Seeing Elvis Costello's Whitton/ making-of-MAIT timeline

Pretty self-explanatory
erey
Posts: 157
Joined: Tue Apr 14, 2015 3:54 pm

Re: Seeing Elvis Costello's Whitton/ making-of-MAIT timeline

Postby erey » Mon Aug 22, 2016 1:19 pm

It's been an eventful day or so on this thread...

Before we move forward, let circle back to what kicked off this latest discussion: My thinking that, if EC was sitting in his kitchen in Twickenham when he listening to himself being played on Charlie Gillett's show for the first time, as he recalls it in UM&DI, then August 15, 1976, seemed a little late for that, as I didn't think he still lived in Twickenham at that point. It turns our I was at least partly right about the timing being off, but not in the way I thought. While EC is clearly recalling this event happening, if nothing else, at an hour when the streetlamps were on, it turns out Gillett's show aired from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. So...

I'm going to chalk this up to both the malleability of memory and deliberate poetic license. I think EC really did remember it as he wrote it in UM&DI, and if at some point in the writing of that book he realized Gillett's show was on in the daytime, which I suspect he probably did, he still liked his version better and he was sticking with it. Which is all to say I'm putting a lot less confidence in EC's accurately recalling exactly what kitchen he was in at the time.

But we still have plenty of pieces of the puzzle to fit together. Like solving the equation: (Hoover Building + "Roadrunner" = "Hoover Factor" > "Radio Sweetheart") = Stiff demo tape.

I found this interview in the wiki that gives a pretty concise yet detailed version of the account EC has, as far as I know, always given about the period we've been examining. From Record Collector, September 1995 (http://www.elviscostello.info/wiki/inde ... ember_1995):

[About the Honky Tonk demos]

EC: Well, that was my official demo tape, the one that really got things started for me. It was made in my bedroom, on a friend's Revox. Before that, I'd sent out tapes I'd made on an old Grundig, which sounded pretty funky. I was sending out 20 songs at a time. I didn't know enough to realise that no publisher has the patience to listen to 20 songs, in the hope that the 18th one is the one that's good. They listen to the first song, and if it doesn't show great promise, they throw it away.

So by the time I made that tape,I had a pretty good idea from bitter experience that you had to make a presentation, just like putting on a show. I'd also been playing solo a lot, so I was much better at presenting my songs to hostile audiences, and winning them over.

So I made a little show reel, as it were, at home, of six songs, five of which still exist, and sent it off to various people. One of them was (Honky Tonk DJ) Charlie Gillett, who played it on the radio. That really got things going. I had several different people after my signature then, none of them aware of the others' existence. Charlie had a rather halting plan to sign me to his label, Oval Records while Virgin offered me a really pitiful deal — even then I knew enough to laugh at it. It was Stiff who had the initiative to say, "Let's do it now." It seemed almost magical after two or three years of getting really indifferent, or completely bewildered, responses to all the tapes I'd created.


The puzzle here is when the "now" is in Stiff's "Let's do it now".

Later in the same interview, he says, as he has many times before, that he was the first artist signed to Stiff. (Nick Lowe had the first record out, but wasn't actually on the label).

Does that mean he signed to the label before the Damned did? I assume the Damned had some contractual relationship with Stiff by the time their first single was released October 22.

Also in this interview, he talks about what I suggest henceforth be known as the "No Eric! demos". :)

I was writing songs very fast, and one day I went to Pathway Studios where Nick Lowe was producing a Wreckless Eric record. Wreckless was very nervous, so Nick took him for a drink to loosen him up a little bit, and I recorded eight songs while they were gone just guitar and voice. That was the bulk of the demos for My Aim Is True. Up until that point, Stiff had actually considered launching Wreckless and myself on the same record, like Chuck Meets Bo, with a side each. They didn't really think either of us could sustain a whole album, in terms of the audience's tolerance for two such unusual singers.

Then it became apparent that I had five times more songs than him, and that they needed to do a full album with me.


Let's take another try at our timeline, filling in the blanks we can now:

1.) Date unknown, sometime before August 15, 1976 -- EC sends demo tape to Gillett. Songs are "Cheap Reward" (then titled "Lip Service"), "Wave a White Flag", "Blame It on Cain", "Jump Up", "Mystery Dance", "Poison Moon".

2.) July 10, 1976 -- Palgrave House in Whitton, the block of flats where EC and family will soon live, officially opens.

3.) July 10 -- Sounds music weekly publishes special issue on "Punk", cover date July 17, 1976.

4.) August 7 -- Article on new record label, Stiff, appears in Melody Maker, cover date August 14, 1976.

5.) August 15 -- First (??) play of EC's demos on Gillett show. Plays "Cheap Reward" and "Wave a White Flag". In UM&DI, EC's recollection is he was living in the Twickenham flat. However, his recollection is also that this occurred at night, while in reality Gillett's show aired at midday, so he's evidently taking some degree of poetic license.

6.) Date unknown, but after EC is played on Gillett's show -- Gillett and EC discuss the possibility of EC putting a record out on Gillet's Oval label, but, in EC's accounts, these discussions drag on enough to try his patience, until Stiff has other plans for him.

7.) August 1976 (source Wikipedia), exact date unknown -- Modern Lovers album released, including "Roadrunner". In UM&DI, EC's specifically cites the Modern Lovers version of this song as inspiring "Hoover Factory". He also cites the Modern Lovers as an influence on his guitar playing on the Pathway demo (later released on MAIT) of "Mystery Dance".

8.) Date unknown -- EC and family can no long afford the Twickenham flat and move in with EC's wife's parents, the Burgoynes. His commute to work now takes him past the Hoover Building.

9.) Date unknown, but apparently after August 1 -- Inspired by seeing the Hoover Building every day and hearing "Roadrunner", EC writes "Hoover Factory". In UM&DI, he says this gets him "through the door" to a new kind of songwriting, more in tune with the "new mood in town", punk.

