My mother in law suffered with dementia for many years. It was a slow & painful experience to gradually watch her disappear until the person she was, was no longer represented by the person she became.
I wrote this song from the perspective of my father in law who nursed her at home and who had to watch her gradually disappear, as she was stolen by ‘The Arrogance of Time’.
"You seem so low, you seem so frightened, maybe you are."
This line connects with a lot of people who have witnessed dementia, as it can seem very frightening for someone, especially at the start of the process as they are literally losing their mind.
Musically, it was influenced by the excellent Trio album recorded by Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris & Linda Ronstadt. The excellent vocal harmonies come from Sally Larkin.
Listen to the track on Spotify or Deezer now:
In the late 1970’s the Tascam Portastudio was invented, thus bringing the world of four-track recording into the home. Having loaned one from my mentor ‘Laid Back Liam’ I set up in my bedroom with the aid of a few borrowed bits of equipment to record my masterpiece. I used a PA head to supply reverb, a cheap microphone, snare drum, old guitar and a borrowed bass guitar. Whilst it was recording on cassette it was possible to multi-track and I was ready to produce my own ‘Pet Sounds’.
For three days and nights I toiled away, hardly eating or sleeping just a steady diet of strong coffee. Layer upon layer I pushed that machine as far as it would go; at one stage I’m sure I heard it beg for mercy! Eventually the machine started smoking, and like a signal from the Vatican, I decide that my masterpiece was now ready.
I was by now almost delirious and in no fit state to make a sound decision and simply needed to be vindicated and my status as the next Brian Wilson confirmed. I was still living at home and the only other person at home was my elder brother. Now he is very different to me and truth was he would have been more impressed by the new ‘Dr Hook’ than the new ‘Brian Wilson’, even so I was convinced that my masterwork was so good that even he would recognise it and so I persuaded him to come into my room for the first public playback.
In my wasted state I crumpled on to the floor and pressed play.........
It was around this time that I learnt a valuable, although painful life lesson, for a creative artist, "the rest of the world doesn’t really care as much about your art as you do".
The track faded out until there was a very loud silence. Was that a tear in my brothers eye, was he about to go out and start building a statue in my honour?
Finally he got up and started to leave the room, still nothing, then as he reached the door he turned to me and finally made his pronouncement “You’ll wear a hole through your socks sitting like that”.
The first album I bought was actually a pretty cool choice - Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of The Moon. It had been played to me at school by a young and trendy English teacher who made us decipher the lyrics. It was 1974, and I was just discovering stirrings in my loins and I think I might have fancied her, had I known what ’fancied her’ meant at the time. It was definitely something other than the music itself that made me pluck up the courage to go into Virgin Records in the underpass for the first time...
Now for those of you who don’t remember, in those days Virgin was still underground - literally - and it was a very dark small shop with a huge hippy at the counter and various bus station winos outside. Incidentally, it also had the rather wonderful clothes shop Paradise Garage next door, which I was later to frequent in my fashion conscious days...
I paid £2.25 for the album, which was a lot then, and tried to sneak it into the house so my mum wouldn’t notice. I didn’t like it at first but as it was the only album I owned, apart from a few dubious ‘Hot Hits Collections’, I listened to it all the time and grew to love it. Of course, when punk came along a few years later I had to disown it and sold it to schoolmate Martin Roberts. However, ten years later I bought it again when it was reissued on CD, how clichéd is that?
Thank you to everyone that came to last week's gig - both audience members and performers. It was an amazing night, and it was great to share it with you all.
How did we even get to the point of launching this album?! Well, in May 2013 I was sharing a coffee with Mark Aubrey and telling him that I thought I had an album in my head, but I didn't know how to get it out. He suggested we start recording and just see how it goes... So, after discussion about reference points, including Paul McCartney's Ram, we started laying down tracks with Paul Wigens on drums.
The songs were written over a three-year period and lyrically the album is in some ways a musical reflection of Shakespeare's seven ages of man, reflecting our lives, births, deaths, and all the stuff that happens in-between.
It also reflects the music I was weaned on. Everything from Herp Alpert's Tijuana Brass, Percy Faith, and Arthur Askey, to The Rolling Stones, Paul Simon, and Brian Wilson.
As the ablum pregressed I revived my musical partnership with Steve Hogg and we added a host of amazing local musicians (many of whom played with us last week) and for their continued enthusiasm we are grateful.
Please enjoy The Arrogance of Time from start to finish, as it was intended. You can get your copy from our website here, Amazon, iTunes and Spotify etc.
More videos and pictures from the night coming soon!
Welcome to our new blog!
We're very excited because tonight is our the launch gig of our album The Arrogance of Time at The Cube, Bristol. Super talented Eyebrow will be supporting us too. If you haven't got your ticket yet, then head to See Tickets or call the venue now: 01179299008
Here's a preview of our album - have a watch and a listen, and we hope to see you this evening...