisted of a mass of (amongst others) Who memorabilia! It really did feel to me like I had entered Aladdin's cave, filled as it was with the physical artifacts of music, that same music I had been immersed in through my formative musical years and beyond! Jon returned to (what sounded like a) a jingle he was working on, that we had interrupted him from, due to us being early!Mark and I just sat and looked around in wonder, while he worked his magic on his current project, the same magic that was shortly going to be directed to our Cool Beyond Zero project!! Jon finished what he was doing, before turning and asking what we were going to be doing for the day, to which we replied "The mastering of our debut albumandrdquo;. I produced the memory stick that contained the Cool Beyond Zero final mix songs (Mark had also brought a duplicate memory stick containing the same songs as a back-up) and Jon plugged it in and downloaded the 14 songs (actually 15, as we had taken an alternative additional version of 36 Hours with louder bass). Jon said "Oh good, you've numbered them for meandrdquo; to which we replied that the running order was not cast in stone and could be changed, if he felt it would be improved by doing so. He said we would initially run with the chosen order, on the grounds that we had already put some thought into this. Jon then proceeded to commence his initial run through of the songs, during which he took his handwritten notes on to a sheet of A4. Mark and I were sitting on the 2-seater settee, occasionally exchanging comments as the songs ran by, confronted throughout by Jon's back, as he lavished his attention and incredible audiophile skills to his primary analysis of our material. Some of the conversation between Mark and I included - my pointing out of my (in my opinion only!) out-of-tune vocal phrase, that I will have to kill you if you ever divulge and clarify what it is Mark!! Mark's comment regarding Jon's monitors being very good at making the great mixes sound better and some of the others sound worse. My observation of that strange single guitar note that appears twice in Minute To Midnight that I don't know where comes from. I am not going to tell you where it is though, although both Jon and Mark now know!! It was just then that Jon's cat wandered in and eyed Mark and I, before jumping on to Mark's knee, where she stayed for around five minutes before deciding the grass was greener and migrated on to mine. It was shortly after that when she playfully caught Mark's finger between her teeth, as he was scratching her head! He then played with her as she batted him with her paws with sheathed claws before she again turned her attention to me and did the same. Jon continued through the album and soon finished his initial diagnostics, at which point he spun round and said "Well, you have given me my work cut out today haven't youandrdquo; before adding "time for a cup of tea?andrdquo; Mark and I gave our preferences (both white, no sugar I think Mark?) before Mark left to go to the toilet. As Jon was leaving to go and make the tea I extended a handshake that he warmly accepted. I said "Thanks Jon for offering us this amazing opportunity of your talents for the price you are giving us, that clearly shows to me your generosity and willingness to give back to the industry and that is also clearly of great benefit to usandrdquo;.Jon replied that he "loved days like theseandrdquo; and added that he got "a great deal of satisfactionandrdquo; from them. Jon then, as he was about to leave the room to go make the tea, asked "Did you do all the vocals on the album?andrdquo; I confirmed I had and his only words were "good, very goodandrdquo; as he left the room to go and prepare the cuppas! With John still making the tea, Mark returned and we both just sat and soaked in the copious images that surrounded us, my eye being repeatedly drawn to a clearly personally signed boxed set of Abba, that was sitting on one of the many shelves containing literally hundreds of CDs. After a little while, Jon returned with the three cups of tea and spoke about the current Alvin Lee project he was re-mastering, saying that the original recordings were not particularly good!Jon clearly doesn't simply name-drop for the sake of name-dropping, it being clear that it is simply because he has been (and continues to be) in the company of so many great names. He talks about Eric (Clapton), Roger (Daltrey) and Pete (Townsend) with consummate ease and it comes over so matter-of-fact! He spoke about having had the Goodbye Yellow Brick Road master a few weeks previous and how impressed he was with the absolutely awesomely quality the recording was. He spoke about Abba after I had asked him about the signed boxed set. He said that Bjorn had "hung-out hereandrdquo; when the musical had initially opened in London and that Bjorn had