Monday, 29 September 2014

When The Oil Runs Out - Where did all the time go?

32 days 19 hours and 24 mins to go

I'm now getting to the final stages of recording and mixing my new acoustic album ‘Jenga Society’. The format is (for the most part) acoustic guitar, lead vocal, backing vocals and a bit of second acoustic. I feel very ‘naked’ in these songs without a band to hide behind but I think that, that it is going to be its greatest strength.

Looking back, I released my second vinyl single with the Newtown Neurotics in 1980 after the relative success of Hypocrite/You Said No.
The song, ‘When The Oil Runs Out’ has turned out to be a timeless thing because at its heart it reminds us how dependant we are on Oil and how much it shapes the world and destroys and blights the lives of people too. I am to this day very proud of it and we coupled that for the ‘b’ side with Ohno, which obtained a new vivid lease of life in Brazil at the beginning of 2014 on my tour there. The boys in Sao Paulo that became my Neurotics, in that home away from home, requested we play it and it then, in their hands, became a thing of beauty once more.

At this point in 1980, I still had really long hair (at a time when everyone was spiking theirs up) which was my statement that punk is in the heart not in a hairstyle.
After this single, I did cut it all off but I was undergoing a lot of changes and I eventually I reflected that by freeing myself of hair care and hair care products.
Although ‘When The Oil Runs Out’ has done well over the years, when it was first released, although it got quite a bit of airplay, no-one could buy it because the distributors, Pinnacle, mislaid the stock in the warehouse and therefore none of the discs got into the shops.
By the time I realised it, the single was old news.

Again, much to my delight it was re-released on vinyl this year and has done really well. One interesting thing about this was that I deliberately ordered more sleeves than I needed for the single back in 1980 and thirty four years later I got them out of storage and they were used for the re-release, the original sleeves on identical looking discs.

Below is a link to a video the Neurotics shot with Tony Mottram for the single, on one of the earliest portable VHS recording machines at that time, I think the camera was separate and it connected to a domestic size recorder slung on a strap on the shoulder.

A one camera job it was a triumph of enthusiasm over minuscule resources and embryonic technology. Enjoy!

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