Utopian Track Breakdown: 6) Jonesin'
My friend Charles Rees who is the manager of Paul Weller's Black Barn Studio offered me some gratis time with the blessing of the Modfather™. This was scheduled to take place in April '20. We all know what happened next. Like every other working musician in the world I suddenly had my date sheet wiped clean - with a possibility of gigs resuming in the autumn. What to do? I was ready to make another album.
I decided to buy all the equipment necessary for me to be able to record at home. I wouldn't be looking to record drums or mix tracks to the level I require, but I could at least get everything else down and worry about the rest later. I used to have a set up at home many years ago, but got rid of it as I didn't particularly enjoy it. I used to get depressed knowing I had the ability to work in the basement of my own home every time I woke up. I'm a lazy bastard and I really enjoy the pleasures doing NOTHING most of the time - which this life has graciously gifted me. Anyway I'd feel guilty if I wasn't "working". Sod that.
I'm not going to go into Ernie* details as this isn't an online audiophile magazine - but I got a good quality 32 channel digital desk (with faders and knobs - I NEED real faders and knobs, I'm old school) - a nice mic, compressor, pre-amp and some very posh speakers. I would record a guitar to a rough drum track - generated by my iPhone - and then build it up - but not too much, as I didn't know where I was going without hearing real drums. Generally a vocal and guitar would be all there was at this stage. Then I would send what I'd done to Ciaron Bell my producer and he would add stuff - usually on a temporary basis - but not always - just to see if we had something worth pursuing.
We were in full Lockdown so we couldn't get in a studio where we could record drums. Cue my friend Steve 'Smiley' Barnard who played on Our Future In Space, and just happened to have a studio in his back garden 'darn sarf' sunshinecornerstudios.co.uk where he could record drum tracks. We did this for a while, but it was very difficult to get what we needed without us all being in the room together. I like to stand next to the drummer when he's recording. Or at least point and shout at him through the glass. I decided to abandon this approach and wait until Lockdown ended to get the drums tracks.
In July things eased up enough for us to get into Parr. St. Studios in Liverpool for a couple of days to record all the drum parts with Nick Kilroe, who played on Eclectic Warrior and was Icicle Works' touring drummer in 2019. Ciaron and I then continued to work on the tracks - a week in In Demand Studio on the Wirral - which we abandoned early due to the cramped conditions of the room and the relentless heat, relocating (lockdowns permitting) to his home in Birkenhead. I have to say at this point it was my intention to get Roy Corkill, Chris Kearney and Richard Naiff to play on certain tracks but the Pandemic just made this impossible. To be honest it's something of a miracle we managed to get this record made AT ALL - especially at it's (non-negotiable) breadth of twenty tracks.
Jonesin' was based on a riff I unashamedly lifted from Keith Richards (unusually in standard tuning, as opposed to his beloved five-string GDGBD) and made up pretty much on the spot. The vocal you hear on the record is the only time I've ever sung it. I didn't rehearse, I just got a level, pressed the button and sang. 'Jonesing' is a term for craving - needing a fix - of drugs, cigarettes, booze, love, cake, anything really. In this case it's about sex. Dixie Daye came into In Demand on a sweltering day for a few hours and put her magic on Jonesin' and a couple of other tunes.
*Ernie - over-zealous fan who wants to know what gauge guitar strings you use. And just about everything else about you. Lives for coloured vinyl.
Just one look, that was all it took, just one kiss, I need some more like this,
just one touch, it don't take that much, just one spin, and my knees give in,
I'm jonesin', hit me again, I'm jonesin', need my medicine,
I'm jonesin', gimme the look, I'm jonesin' and I'm on the hook...
yeah, just one night, inside of something tight, just one push, you gimme such a rush,
just one thing, I need to feel your sting, just one lick, I've never came so quick,
I'm jonesin', fix me up, I'm jonesin', from your lovin' cup,
jonesin', it feels so good, jonesin', mix it up with blood,
Just one look, man that was all it took, just one kiss, I need some more like this,just one touch, it don't take that much, just one spin, and my knees give in, I'm jonesin', hit me again, I'm jonesin', need my medicine, I'm jonesin', gimme the look, I'm jonesin' and I'm on the hook...
Written by R.I.McNabb © Peermusic (UK) Ltd. 2020
Ian McNabb: Lead vocal, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, bass. Dixie Daye: Backing vocals. Nick Kilroe: Drums.