New Musical Express

NME 10-06-06There’s no such thing as bad press. But there is such a thing as bad photography. Presented here for your enjoyment are some pre-debut album NME cuttings from 2005 – 2007. They should probably have been included in some earlier articles here and here. It was an unwritten rule to always have a bassist in shot and for me to have a large face. And flowers. Lots of flowers. And hair. Beautiful, sweaty stupid hair. Of course, in the World Of Silvery progress was slow. I’m not sure we managed to capitalise on these little mentions in any real way and we certainly didn’t have anyone saying ‘Nah what you wanna do now is..’ but we were happy to quietly cut them out and stick them in a scrapbook, which up until that point only had flyers, nice pictures from Fortean Times and the odd Organ review stuck in it. Ticking off all these little boxes in our minds as we went along. There were some letters page mentions too but I can’t find them. ‘Eccentric, charming and smart’ in an ideal world should’ve read ‘Dangerous, sexy and swaggering’ like it did with almost every other band at the time. But I guess that’s what made us different. Joe was very pleased that pretty much his first note played on stage with us was captured in an NME live review photo. I think at the time he thought he’d joined Queen or something. Which with hindsight is funny because within a few months we were playing our own ‘picnic by the Serpentine’ in a big top at Wireless in Hyde Park. Things were changing fast. Fast-ish.

nme-29-10-05.jpgNME 24-2-07

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The 2007 Demo

Well I mentioned it just now, so I thought I’d do this entry while it’s fresh in my mind. We’d spent 2006 gigging and getting those 2005 demos out there with good feedback (airplay, reviews, better gigs, fan base building, all the usual for a fledgling band that had previously alluded us). I’m not sure we actually sent many off to labels etc, but as we were gigging so much it was easy to get rid of our stock (especially when we regularly lost entire bags full and had to run off more). After a busy but uncertain year with rots22aating bassists, by the end of 2006 we had lost our proper bassist after a triumphant KOKO gig (the last of 4 that year, and the last until 2011) as David just couldn’t commit to the increasingly hectic and busy life as a Silvery. This all scuppered plans to record more stuff that year so we made do with the increasingly out-of-date 2005 sessions. Again, the fates aligned and we quickly found Joe through Simon the keyboard player. Joe was a different bassist to David and anchored the songs with the sobriety they required and we all hit it off straight away. After a few rehearsals once again we were ready to play live and started 2007 with a live review from The Metro published in NME, a decent management team and even some legal oomph. We were getting offers and interest from all sorts of new places and we needed to record some fresh demos. Again, we had gone into the new line up and new year with a fresh outlook.

We were rehearsing at Fortress on Old Street the scene of the previous 2005 demo session (Here’s some pictures of the new line up on the roof there back in 2007 – careful lads!) and by chance found on one of the upper floors a little private recording studio called Pinna run by a chap called Kev Feazey. During a break in practice one Sunday we tootled up the stairs and asked him if we could book some time. He came down to watch us and liked that we obvious had our shit together and were doing something very different to the usual Shoreditch thing at that time. Although it’s fair to say initially he had alarm bells ringing due to our tight jeans and Russian naval tops. We all agreed on a weekend to do it that March. Avoiding the problems of last time, we decided to do just 3 songs and get them all finished and mixed by the end of the two day session. ‘Horrors’ had been a favourite in the set for about 6 months and was crying out to be recorded as it had ‘single’ written large all over it. Rather than doing a couple more new ones (‘Warship Class’ was3s less than ideal for the new serious and commercially minded band!) or ones that had previously fallen through the cracks (How we hadn’t recorded ‘Star Of The Sea’ yet is beyond me) we chose to redo previous Silvery favourite ‘That Which Is’, and live staple ‘Orders’ which by this point had developed into an entirely different song to the original 2005 demo.
Recording was easy. Drums and bass were done live and the rough live guitar and keys were either replaced or added to straight away barely before we had a chance to change the settings. Singing (that most hated part of my personal studio time) was effortless too this time (thanks to all the gigging we’d done and the jolly atmosphere in the studio). That is, effortless once I’d actually finalised the lyrics to the still fresh ‘Horrors’. We videoed most of the weekend and watching it back today is a joy. We had so much fun at those sessions. (Note: There is a sequence on the video of Alex adding cowbell to something. I genuinely haven’t a clue which song it could be).
So those three tracks became the new demo, splashed all over the internet and put on CDs for the fans, with half an eye on getting them out as a single. I’d met Paul from Blow Up Records after that January gig at The Metro mentioned above and we forged a friendship over favourite Glam Rockers and Britpop memories. He still doesn’t believe that I liked his old band The Weekenders back in ’94. I got the recordings to him, along with the other older studio sessions (more because I thought he’d like their Glammy Britpopiness rather than actually sign us). The next thing I know, less than 2 months after finishing these new demos, we were signed up to do an album. Simon and myself went out to celebrate in Camden – to such an extent that the following day I had to phone Paul back and ask him if he’d actually said ‘album’. Again, great days tthunderero be alive. Of course, we tweaked these new recordings for official release once we started our album sessions proper that summer (once again with Kev at Pinna, mainly adding handclaps) and ‘Horrors’ and ‘Orders’ became the double A-side vinyl debut. And, I hope you will agree, what a debut coupling that was. Straight onto the radio and even onto the telly a couple of times. Luckily, given the considerable gap between finishing the ‘demo’ version and the official release (some 10 months – which absolutely flew by) it gave us time to get the BRILLIANT video made and the still brilliant WWI lancer stencil single cover done with our friend Dirty Earthworm. For once in our pitiful struggling existence, everything came together. The story continues here.
Geek note: We actually re-recorded ‘That Which Is’ again (hey, why not? I make that 4 studio versions done) but the retake remains unreleased and the album cut is that original March 2007 demo. In a parallel universe somewhere, we released an EP of all the versions on one bit of vinyl. There’s lovely now.