10.) Date unknown -- Next song EC writes after "Hoover Factory" is "Radio Sweetheart".

11.) Date unknown, but after August 7 and before September 17 -- EC has read about Stiff and is first artist to drop off a demo tape at their office. Songs are "Living in Paradise" , "Mystery Dance", "Radio Sweetheart", "Running Out of Angels", "Radio Soul".

12.) Date unknown -- After waiting "a week or so" (??), Stiff contact EC.

13.) September 17 -- EC, Nick Lowe, and some members of Clover record "Radio Sweetheart" and "Mystery Dance", perhaps as demos for Dave Edmunds' record. These are the versions released on MAIT. EC recollection is that he's living at Palgrave House in Whitton.

14.) September 20 -- The Damned record "Help" and "New Rose" at Pathway studio, with Nick Lowe producing.

15.) Dates unknown, after September 17 -- EC is writing new songs, taping them at home, and dropping these demos off at Stiff's office whenever he can, usually stopping by after work.

16.) October 11 -- Wreckless Eric drops off his demo tape at Stiff. Stiff like the tape and call Eric two days later to have him come back in to the office.

17.) Date unknown, but after October 11 -- Stiff contacts EC about recording more songs with members of Clover, not as songwriter's demos but for him as a recording artist, perhaps for an EP or half of a Bo-and-Chuck-type album with Wreckless Eric.

18.) Date unknown, but supposedly during Wreckless Eric's recording session at Pathway -- Hating the idea of sharing an album with Eric, EC sets out to bury it by recording solo demos for these songs at Pathway, supposedly while Eric was taking a break: "Welcome To The Working Week", "Blue Minute", "Miracle Man", "Waiting For The End Of The World", "Call On Me", "Red Shoes", "I Don't Want To Go Home", "I Hear A Melody".

19.) October 22 -- Stiff releases what is regarded as the first (UK) punk rock record, The Damned's "New Rose"/"Help". As much as EC was aware of the sea change in pop music caused by punk, he never heard any of it until records started being released.

20.) October 20 to November 19 -- Clover is on a UK tour opening for Thin Lizzy.

21.) November 15 to November 19 (exact date unknown) -- Oswald Mosley appears on the BBC1 television show "Tonight". This inspires EC to write "Less Than Zero".

22.) November or December, exact dates unknown, but after November 19 -- EC arranges and rehearses songs that become MAIT, with Clover, at Headley Grange outside of London.

23.) December 1976 and January 1977 -- EC records MAIT with Clover, Nick Lowe producing, at Pathway. EC recalls this as being 24 hours of total studio time, over six sessions, spaced over several weeks to accommodate EC's work schedule at Elizabeth Arden.

24.) January 26, 1977 -- Final mix of MAIT at Pathway studio.
Last edited by erey on Sun Sep 04, 2016 1:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

johnfoyle
Posts: 13940
Joined: Wed Jun 04, 2003 4:37 pm
Location: Dublin , Ireland

Re: Seeing Elvis Costello's Whitton/ recording dates for MAIT , Dec. 1976?

Postby johnfoyle » Sun Aug 28, 2016 5:52 am

Barry 'Bazza' Farmer , the engineer in Pathway Studio for the MAIT sessions , responded to a question I sent him , via F/book , about the recording dates -


Can't remember the dates but I remember we did two days on backing-tracks, two days overdubs and a further couple to mix. May have been a couple of re-mixes but not much. Most of the above because Elvis and Clover were VERY-well prepared, Nick was confident and easy to work with and the whole ethos of Pathway Studio was that it served real musicians to achieve real music.

johnfoyle
Posts: 13940
Joined: Wed Jun 04, 2003 4:37 pm
Location: Dublin , Ireland

Re: Seeing Elvis Costello's Whitton/ recording dates for MAIT , Dec. 1976?

Postby johnfoyle » Sat Sep 03, 2016 3:07 pm

Re-reading some of Alex Call's ( of Clover) book I see a relevant reference. Shortly after Clover got to London on August 23rd 1976 they got a gig recording a album backing Twiggy. That was done in Amsterdam. Part of Alex's account mentions that they had a dinner there to mark his birthday. Alex's birthday is September 28th , twelve days after the recording date with Elvis in Pathway, London. So the dates still fit.


Unaccredited photo from Alex's book -

Image

johnfoyle
Posts: 13940
Joined: Wed Jun 04, 2003 4:37 pm
Location: Dublin , Ireland

Re: Seeing Elvis Costello's Whitton/ recording dates for MAIT , Dec. 1976?

Postby johnfoyle » Sun Sep 04, 2016 5:23 am

Still trying to nail down the Clover/MAIT recording dates , I re-read more of Alex Call of Clover's 2010 memoir '867-5309 Jenny The Song That Saved Me'.

They did a show in London on September 12th

Image


It's written in a mostly chronological way but occasionally a passing reference is made to past activities. One such is a mention of another tour Clover did shortly after arriving in England in August 1976. They supported Linda Lewis for a 'handful of college dates'. Ms Lewis has a site and I've written to it, asking for details of the dates. The only detail I can find online is a Sounds review of a show by Linda in Newcastle. In Sounds dated 16 October 1976 , it would indicate the tour was in late September/early October '76 , after Clover came back from recording with Twiggy in Amsterdam .

http://www.rocksbackpages.com/Library/A ... olytechnic

User avatar
Man out of Time
Posts: 1068
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2007 8:15 am
Location: Sarf London
Contact:

Re: Seeing Elvis Costello's Whitton/ recording dates for MAIT , Dec. 1976?

Postby Man out of Time » Sun Sep 04, 2016 10:53 am

Firstly, can I thank all those who have contributed to this collaborative piece of research. I will limit myself to a few of the dates in the timeline:

5.) August 15 -- First (??) play of EC's demos on Gillett show. Plays "Cheap Reward" and "Wave a White Flag". In UM&DI, EC's recollection is he was living in the Twickenham flat. However, his recollection is also that this occurred at night, while in reality Gillett's show aired at midday, so he's evidently taking some degree of poetic license


15 August is the date given in “Be Stiff – The Stiff Records Story” (2014) by Richard Balls and in “Elvis Costello – An Illustrated Biography” (1986) by Mick St Michael and in “Let Them All Talk – The Music of Elvis Costello” (1999) by Brian Hinton.

