Friday, May 27, 2005

An uncharacteristic week of spectacular underachievement! We had intended to finish off the acoustic pieces this week - Bert having a week with nothing-else-to-do for the first time in living memory. And what did we achieve - absolutely nothing. What with a combination of fine weather, Rudy being completely knackered and Mauro finding himself catching up with the rest of his life during his first Deus-activity-free week in ages (I refuse to further acknowledge typeface conceits), every day just kind of got abandoned. We did, however, manage a pathetic one-hour rehearsal last night (Thursday) with a view to airing a few of the new songs for the first time today, at the Wonderfestival press conference - which we did. Yes, you missed it - 4 or 5 new songs - performed at noon, on the hottest day of the year. And a bit shambolic it was too - but not too bad, considering how dismal last night's rehearsal had been.

After our little lunchtime turn, we had a look at our collective summer agenda, with a view towards booking gigs. Slightly depressingly, there's very little free space in which we'll be able to play - the last week in July, the last week in August and the first two weeks in September - that's about it really. We'll just have to fill those weeks up, I suppose.

Now, something I've been meaning to do since I started keeping this blog. Last year, from, I think, March until December or thereabouts, I actually kept a daily journal, for the first time in my life. Daily turned out to be a bit more than my slacker heart could be bothered with, which is why it got sidetracked to make way for this. This way I don't have to rework and detail every aspect of my personal life (imagine doing that for the benefit of one's cult band's followers) - I merely make an entry if the Love Substitutes have been doing anything.

One additional thing that did occur to me, though, was, thanks to the journal I kept last year, I would be able to see exactly what we had done as a band, up untill the point when this blog began. So here goes:

A brief pre-history of the Love Substitutes based on my journal:

Sunday 28th March – Diary entry: "Two Possible Band Names: Farmers with Televisions, The Love Substitutes."
Monday 17th May - Rehearsal (Mortsel)
Monday 24th May - Rehearsal (Mortsel, without Bert)
Monday 28th June - Rehearsal (Berchem, I suggest the name "The Love Substitutes", which goes down well)
Monday 5th July - Rehearsal (Berchem, “We’re really starting to play a bit now”)
Saturday 17th July- Rehearsal (Don't know where)
Monday 19th July- Rehearsal (Ditto)
Wednesday 21st July- Rehearsal (Ditto)
Thursday 22nd July - Recording session for "Meet The Love Substitutes..." (Day 1), Studio 195
Friday 23rd July - Recording session for "Meet The Love Substitutes..." (Day 2), Studio 195
Saturday 24th July - Overdub and mixing session for "Meet The Love Substitutes..." (Day 3), Studio 195
Wednesday 28th July (evening) - Mixing session for "Meet The Love Substitutes..." (Day 4), Studio 195
Thursday 29th July (evening) - Mixing session for "Meet The Love Substitutes..." (Day 5), Studio 195

And that's it. Not terribly much. Not terribly interesting either, to be honest. But maybe your an obsessive/compulsive anal completist, in which case stuff like this interests you. That's OK. I would detail when Rudy cereated the artwork and did the mastering, but I have no idea when he did that stuff because I was back in Scotland at the time, nursing a sweaty head. I can however tell you that I did speak to him on my mobile phone once while cycling back from Slammannan (A God forsaken Catholic-hating, Orange Lodge shithole in Scotland's grim M8 Corridor - I didn't know, honest. I was just testing my new bike [the cost of which my Dad halved with me, bless his hardened arteries]), with regard to such matters. That was on Wednesday 15th September, two days after my 35th birthday.

So now you know.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

My apologies, I've been a bit too distracted and busy with various other things lately to make a post here. So, to catch up - The Cafe Libertad gig in Leuven was great fun - very silly, very messy, great hospitality, warm public and excellent dinner (an enormous melt-in-the-mouth pork shank with mash and gravy) and (delicious) wine beforehand. Unfortunately Mauro and I spent about eight years driving around first the Brussels ring and then the centre of Leuven trying to unravel the central mystery of knowing-where-the-hell-one-is-in-Belgium. Always central to our work, the great mystery. (Fortunately we had a CD of live King Crimson improvs ('73-'74) to keep us entertained for the duration of that potentially traumatic experience - a fittingly deranged soundtrack). Rudy's sister was present, and an Italian chap who had, apparently, travelled all the way from Italy just for that one show.

Such dedication.

Thereafter we spent a couple of afternoons in Bert's attic, working further on the five acoustic pieces. Mauro came round and put snare and floor tom on a couple of them, and we managed a couple of vocals and some midi manipulation despite Trouve's having a post-Libertad hangover of biblical proportions. We should be able to get them finished off this coming week.

Thereafter thereafter we spent a further three days with Patrick in Studio 195 finishing off the last of the overdubs and mixing everything. The creation of this album's been much more difficult and intense than the first. The last couple of days were grumpy, miserable affairs - don't really know why - maybe because we've found ourselves making a studio album without the luxury of actually having lots of studio time - enforced on-the-spot inventiveness can be pretty draining. But I reckon we're all pretty confident it's a good album. And it's always fun afterwards to hear something that was made quickly - something that none of us really had any idea would sound like when we started. Whatever, another day's remixing the few inevitable not-very-good mixes (last Tuesday 17th) and that was that - album number 2 in the can (more or less - acoustic pieces coming soon).

A happy footnote: During the initial recording sessions for this album we felt the improvisations we had done were basically bogus - but thanks to the miracle technology that is overdubbing we've managed to turn a couple of them into proper the-lunatics-have-taken-over-the-asylum style stonkers. And there was I worrying that that side of the band might go unrepresented on this one. Nothing to fear.

We've decided that from now on I'll be taking primary responsibility for booking Love Substitutes gigs so, if you'd like us to come and play at your birthday party, barbecue, gran's funeral etc., drop me a line (see links, above right).

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

On Monday we returned to Studio 195 with Patrick to work some more on the songs we recorded a few weeks ago. Happily it was a most productive day, in which various things about which we'd been very unsure became real songs. An alchemical day, you might say. We mixed one song, with some difficulty, little success, and much learning, in the evening. Friday through Monday we'll be back there mixing. I'm looking forward to it.

Tonight Cafe Libertad in Leuven - the first and last Subs gig for some time. We're considerably underbooked for live shows during the approaching summer. If anyone has any marvellous ideas for places we should be playing, please contact Heaven Hotel.