I got a phone call in the middle of the night. It was Riki Gooch, he was in London with Fat Freddy’s Drop. The tour was almost over, he was coming home – he didn’t want to play with Crowded House and Trinity Roots was over for him – he wanted to join the Spines!
We had just recorded a bunch of demos with Jordan from El Shlong on drums and he was leaving for London soon. Les Knight (bass) and I had worked up a formidable set of songs through a series of line-up changes. We were on a roll but about to lose our drummer.
I had first met Riki in the 90s when I lived in a big studio on Wigan St. and he was roasting coffee beans at the fledgling Havana just up the road. We would swap tapes of the early Trinity Roots and the early Spines recordings. He wound up playing on three tracks of my solo album – Your Body Stays, Frida and You Will Walk. Amazing drummer and human being – we formed a bond. He took off…
When he came back I played him the tape we had made with Jordan and we worked on the material – playing it live and hammering it out in the practice room. As a rhythm section Les and Riki let me breathe and explore the potential of my guitar and voice – it wasn’t just about the songs.
We recorded at Julie Lamb’s practice rooms with Ben Litchfield engineering. We put the drums on a pallet riser and the bass down one end of the long room, while I was down the other end with my guitar and feedback. Very live. I overdubbed a few guitar parts and the vocals.
It was heavy – even the ballads had a hard edge to them. I remember Riki running in, just as I was about to put down the ad-libbed vocal for If I Were You and telling me to sing it like I was making love to a sea lion…
Meanwhile – the Buzzcocks were coming to play at Bodega. I talked Mo into getting us the support slot.
The bar was overflowing and humming. We took the stage and before they could yell for us to get off – I said “We are all in for a treat tonight!” and we launched into Where She Walks and the hardcore songs off the album we had just recorded. Riki was incredible that night and Malky, our current drummer, joined us on percussion. At one stage, during the guitar solo in If I Were You, I high-fived my late friend Carey Hibbert in the front row.
The Buzzcocks tore it up. I watched from the side of the stage. Great songs and performance – Steve Diggle playing with the crowd, having the time of his life.
We got to hang out with them after the show. Pete Shelley was sort of serious but opened up when we talked about songwriting – how you begin to treasure your early songs more and more as you get older. Steve Diggle was party guy – he said he loved the whole night as we drank the place dry. They had both watched our part of the show and loved it.
Apparently Cam, the bar manager, got Mo and me back to my place where we woke up on the lounge floor next morning.
The album we recorded is on Bandcamp.