I first met Brent McLachlan when the Spines were playing in Christchurch and he was doing our sound – we hit it off immediately. When The Gordons broke up and he moved to Wellington he became our regular live sound guy and was great – he recorded everything on cassette and got a terrific drum and vocal sound.
We lived on the Terrace in a big old house called Valhalla and Brent was just round the corner in a flat with The Skeptics guys and I used to hang out there when they first started Writhe Studios.
After the Spines had released Idiot Sun, Ross, Wendy and Neill got involved in other projects and I started back writing more personal songs and playing with samples and delays on a little Fostex 4-track cassette recorder – simpler rhythms and love songs.
I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed my time in the recording studio more – just me and Brent who knew the songs and the studio so well.
The first session I put down guitar tracks on all the songs on the Gretsch with no click-track then we brought in the various Spines to play on them. Ross and Caroline Easther on the drums, Wendy and Rob Mahoney on bass and Neill Duncan on sax and mouth harp.
They were a great bunch of songs in various styles and we worked on them late at nights using different sounds for each tune.
For Weighed Down With Words, a ballad based on a guitar riff, we stripped out the guitar once the drums, sax and double bass were recorded and I tinkled two tracks of one-finger piano over it. It wound up sounding like a smoky 40s jazz piece – even though I’m not much chop on the piano.
Anything We Make was layers of echoed guitars I had done at home on the 4-track that sounded like harpsichord which we transferred to the main tape and got Rob to play double bass over.
Minus Woman was built up from a live sample that I took of Ross playing a tricky hi-hat pattern and ran through the whole song.
The final song, Iron Diane, was just Wendy and Caroline and me.
I did all the lead vocals in one session leaving the operatic Iron Diane till last when my voice was on its last legs.
I’m very proud of that album; it is as close as the Spines got to The Beatles in a strange way, despite the weird femme BVs. We sent it off to Flying Nun but Roger Shepard had gone by this stage and it was never released.