ANDY PARKER - NOTES AND COMMENTS
Andy writes: 'Well, I hope that you're listening to the records and that you enjoy them. Writing stuff like this and then posting it up is a bit like being a radio DJ. There's a real presumption there that a) people like what you do and b) that there's anybody out there at all. Still, ours not to reason why, Charles McFarlane wanted me to put down a few words by way of introduction. The blurb on the home page, so enthusiastically written by the promo department of ITR, pretty much sets out the stall of what I've been doing up till this point, while omitting the crap bits that litter the wayside of most musicians lives, hell, everybody's lives really.
If you want a bit of technical info on how the albums were recorded, I can give you that. You probably don't, but Charles says that I have to fill up a whole page, at least, and until I get some feedback from the world outside, I haven't got much else to bang on about - besides I'll get the IT department to post this before he gets back from one of his marathon lunches trying to entice starlets to have another glass of the finest and discuss their future plans. He does it in such a serious voice, whilst staring meaningfully into their eyes that they completely fall under his spell. Anyway, he won't even read this - as long as it looks like a whole page, he'll sign it off as read and wobble into his office to study the small backwards scrawl on his blotter at close range for the rest of the afternoon. So here goes:
In keeping with the principal that simplicity is the best approach, I kept my equipment to a minimum. The recorders were two 16-bit Fostex hard-disk machines sp/dif- ed together (that's a MIDI and an optical link, although it seemed to work just as well with only the MIDI sync). The microphones were the ubiquitous Shure Unidyne (ancient SM57-type), an AKG C1000 (cheap, sweet-sounding condenser/electret), a Tandy PZM (even cheaper, great portastudio microphone and, if used sparingly, very useful on masters) and my favourite, an RCA Type-77 ribbon mic that I borrowed from Coolwater guitarist Graeme Bailey. Incidentally, it's the mic that the commandant uses for the commentary in that useless football/POW film 'Escape to Victory', as well as in various pictures of both Elvis and Eddie Cochran in the studio.
Everything went via a JoeMeek C2 compressor. Oh yeah, there was no EQ used in the making of this record. No EQ from soup-to-nuts. That's a hard one to explain to those who ask and petrifyingly dull to anybody else. A lot of stuff about phase relationships and different volume levels of playback and, god it still sounds like bollocks. Suffice to say, it makes it easier to drop in on something that you recorded last week if you don't have to remember what the EQ setting was. Besides, I know what all the instruments and mics sound like and there didn't seem much point in using it. So there.
Monitoring, for those who want to know and I really can't believe that there would be anybody else left, at this the Tierra del Fuego of the page, so to speak, was in (sssh!) mono, for reasons that have everything to do with expediency and well...read that stuff about EQ again and it's all that kind of approach. If you really want to know, you can write in and ask me. Amps were a Rivera R30, a Selmer Corvette and Graeme's Marshall combo - alas my beloved Vox AC50 went up in smoke (mains transformer gone - thanks Gian-Paolo, you still owe me for that!). Guitars were my Tele hybrid on almost everything and, making a fleeting appearance for one tune, my Fender Strat.
The new album, Tranquille, features pretty much the same cast. I had twenty-four (count 'em!) tracks on the go, of which around eighteen were worth finishing. Not bad, considering I only had seven ready when I started 'Keyhole'.
At last, I can see the end of the page looming and through the frosted glass of the office door, I glimpse Charles tottering back in, arm around a young friend and giving it some large to impress her. I'd better nick off before he comes in and wants his office back...