9.) Date unknown, but apparently after August 1 -- Inspired by seeing the Hoover Building every day and hearing "Roadrunner", EC writes "Hoover Factory". In UM&DI, he says this gets him "through the door" to a new kind of songwriting, more in tune with the "new mood in town", punk.


The release of “Roadrunners” is complicated. A version appeared on an album, “Beserkley Chartbusters Vol 1” released in the US in 1975. The album Jonathan Richman and The Modern Lovers was released in 1976. Jake Riviera was involved in trying to get that album released in the UK. According to “Be Stiff – The Stiff Records Story” (2014) by Richard Ball:

“Riviera found out that Matthew Kaufman, who ran the Beserkley and Home of The Hits label, had deleted Jonathan Richman’s album The Modern Lovers to pave the way for a solo Jonathan Richman record scheduled for the autumn. Riviera was keen to pick up the album for release in the UK and he and Lee Brilleaux headed to The Troubadour to broker a deal with Kaufman as Riviera explained to Sounds’ Chas Whalley in August 1976.”

So there would have been a copy of The Modern Lovers (Beserkley release) in the Stiff Records office in August 1976. The record was well known in England. In his 1999 biography of Jonathan Richman “There’s Something About Jonathan” (pg 99) Tim Mitchell writes:

“Glen Matlock remembers that Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers brought a favourable reaction in their London camp: “Me and Malcolm [McLaren] went to the first Virgin store, at the top of New Oxford Street, by Centrepoint, and we got this record and we took it and we had a little Dansette that we played it on in our Denmark Street hideaway and sort of laughed, and Malcolm was going: “Well, it’s not really rock and roll, is it?” and I said “Well, no it ain’t, but I quite like it”. “

11.) Date unknown, but after August 7 and before September 17 -- EC has read about Stiff and is first artist to drop off a demo tape at their office. Songs are "Living in Paradise" , "Mystery Dance", "Radio Sweetheart", "Running Out of Angels", "Radio Soul".


In his 2012 book “Stiff Records - A Comprehensive Guide to Collecting the Label”, David Cooper includes a “Stiff Diary” reproduced below. This gives August 20 as the date that EC took his demo tape into Stiff Records. He does not give a source for this date, but it fits with “our” timeline.

In “Let Them All Talk” (pg 67) Brian Hinton recounts an interview that Nick Lowe gave to Nicky Campbell on BBC Radio One:

“Nick Lowe told Radio One’s Nicky Campbell that he had met Costello “on Royal Oak tube station and he had his guitar with him and I said, “How are you doing,” blah blah blah. He had just been up to Stiff to buy a copy of “And So It Goes”, and to leave a tape for Jake Riviera.”

As “So It Goes” was released on 14 August, this would be consistent with Elvis dropping the tape off on 20 August.

----
The Stiff Diary (from "Stiff Records - A Comprehensive Guide to Collecting the Label”, David Cooper (2012))

1976

August
    14th Nick Lowe – ‘So it Goes’ 7” (Buy 1) released (independent distribution)
    14th Melody Maker music paper print aricle on the “birth” of the Stiff label
    18th Nick Lowe’s “Heart Of The City” b-side is Sounds’ “Single of the Week”
    20th European Punk Rock Festival at Mont-de-Marsan, SW France
    Bands include Nick Lowe, The Pink Fairies, Tyla Gang, Roogalator & The Damned (it was only their 4th gig and Jake Riviera signed them to Stiff).
    Elvis Costello takes a copy of his ‘At Home’ demos tape into the Stiff offices.
    26th Roogalator – ‘All Aboard’ 7” (BUY 3) scheduled release date (actually Sept.) [distributed through United Artists]
----
As a footnote, this YouTube clip

is an interview with Charlie Gillett about the story of Oval Records.

22 minutes or so in he discusses trying to get D.P.Costello signed to Oval Records. After you hear the section on DP Costello, there is discussion of the process of signing Lena Lovich also to Stiff Records. You can hear the “Let’s Do It Now” attitude of Dave Robinson in that story.

MOOT

erey
Posts: 157
Joined: Tue Apr 14, 2015 3:54 pm

Re: Seeing Elvis Costello's Whitton/ making-of-MAIT timeline

Postby erey » Sun Sep 04, 2016 1:26 pm

Man out of Time wrote:Firstly, can I thank all those who have contributed to this collaborative piece of research.


I'll second that emotion. And thanks to MOOT as well.


5.) August 15 -- First (??) play of EC's demos on Gillett show. Plays "Cheap Reward" and "Wave a White Flag". In UM&DI, EC's recollection is he was living in the Twickenham flat. However, his recollection is also that this occurred at night, while in reality Gillett's show aired at midday, so he's evidently taking some degree of poetic license


15 August is the date given in “Be Stiff – The Stiff Records Story” (2014) by Richard Balls and in “Elvis Costello – An Illustrated Biography” (1986) by Mick St Michael and in “Let Them All Talk – The Music of Elvis Costello” (1999) by Brian Hinton.


I know this date is in all the books, and the document John Foyle got us via Will Birch seems dispositive, but, THB, it still seems a little late to me.

9.) Date unknown, but apparently after August 1 -- Inspired by seeing the Hoover Building every day and hearing "Roadrunner", EC writes "Hoover Factory". In UM&DI, he says this gets him "through the door" to a new kind of songwriting, more in tune with the "new mood in town", punk.