said to Jon "thanks for spending so much time and attention to detail over our materialandrdquo;. Jon had replied, "I had to Bjorn, it's Abbaandrdquo;!! After our conversation as we enjoyed our tea, Jon got down to the real business of mastering our album and started systematically working his way through our songs. At that point Mark and I migrated over to Jon's shoulder to watch more closely what he was actually doing. It really was amazing to see him so quickly and in tandem (due to stereo) flick dual switches here, turn dual switches there, turn knobs here etc etc It put me in mind of an airline pilot (of the Concorde) perhaps! With half the songs worked on, Jon suggested another cup of tea and went to make them. This was the window in which I was drawn to the contents on the piano and my eyes settled on three boxes. I looked more closely and it said Box 1 of 1 andndash; The Who andndash; Who's Next, with boxes 2 of 3 and 3 of 3 underneath!! Who's Next is an absolute pinnacle album that featured heavily in my own personal musical development. The actual tapes containing "Baba O'Reillyandrdquo;, Behind Blue Eyesandrdquo; and the absolutely anthemic "Won't Get Fooled Againandrdquo; (that in my opinion features one of the best rock vocal screams ever) were actually sitting on the piano!! Jon returned and we chatted again over tea, including his story about Robert Plant, who had asked him to produce one of his solo albums, although Jon had refused! Jon clarified that he would have found it too difficult to produce Robert, since he would have found it almost impossible to tell the Zeppelin idol Master Plant what to do, almost certainly running with anything Plant suggested! He said that he was at a party some time later and as Robert had passed him, had jokingly said "Chickenandrdquo;!! Back to the mastering and Jon continued through the remaining songs with the same incise attention to detail before finally reaching and completing the final song When Mother Time Is On Your Side, at which point it was time for the third and final cup of tea. This time we spoke about Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton (Eric) that Jon had gotten into fly fishing, having taken him down to Roger's (Daltrey) to fish on his lake! He had more recently received a call from Eric to go fishing and he drove the hour to meet him, where he was met by Eric, completely dressed as the laird in the full regalia etc!! After tea, Jon finally did the topping, tailing, positioning of the tracks and finally the audio corrections that included the removal of a couple of clicks. He also (totally surprising to me) removed a K from one of my lead vocal tracks that was in a word (I can't remember the song or the word) that did not contain the letter!!!! Jon burned a CD, printed the label and handed it to me and I set about writing the cheque as payment. I suffered from total numeric dyslexia, as I could not get my head around the numbers and struggled to commit the correct figures to the paper. I ditched the first attempt, destroying the cheque and started again. I still couldn't get my head around it and decided to get the invoice that Jon's manager Graham had sent me, using that to keep me right. Fortunately, I got it right this time, as I only had two cheques with me and I handed the payment to Jon. We left to go to the bar and Jon asked whether we preferred real ales and both Mark and I said that would be fine. We were very quickly at the bar after a short walk and Jon asked what we wanted, pointing to the fonts, saying "that's the strongest and that's the weakestandrdquo;. Jon bought the beers and we stood at the bar and spoke of football (The Scotland 3-0 win the night before), his dinner appointment with Debbie Harry many years back and that Tori (yes Amos) had bought a pair of speakers the same as Jon uses in his studio for mastering, excepting that Tori's were finished in wood (I can't remember whether they were Rosewood, Walnut, Birch etc) as opposed to Jon's standard (MDF) Medium Density Fibreboard versions!! I offered Jon another beer, but he refused, as he had to drive his novelist wife to a writers meeting. Jon said for us to give the songs a listen, get the two corrections to him, including any additional changes we felt necessary, before shaking our hands and leaving. Mark and I retired to a table and finished our pints, still almost shell-shocked at the day's events. We then headed off for an Indian and very quickly came across one only 50 yards along the street. We continued to bask in the afterglow of our day, recounting bits that had stood out to each of us. There were many tos and fros as we remembered "oh and what about........." and "did you see............" etc Mark and I finished our meal and headed back down to get the car (that did not have a parking ticket!) and Mark then ran me to the station. I said "Cheers Mark, we did it and I am sure we did our brother Mark proudandrdquo;, to which Mark agreed. We finally shook hands and parted company, far closer friends for our experience than we had been at the start of the day, before heading off in our different directions to our different destinations!! I had not booked accommodation, although my intention was to get back across to Gatwick and head for a Bed and Breakfast. I got my ticket and headed to get the train to Clapham Junction, where I had to make the change to the Gatwick train. Clapham Junction is exactly that, just a huge collection of parallel station platforms that are so impersonal. I got to the platform for the Gatwick train and was very surprised when the train approached from what I considered to be the wrong direction and was therefore departing in what I considered to be the wrong direction!! There was a delay on the journey, when the train sat stationary for around ten minutes and the announcement came saying that the delay was due to a red light although it was not known why. Soon the train continued the last few miles and I arrived at Gatwick Airport. I could see that it was torrentially raining outside and I didn't fancy going out in it and at that moment decided to just doss it out at the airport. It was now 21:30 and with my flight not due to leave for a further 11 hours, headed to a bar to pass some time. The bar was showing the English football match and there was about 40 minutes of the second half remaining. I was thus able to pass around 40 minutes there until the game ended and the bar closed before I migrated 20 yards to a row of seats that was to become my bed for the night. There were only another three people there at that time and I was actually very surprised at how empty Gatwick was until I realized that the charter flights would have mostly ceased. I tried to sleep using my laptop case and scarf as a pillow and managed a maximum of around an hour in the land of nod before awoke and just couldn't sleep. I got up and wandered across to find a power socket to fire-up the laptop. My battery is faulty on the laptop and I only get around ten minutes before it discharges so I needed to find a power outlet. I wandered into a dimly lit area, off the beaten track and started to plug the laptop in, before I realized how suspicious it must look and so decided against it. I then went to the nearby Starbuck's coffee house (that was fortunately open overnight) and asked if they had a power socket that I could use for the laptop. Thankfully, they said yes and that there were two, one at either side. I ordered a latte and settled to a table before plugging in the laptop and set about ripping Jon's CD. I did this in order to allow me to post the songs to the FTP to let the other guys hear the fruitage of Jon's attention to our body of work. I was using my O2 dongle for internet access and it is decidedly slow, but I started to upload the files, enjoying a second Latte in the process and got many transferred throughout the night. The night passed very slowly, as I got many of the songs up. The airport started to get busier and I started to feel guilty that I was taking up a table, with more and more people looking around for one and so I packed the laptop and went back to the seating area. I was now feeling very, very tired and in the land of hallucinations borne of both the caffeine buzz from the Lattes and pure and simple tiredness! Check-in opened at 06:00, although I already had my boarding pass and therefore didn't need it but I headed up the stairs and proceeded through security and went and had a full English breakfast. I watched the day dawning and the light increase from the restaurant window to reveal that torrents of rain were still falling. Finally, the gate number was shown and I headed to the gate before boarding the plane and heading back up to Edinburgh. I had listened to the album four times by the time I got back to Edinburgh at 10:00 in the previous eight hours was very happy with the outcome. Linda picked me up at the airport and we headed down to Allenheads and we are now enjoying a break with our great friend Jennifer Roberts. There is still more work to be done, as we proceed to get the corrections to the two songs made, along with any further minor amendments to the completed songs. Then it will be on to the packaging and duplication for an intended pre-Christmas release. It is now three days since that great day and I am still walking on air!! Incidentally, Jon, during the session in one of our many conversations said that Slade were looking to tour but Noddy wasn't going to go back on the road and that there was good money in itandhellip;andhellip;andhellip;andhellip;andhellip;andhellip;andhellip;andhellip;andhellip;andhellip;..I don't know if he was serious but I'll have to find out!!!! Later

Back Button Image