News & Insights 29 March 2008

“Good evening Leighton Buzzard!”

Tuesday 25 March, 10.15am (Voyager Recording Studio, Peterborough):
Here’s the news – we’re recording an album. We’re doing it in a state-of-the-art recording studio in a brand-new specialist arts school in Peterborough called The Voyager. It’s looking like it’ll feature 12 or 13 tracks and we have a challengingly short amount of time to record them in. George and I have set up and are ready to go, but Tony is looking a little concerned, as if there’s maybe something missing that could delay the beginning of the session. I think he must be trying to work out where some important lead or microphone is.

“Right,” he says, “I’m gonna go and investigate what Moira’s packed us for lunch.”

It is, let me reiterate, 10.15 in the morning.


By the end of the day we have successfully mic-ed up and sound-checked the drums, bass and guitar and have completed a take of one song – In Black Eyes. Not a bad start. The bass amp we have hired is an Ampeg 4×10 which, in case the technical term means nothing to you, is ruddy loud. Unfortunately the ceilings in this place are like the ceilings in most schools – made of plasterboard tiles – and the amp is making the entire room shake. Luckily, Tony, who has a rich history of dealing with specialized acoustic conundrums of this sort, has fixed the problem via the auspicious employment of a hard-wearing, custom-built noise-guard.

In other words, he’s stuck a cardboard box on top of it.

Sometimes it’s extraordinary what you can do with an old box and some sticky-back plastic. Just ask any Blue Peter presenter.

Saturday 29 March, 9.30am (Voyager Recording Studio, Peterborough):
It’s Day Five in the studio. For all 13 songs we have completed the drum track, bass track and a guide guitar track. Quite handsome for less than a week’s work. Just as well, really, since we now have to pack up all the gear and get to a headline show at The Wheatsheaf in Leighton Buzzard.

For those of you who haven’t been to Leighton Buzzard, well… it’s in Leighton Buzzard. It’s a funny little place but, to our surprise, it boasts an absolutely kicking live music venue. The Wheatsheaf is actually pretty well-known on the gig circuit and attracts some big names – Southside Jonny headlined here last week, for example (Tony points out that the last time he saw Southside Jonny was at Wembley Stadium, which is a little larger than The Wheatie but pretty much on a par reputation-wise, I’d say. Plus it’s much quicker getting a pint here).

We play a rocking show to a very appreciative audience, and it’s a great opportunity for us to air some of the material from the new album that we don’t often play live, such as I’m Not. After our encore we get chatting to some of the regulars and there seems to be a general consensus that they’d like us back, which is pretty cool.

Most importantly, I can tick off another lifelong rock and roll ambition from my list; namely, uttering those immortal words “Good EVENING Leighton Buzzard!”. Bruce Springsteen eat your heart out.

Chris Lightyear

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