The release of “Roadrunners” is complicated. A version appeared on an album, “Beserkley Chartbusters Vol 1” released in the US in 1975. The album Jonathan Richman and The Modern Lovers was released in 1976. Jake Riviera was involved in trying to get that album released in the UK. According to “Be Stiff – The Stiff Records Story” (2014) by Richard Ball:

“Riviera found out that Matthew Kaufman, who ran the Beserkley and Home of The Hits label, had deleted Jonathan Richman’s album The Modern Lovers to pave the way for a solo Jonathan Richman record scheduled for the autumn. Riviera was keen to pick up the album for release in the UK and he and Lee Brilleaux headed to The Troubadour to broker a deal with Kaufman as Riviera explained to Sounds’ Chas Whalley in August 1976.”

So there would have been a copy of The Modern Lovers (Beserkley release) in the Stiff Records office in August 1976. The record was well known in England. In his 1999 biography of Jonathan Richman “There’s Something About Jonathan” (pg 99) Tim Mitchell writes:

“Glen Matlock remembers that Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers brought a favourable reaction in their London camp: “Me and Malcolm [McLaren] went to the first Virgin store, at the top of New Oxford Street, by Centrepoint, and we got this record and we took it and we had a little Dansette that we played it on in our Denmark Street hideaway and sort of laughed, and Malcolm was going: “Well, it’s not really rock and roll, is it?” and I said “Well, no it ain’t, but I quite like it”.


Yes, trying to figure out when EC would have likely heard "Roadrunner" has been hairy for me as well, not least because Jonathan Richman and his various bands called the Modern Lovers essentially had two entirely different, but very similarly named, "debut" albums released, multiple times, at more or less the same time as each other. The one we want has "Roadrunner" on it, was produced by John Cale, and is called "The Modern Lovers" by the Modern Lovers. To pick a nit: In the quote above, Matlock and McLaren are talking about the other one, "Johnathan Richman and the Modern Lovers" by Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers.

The Tim Mitchell book on Richman almost perversely refuses to give an exact release date for "The Modern Lovers" album, saying in one place that it was released in 1975 and in other place 1976. I actually don't think it was released in the UK until 1977, so if EC bought it before that, he had to buy it as an import. Happily, I think I have a solid bead on when that might have happened. More on that in a bit.

11.)In his 2012 book “Stiff Records - A Comprehensive Guide to Collecting the Label”, David Cooper includes a “Stiff Diary” reproduced below. This gives August 20 as the date that EC took his demo tape into Stiff Records. He does not give a source for this date, but it fits with “our” timeline.


Now this is pretty interesting, although I'm not sure it quite works. August 20 is a Friday. It makes sense that EC would stop by on a weekday. He wouldn't expect a business office to be open on a weekend and the Stiff offices were pretty close to his work in North Acton, but pretty far from his home -- whether home was Twickenham, west Hounslow, or Whitton at the time.

Another other hand, if Nick Lowe was playing the European Punk Rock Festival at Mont-de-Marsan, France, at the time -- George Gimarc's "Punk Diary" gives the date for this as August 21, but it was a 12 hour drive from London -- how did he run into EC at the Royal Oak tube station?


The Stiff Diary (from "Stiff Records - A Comprehensive Guide to Collecting the Label”, David Cooper (2012))

1976

August
[list]14th Nick Lowe – ‘So it Goes’ 7” (Buy 1) released (independent distribution)
14th Melody Maker music paper print aricle on the “birth” of the Stiff label
18th Nick Lowe’s “Heart Of The City” b-side is Sounds’ “Single of the Week”
20th European Punk Rock Festival at Mont-de-Marsan, SW France
Bands include Nick Lowe, The Pink Fairies, Tyla Gang, Roogalator & The Damned (it was only their 4th gig and Jake Riviera signed them to Stiff).
Elvis Costello takes a copy of his ‘At Home’ demos tape into the Stiff offices.


I don't think the August 18th date for the Sounds’ “Single of the Week” can be right. August 18, 1976, was a Wednesday. Sounds, like all the UK music weeklies, came out on Saturdays.

As it happens, I recently received a scan of an article on Stiff in Sounds that appears to pre-date the August 14 Melody Maker article. (Much thanks to John Foyle and a non-grumpy author for that!) In fact, it's the one you quote from above in Richard Balls' book. The text of the article says Nick's single is reviewed in the same issue. Unfortunately, no issue date is visible in the scan. I asked John if it's okay with the person he got it from if I put the scan up on our wiki, but until I hear back I'm going to refrain from doing that or otherwise distributing it more widely.

In the interest time and clutter, I'm going to send this nit-picky post off and start another with new info. Stay tuned...

User avatar
verbal gymnastics
Posts: 9840
Joined: Wed Jun 11, 2003 6:44 am
Location: In a very fashionable hovel

Re: Seeing Elvis Costello's Whitton/ recording dates for MAIT , Dec. 1976?

Postby verbal gymnastics » Sun Sep 04, 2016 2:35 pm

I've been interested reading all of this. The devil in me says that ultimately, why does it matter? But then nothing I say matters.

I'm pretty sure though that the UK music papers came out on a Wednesday and not a Saturday. My mum used to buy NME for me. If The Jam released something and there were full page adverts for new releases or interviews, I'd get NME, Sounds, Record Mirror and Melody Maker.
international laughing stock...

johnfoyle
Posts: 13940
Joined: Wed Jun 04, 2003 4:37 pm
Location: Dublin , Ireland

Re: Seeing Elvis Costello's Whitton/ recording dates for MAIT , Dec. 1976?

Postby johnfoyle » Sun Sep 04, 2016 2:45 pm

Tsk , tsk , VG , everything you say matters!

Seriously , the main reason I'm engaging in this hunt is curiosity at whether the information can be found. It won't affect my appreciation of the music etc. Occasionally , though , such exercises can reveal a aspect of the songs previously not clear. For instance , the Less Than Zero inspiration being, apparently, dated mid November '76 is self explanatory because of the information about the Moseley interview. Who's to know that if a particular date in , say , December were found for the recording of another song and a news item that same day proved relevant to it ? And so on.

terryhurley
Posts: 118
Joined: Tue Mar 01, 2005 10:30 am
Location: Somewhere in England

Re: Seeing Elvis Costello's Whitton/ recording dates for MAIT , Dec. 1976?

