01. A Massive Return
02. Set List
|Charlie and I toyed
with the idea of a re-union with Alvin and myself for a new album for the 20th anniversary
of the UK Subs which was approaching in the winter of 1996. The press were more than kind
about our the last attempt (the 7 Betrayal), particularly the B side - Nobody Move, so we decided to book time at Wally Sound
studios in San Francisco giving us only a few weeks to start working on songs. Alvin was
available but again Steve Roberts was discounted as a possibility. There was some talk of
Rat Scabbies of the Damned playing on the record. I had just remixed two songs from the
last Damned album Not Of This Earth for Cleopatra records. I also played all
the guitar and bass on the remixes so in a round-about way I had just been playing with
him. Rat, of course, was from the same era as the Subs and Charlie, in particular, already
were friends with him. However Rat was playing in Joe Strummers new band and moving
between Hollywood and the UK. Scheduling Rat for the session was looking less and less
likely. Dave Ayer from Samiam was available and interested. Having worked with him on
several projects I knew he was one of the few drummers who could handle this kind of
project on such a short notice.
By the time Charlie and Alvin arrived in San Francisco I had penned an number of partial songs, (I rarely write lyrics), Alvin brought with him five, 80% finished songs, some with lyrics. Charlie had a couple of songs also, so I announced that we should up the anti as it were and do two albums. We had reached Q in our alphabetic catalog, so these new albums were dubbed Quintessentials & Riot. We had a three week window to finish all recording this would include writing, rehearsing, backing tracks, overdubs and vocals.
Wally sound was a small studio built in a garage across the road from Golden Gate park. Chock full of antique guitars, amps and mics, and using an analog 2 recorder, Wallys place was perfect for us. We set up a schedule where Alvin and I would work on songs for a day, we would rehearse those songs the next day while Charlie scribbled down lyric Ideas, then we would record the backing tracks the next day. The cycle would repeat again. At the end of the backing track portion of the session we were throwing everything in the pot. We listened to our favorite punk songs for inspiration then wrote 1976 style little pieces with working titles like Clutching at straws and Last ditch attempt (later renamed). On the last day we attempted to improvise a song based around a drum beat Dave came up with. I drew a blank and went home for a while (Across on the other side of the park), while I was gone Alvin & Dave managed to lay down a take with Alvin also playing a guitar line, (Beggars & Bums), then I added a 2nd part. However while I was at home, for around an hour, I knocked out two short songs. The first, not on either album was used for album ads and station IDs for U.S. college radio, the second was Power Corrupts (On Riot). Right up to the last hours before Alvins flight back to the UK we were throwing down tracks, and adding his voice on backing vocals. (Charlie had done a few lead vocals already). The third week Charlie and I worked on vocals and guitar overdubs, before he also left for the UK. After a few days rest Wally and I mixed both albums. The first Quintessentials was slatted for release on New Red Archives, the second was licensed to Cleopatra. Cleopatra had released two CDs of UK Subs material prior to this deal. They were Punk Can Take It - A collection of demos and live tracks and Self Destruct a collection of tracks licensed from New Red Archives compiled from A.W.O.L., Killing Time, Betrayal and the split 7 with the Swingin Utters.
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