Postby terryhurley » Sun Sep 04, 2016 2:53 pm

For many of us "lurking" but gifted (!) with OCD, this thread is brilliant!

sulky lad
Posts: 1370
Joined: Fri Jul 29, 2005 5:21 pm
Location: Out of the kitchen,she's gone with the wind

Re: Seeing Elvis Costello's Whitton/ recording dates for MAIT , Dec. 1976?

Postby sulky lad » Sun Sep 04, 2016 4:02 pm

As VG says, the UK music papers came out on a Wednesday . I was at University in London from 1977 to 1980 ( what an amazing time, musicwise to be in London) and I bought the Melody Maker , mostly, on the way to lectures on a Wednesday morning and perused them either with Jan in Genetics in year 2 or in Endocrine physiology with Guy in year 3 ! I wasn't mad keen until Get happy in 1980 but by then a girlfriend Sue had indoctrinated me with her copy of TYM in Clapham !!! Those were the days :oops:

erey
Posts: 157
Joined: Tue Apr 14, 2015 3:54 pm

Re: Seeing Elvis Costello's Whitton/ making-of-MAIT timeline

Postby erey » Sun Sep 04, 2016 4:32 pm

I was able to turn up an exact date for Wreckless Eric's first session at Pathway that I think is fairly solid. In Richard Balls's book "Be Stiff", Eric recalls that after this session, Nick Lowe and Pathway engineer Barry Farmer took him to see the Damned at the Red Cow. Sure enough, this Damned fan site says the Damned played the Red Cow on October 21, 1976: http://www.whiterabbitskgs.co.uk/set_info/1976.htm

DamnedOct21-76.GIF
DamnedOct21-76.GIF (8.62 KiB) Viewed 2211 times


That fits perfectly with Gimarc's dates of Eric dropping of his demo tape on October 11 and Jake calling him back on October 13.

Eric also remembers that he did a second session at Stiff a week after the first, and that EC was also at Pathway at that time. EC says this is when he recorded what I'm calling the No Eric demos, so that gives us a date of October 28 or within a few days of that.

I'm aware that this is a sore subject for Eric, but from what I've read, he never disputes that EC was at Pathway that day or that he may well have recorded a lot of demos while Eric was momentarily not present. He only seems to dispute that this was the reason the idea of a "Bo Meets Chuck" album with him and EC was abandoned or perhaps that he was in the pub, specifically, while EC was at work in the studio. In fact, he seems to corroborate EC's version by complaining that EC was a typically pushy, competitive Londoner. Mainly, Eric seems put out that EC would mention the story publicly at all. So I think we have a solid date here.

Incidentally, in Richard Balls's biography of Ian Dury, Eric remembers going from the Stiff offices with a bunch of other Stiff people to see the Damned and Graham Parker at Victoria Palace. This would have been October 26. So maybe this is the exact date of the No Eric demos, but since Eric only mentions being at the Stiff offices, not Pathway studio, I'm going to call October 28 a good enough approximation.

Also related to the Damned:

According to Balls's "Be Stiff" book, Jake Riveria wanted the Damned to record for Stiff, and reached a verbal agreement to do just that after their set at the Mont de Marsen Punk Festival. According to multiple, solid sources, this was on Saturday, August 21, 1976:

MontdeMarsen1976.jpg
MontdeMarsen1976.jpg (163.45 KiB) Viewed 2211 times


If the Damned were effectively "signed" to Stiff (in reality, Jake tended to do business on a handshake rather than via legal paperwork) on August 21, I'm not sure where that leaves the long-standing and frequently repeated idea that EC was the first artist on Stiff, save for Nick, but onward...

We should note that it took Stuff about a month after their initial contact with the Damned to get them in the studio. Perhaps the interval was about the same for EC.

We should also note that the Damned's single, which was released on October 22, was a big seller (by Stiff's standards at the time) right away, which may be part of the reason Stiff's attention turned to doing more with EC very shortly thereafter.

-----

Now to the question of when EC would have heard the Modern Lovers "Roadrunner", and possibly the album it was on, which turned out to be a surprisingly pivotal influence on him.

As I, and MOOT, said previously, figuring out the various release dates of this album might not be possible at this point, but it seems to have been released on Home of the Hits (a.k.a. Berserkley Records) in the US some time no later than early-ish 1976. Robert Christgau gave it this review in the June 14, 1976, issue of the Village Voice (http://www.robertchristgau.com/xg/cg/cgv6-76.php):

THE MODERN LOVERS (Home of the Hits)
Jonathan Richman (a.k.a. the Modern Lovers) has become a critics' darling, and as a critic I'm proud to say he deserves it. This is worth looking for; it's a Beserkley record, distributed by Playboy. Richman's gift is to make explicit that love for "the modern world" that is the truth of so much of the best rock and roll; by cutting through the vaguely protesty ambience of so-called rock culture he opens the way for a worldliness that is specific, realistic, and genuinely critical. But like so many darlings he can be arch. Sometimes his unmusicianship adds a catch to a three-chord melody and his off-key singing unlocks doors you didn't know were there. But other times he sounds like his allowance is too big, much too old to think it's cute to be naughty, as worldly as Holden Caulfield with no '50s for excuse--the first rock hero who could use a spanking. A MINUS


I'm not suggesting EC was reading the Village Voice (a NYC news weekly) in June 1976, but I do think he was reading Sounds, which had this 1,200-word review of the album in the July 3, 1976, issue, which the circa-August 1976 Sounds article on Stiff describes as "ecstatic": http://www.rocksbackpages.com/Library/A ... ern-lovers

I don't have a way though Rocksbackpages's rather pricey paywall right now (perhaps someone else around here does... hint-hint ;) ), so I had to do some wily search queries to ensure that this was indeed a review of "The Modern Lovers" and not "Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers". I'll spare you the details, but I determined that this article contains most of the unusual words in the song titles of the MR album, plus the word "Cale", and none of the unusual words in the song titles of the JR+ML album -- except, curiously, "Martians", as in "Here Come the Martian Martians".

I'd love to know what that review actually said, but I'm guessing that if it said the music had something to do with this "punk" thing EC was reading about everywhere all the sudden, but also that JR was a real songwriter -- as well as an earnest, decidedly un-macho, unglamorous oddball, like someone else we might name -- that would have been enough to get EC to part with his scarce cash and buy it.

----

Finally, I tracked down that August 14, 1976, Melody Maker issues and put it in the wiki a couple of weeks ago: http://www.elviscostello.info/wiki/inde ... t_14,_1976

As you can see, it's not exactly an unequivocal call for songwriters and artists to submit their demo tapes, as whatever prompted EC to submit his is sometimes described as, but it certainly would have gotten EC's attention. And it gives the street address of Stiff's offices.

Like I said, I also have a scan what appears to be a few-weeks earlier article on Stiff from Sounds. I just got the go-ahead from John Foyle, so I'll be putting that in the wiki shortly.

There's more, because of course there's more, but I'll give it a rest for now.

Question for our fans(?) here: If the music papers came out of Wednesdays, why were their cover dates always Saturdays? More to the practical point, what did the cover dates mean in terms of actual publication dates?

User avatar
krm
Posts: 824
Joined: Sun Oct 21, 2007 6:10 am
Location: Sweden Skåne

Re: Seeing Elvis Costello's Whitton/ recording dates for MAIT , Dec. 1976?

Postby krm » Mon Sep 05, 2016 1:15 am

In his book "I was a teenage Sex Pistol" Glen Matlock remembers (page 78):
John had a few ideas in that direction. He brought in "Psychotic Reaction" by The Count Five, an original sixties American punk song and "Thru My Eyes" a dreadful psycedelic dirge which we soon elbowed. Somehow Nick Kent came up with a very early tape of Jonathan Richman - this is a couple of years before he had his record out - and we´d play his "Roadrunner".

johnfoyle
Posts: 13940
Joined: Wed Jun 04, 2003 4:37 pm
Location: Dublin , Ireland

Re: Seeing Elvis Costello's Whitton/ recording dates for MAIT , Dec. 1976?

Postby johnfoyle » Mon Sep 05, 2016 2:28 am

Re - the Clover tour in '76 with Linda Lewis , Ms Lewis replied to a query I sent her site -

'All I remember is they 'opened ' for me on my first major tour of England and that they went down well and were very nice guys. '

No dates etc. but obliging of her to answer anyway.


Alex's account -

Image


Image

User avatar
Man out of Time
Posts: 1068
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2007 8:15 am
Location: Sarf London
Contact:

Re: Seeing Elvis Costello's Whitton/ making-of-MAIT timeline

Postby Man out of Time » Mon Sep 05, 2016 2:22 pm

erey wrote:Question for our fans(?) here: If the music papers came out of Wednesdays, why were their cover dates always Saturdays? More to the practical point, what did the cover dates mean in terms of actual publication dates?


I seem to recall that the date on the cover was the Saturday, but that they hit the newsstands a few days before. This is common practice with magazines or any publication that you want to have a "shelf-life" - no one is going to buy yesterday's paper, so putting a future date on it gives you a few extra days for it to sell. Also as Saturday was the peak day for record sales it made sense to publish beforehand to allow record companies to get their advertisements in print before then. Of course, this is only my recollection. We would need a professional news vendor (or one recently retired from that profession) to confirm or deny this hypothesis. If only there were someone we could ask......



MOOT

User avatar
verbal gymnastics
Posts: 9840
Joined: Wed Jun 11, 2003 6:44 am
Location: In a very fashionable hovel

Re: Seeing Elvis Costello's Whitton/ making-of-MAIT timeline

Postby verbal gymnastics » Mon Sep 05, 2016 3:49 pm

Man out of Time wrote:Of course, this is only my recollection. We would need a professional news vendor (or one recently retired from that profession) to confirm or deny this hypothesis. If only there were someone we could ask......



MOOT


:lol: :lol: :lol:
international laughing stock...

johnfoyle
Posts: 13940
Joined: Wed Jun 04, 2003 4:37 pm
Location: Dublin , Ireland

Re: Seeing Elvis Costello's Whitton/ making-of-MAIT timeline

Postby johnfoyle » Mon Sep 05, 2016 5:46 pm

:D :D

The rock weeklies always had the Saturday date on the cover , even when it hit the shelf on Wednesday/Thursday. I don't know why , honest!

sulky lad
Posts: 1370
Joined: Fri Jul 29, 2005 5:21 pm
Location: Out of the kitchen,she's gone with the wind

Re: Seeing Elvis Costello's Whitton/ making-of-MAIT timeline

Postby sulky lad » Mon Sep 05, 2016 6:45 pm

Of all the expert opinions sought, John could only come up with that :roll: .brilliant research by all involved . Just on a personal note, I'm not surprised Elvis may have a slant not entirely on phase with other events. Hearing yourself on the radio in the dark is a lot more romantic than at 3 pm with the kids running round outside and buses zooming past !

erey
Posts: 157
Joined: Tue Apr 14, 2015 3:54 pm

Re: Seeing Elvis Costello's Whitton/ making-of-MAIT timeline

Postby erey » Fri Sep 16, 2016 10:06 am

Since tomorrow is the 40th anniversary of EC's first recording session for Stiff, I think we're due for another installment on this thread.

johnfoyle wrote:The rock weeklies always had the Saturday date on the cover , even when it hit the shelf on Wednesday/Thursday. I don't know why , honest!


Thanks, John! I'll adjust future versions of the timeline to reflect this.

I'd been figuring that the cover date was exactly a week after the newsstand date, because that's how they do it in the US. (It's also how wikipedia says it's done in the UK, but we all know what that's worth.) A mid-cycle newsstand date seems a bit odd to me, but then so does beans on toast. :)

I found this essay by Alex Call which you might have missed, which is similar to what he wrote in his book but fills in a little more of Clover's chronology: http://www.trcjt.ca/ae818/lizzy4/alcall03.html

Alex writes:
Dave and Jake have exciting news for us. We're going to be opening for Thin Lizzy for thirty dates! We know Thin Lizzy from their hit, The Boys Are Back in Town. Wild! I remember hearing that song the summer before and thinking how cool it was. We'll be starting in Oxford.

We've just done a mini-tour with a soul singer named Linda Lewis. We opened in Aberystwyth, Wales and played a handful of college and small venue dates. Nick Lowe rode in the van with us, helping to both navigate the maze of confusing roads and the world of English bed and breakfast accommodations.

[...]

Following the short Linda Lewis swing, we get a night at the Roundhouse, in London. The Roundhouse is an old railroad roundhouse that's been converted to a rock venue. It is a happening place right now, not as prestigious as the Hammersmith Odeon or the Rainbow, but it's a gig that will draw a good crowd, a lot of punters.


I also found some good information on this Clover fan site: http://www.clover-infopage.com/

That website is kind of strangely set up, so it's difficult to link to the sub-pages, but I found good information under Clover's Music, Clover Archives > Press Archive, and Clover Archives > Poster Archives.

Alex seems to be misremembering the date of the Roundhouse gig. Several contemporaneous sources in the Press Archive of the Clover fan site refer to that September 12 gig as Clover's UK debut performance. Very likely Alex is mixing it up this gig on October 17 at the New Victory Theater.

cloverNewVic.gif
cloverNewVic.gif (84.95 KiB) Viewed 2019 times


Even more interesting for our purposes, Clover opened for Lynyd Skynyrd on a tour of the UK from January 27 to February 14, 1977.

cloverskyn.jpg
cloverskyn.jpg (40.37 KiB) Viewed 2019 times


Other data points of interest:

According to several contemporaneous articles, within three days of arriving in England, Clover recorded 16 or 18 songs' worth of demos, produced by Nick Lowe, in a few days. Two of these demos were released as a single -- "Chicken Funk" b/w "Show Me Your Love" -- on Vertigo Records (which was part of Phonogram), on November 5, 1976.

The rest of those demos lead to an album deal with Phonogram, for Clover's "Unavailable" album, which was released in March 1977. That album was originally planned to have Nick Lowe as its producer. But, as of an interview with Alex Call done on November 7 (printed in the December 1976 issue of Nuggets; http://www.clover-infopage.com/clover44.html), they had decided to have Mutt Lange produce it.

I can't quite figure out when "Unavailable" was recorded. It sounds like it must have been recorded right around the same time as MAIT. In any case, it had to be after the Oct/Nov Thin Lizzy tour and before the January/February Lynyrd Skynyrd tour. It was recorded at Rockfiled Studios in Wales.

I found this email, apparently from Johnny Ciambotti, on this blog site (http://lefsetz.com/wordpress/2009/06/24/mailbag-8/), which essential puts MAIT right in the middle of Cover's preparation for "Unavailable":

Headley grange

Look bob

You’re a smart guy—but Springsteen didn’t really change the world in the seventies, although my daughter, gia ciambotti sang with him for a couple of years—great act but not earth shattering. The shit that really counted was happening over the pond. That takes us to headley grange. It’s just a big old english countryside castle-like workhouse—cold as hell, heated by coal, paraffin stove in the kitchen, a hundred rooms, damp and dank—right out of charles dickens. But it must have some musical ghosts haunting the joint because it’s like a vortex for creative, world changing, rock and roll.

Right after led zep recorded their stuff there, my band, clover rented the grange to live in and rehearse. Comming directly from marin, our minds were totally blown by the vibe. The rehearsal hall was a huge ballroom with unreal acoustics. Perfect for loud music.

For some reason or other it was decided that clover would record at rockfield studios in wales instead of doing a remote truck at headley. Rockfield was cool, but didn’t have the danger vibe that headley grange had. Anyway, clover continued to live and rehearse there (and, of course, party), when jake riviera had the brilliant idea to send this guy, d.p. Mc manus, he was thinking of putting on Stiff records, down to headley to have us see whether his shit was worth doing. Well, the vibe at headley must have been in full force that night because we rehearsed the foundations of elvis costello’s first record—and the rest, as they say, is history. To this day, elvis will occasionally tell the story of sleeping that first night in the rehearsal hall and getting up close and personal with the humongus rat population of headley grange. I don’t know whether it’s still being used for the purpose of recording or not, but it ought to be—it’ got some powerful thing going for it.

Dr john p ciambotti
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry


With what we have, we can make a little Clover timeline:

August 23, 1976 -- Clover arrive in UK.

August 26 and a few days after -- Clover record 16 or 18 demos with Nick Lowe.

September 12 -- Clover make their live debut in UK, at the Roundhouse, London.

September 17 -- Nick Lowe, John McFee, and Micky Shine record "Mystery Dance" and "Radio Sweetheart" at Pathway with EC.

Dates unknown, but including September 28 -- Clover play on Twiggy's album, in Amsterdam.

September 28 -- Alex Call celebrates his birthday in Amsterdam, during Twiggy sessions stay.

Dates unknown, likely early October -- Clover open for Linda Lewis on "mini-tour" or UK. Alex Call recalls that Nick Lowe was traveling with them.

October 11 -- Wreckless Eric drops off his demo tape at Stiff. Eric recalls seeing Nick Lowe and Huey Lewis in the office that day.

October 17 -- Clover play the New Victoria Theater, London.

October 20 to November 19 -- Clover open for Thin Lizzy on tour of UK.

Late October -- Clover has plans to record an album produced by Nick Lowe, reported in November 3, 1976, issue of Sounds.

November 5 -- Clover's single, "Chicken Funk" b/w "Show Me Your Love" , recorded in late August and produced by Nick Lowe, is released on Vertigo Records.

Early November -- Clover now plan to have Mutt Lange produce their album, according to a November 7 interview with Alex Call, printed in the December 1976 issue of Nuggets.

Dates unknown, likely early December -- EC arranges and rehearses songs that become MAIT, with Clover, at Headley Grange outside of London.

Dates unknown, December and possibly January -- Clover records MAIT with EC at Pathway, over several one-day sessions, spaced out to accommodate EC's work schedule.

January 26 -- Final mix of MAIT completed.

Dates unknown, (December 1976?) -- Clover record their "Unavailable" album with Mutt Lange at Rockfield Studio in Wales.

January 27 to February 14 -- Clover open for Lynyrd Skynyrd on tour of UK.

February 1977 -- Clover's single "I Lie Awake and Dream of You" b/w "Take Another Look", from their album "Unavailable", is released.

March 1977 -- Clover's "Unavailable" album released. One song is produced by Nick Lowe ("Show Me Your Love"), the rest by Mutt Lange.


So, this Clover timeline confirms and adds detail to what we already know from our EC timelime, if perhaps it doesn't really illuminate anything new there. It would be great to get more granularity on what Clover was doing between the end of the Thin Lizzy tour and the beginning of the Lynyrd Skynyrd tour. I would say I don't think we'll get that lucky, but we've turned up things here that I never would have expected, so you never know what might be next.

I'll close with another tip of the hat to John Foyle for getting with interesting response from Pathway engineer Barry Farmer:

johnfoyle wrote:Barry 'Bazza' Farmer , the engineer in Pathway Studio for the MAIT sessions , responded to a question I sent him , via F/book , about the recording dates -


Can't remember the dates but I remember we did two days on backing-tracks, two days overdubs and a further couple to mix. May have been a couple of re-mixes but not much. Most of the above because Elvis and Clover were VERY-well prepared, Nick was confident and easy to work with and the whole ethos of Pathway Studio was that it served real musicians to achieve real music.


No exact dates, but this tells us something valuable nevertheless: That all the songs on MAIT were written, arranged, and ready to go when Clover and EC arrived at Pathway, likely prior to the first session. This is essentially how EC remembers it in the MAIT reissue liner notes as well.

Also, it seems likely that Clover were not present at the last two (mixing) sessions, which would explain why, in Graeme Thomson's bio of EC, Johnny Ciambotti remembers there being four sessions, whereas EC always remembers it as six.
Last edited by erey on Fri Sep 16, 2016 2:29 pm, edited 4 times in total.

bronxapostle
Posts: 3616
Joined: Wed Jul 12, 2006 2:27 pm

Re: Seeing Elvis Costello's Whitton/ making-of-MAIT timeline

Postby bronxapostle » Fri Sep 16, 2016 11:18 am

FWIW....I saw Clover third on the bill with Dave Mason and Bob Welch, Feb 10, 1978. A full thirteen months before I first saw Elvis. Just odd, kinda like me seeing my first EC song performed live by RACHEL SWEET!!! :oops: :oops:

johnfoyle
Posts: 13940
Joined: Wed Jun 04, 2003 4:37 pm
Location: Dublin , Ireland

Re: Seeing Elvis Costello's Whitton/ making-of-MAIT timeline

Postby johnfoyle » Mon Sep 26, 2016 9:36 am

Barry 'Bazza' Farmer , the engineer for Pathway , suggested I contact Paul 'Bassman' Riley - record producer and sometime bassplayer with many including Elvis - regarding any additional information he may have on MAIT recording dates etc. Today I got an e-mail from him saying he couldn't help me , as he has 'neither access to archived material nor a good enough memory!'.

johnfoyle
Posts: 13940
Joined: Wed Jun 04, 2003 4:37 pm
Location: Dublin , Ireland

Re: Seeing Elvis Costello's Whitton/ making-of-MAIT timeline

Postby johnfoyle » Mon Sep 26, 2016 5:04 pm

Paul Riley suggested I ask Jake Riviera & sent a email address. I just did but am rather sceptical as to my chances of getting a reply !

sulky lad
Posts: 1370
Joined: Fri Jul 29, 2005 5:21 pm
Location: Out of the kitchen,she's gone with the wind

Re: Seeing Elvis Costello's Whitton/ making-of-MAIT timeline

Postby sulky lad » Mon Sep 26, 2016 8:23 pm

Like Bruce T once wrote, I hope you're not anxiously anticipating a knock on the door late at night (gulp).Of course I always liked Jake and admired his stance and opinion on everything :wink:

johnfoyle
Posts: 13940
Joined: Wed Jun 04, 2003 4:37 pm
Location: Dublin , Ireland

Re: Seeing Elvis Costello's Whitton/ making-of-MAIT timeline

Postby johnfoyle » Tue Sep 27, 2016 4:55 am

'I'm afraid not, regards Jake' - Jake's reply in full.

sulky lad
Posts: 1370
Joined: Fri Jul 29, 2005 5:21 pm
Location: Out of the kitchen,she's gone with the wind

Re: Seeing Elvis Costello's Whitton/ making-of-MAIT timeline

Postby sulky lad » Tue Sep 27, 2016 7:51 am

At least you got a reply and quite a civilised one at that !! Now just keep asking him about the rare promo stuff and soundboard recordings Bruce suggested he had stashed away and see if he'll let us have any :D

erey
Posts: 157
Joined: Tue Apr 14, 2015 3:54 pm

Re: Seeing Elvis Costello's Whitton/ making-of-MAIT timeline

Postby erey » Tue Sep 27, 2016 9:02 pm

Very impressive, John!

Being of a somewhat nerdlier temperament myself, I came up with several more inductive lines of inquiry that may yet get us a clearer picture. I'll post more when time allows.


Return to “Elvis Costello General Discussion”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Baidu [Spider], Bing [Bot] and 17 guests