News Listen About Contact New Album
Posted on Jul 6th, 2009
A Week Away, Stormy Monday, Farewell My Summer Love


(Soundtrack: Regina Spektor “Far”, Charles Mingus “Oh Yeah”) . We have been busy planning Spearmint activity for September. We are releasing a new version of our first album “A Week Away”. Pete is currently remastering it from debris of mixes and versions sprawled across a sea of DAT tapes – DAT was the industry standard for masters ten years ago when we made it. It was originally mastered at Abbey Road, but I am convinced Pete and do a better job of it. We are re-instating the single version of “A Trip Into Space”, which we feel is superior; it will also have the full unfaded ending. . We have also recorded seven new songs intended for a ten inch EP to be released alongside it. I have been searching for extra tracks to add to “A Week Away”, but of course most of them are already featured on “Songs For The Colour Yellow” which accompanied the album originally. After a sobering financial review, we have decided to add the seven new tracks to the “A Week Away” CD rather than releasing them on a separate EP. I think this will work well, as they do share a theme with the original album. . In addition to that, there are five b-sides from the time which did not fit onto “Songs For The Colour Yellow”, so they can also be included. Hence the new version of the CD will comprise “A Week Away” remastered, the new seven song cycle, plus the five extra tracks. . We have also decided to include lyrics having originally resisted this. I have been convinced over the years, mainly by people for whom English is not their first language, that this really helps. I didn’t like the idea initially, as seeing them written seems to imply they should work written, which they don’t, as they are lyrics, not poetry. But I have warmed to the idea and was happy to include them with the Shirley Lee album and now this. . We also plan to play the “A Week Away” album live in full for the first time, at the ICA in London, and on some German dates. Jim, Si, Ronan and I have always wanted to play at the ICA – I remember us talking about it ten years ago, so it will be a treat to finally do it. We have fixed the date: Wednesday 30th September. The Junipers, who we saw live in Liverpool are going to play with us, which is great, as they are wonderful – so nice when you find a band who are that good! . Jim is keen to create a short film about “A Week Away” to show at the gigs, so we met his friend Jean last week to start planning that. Jim’s idea is to make it as much of an event as possible, which is great. We are also DJing at “How Does It Feel” on Friday 4th September, which is the day that the movie “500 Days Of Summer” opens. Apparently one of the main characters in this film says either “of course, the band you should be listening to is Spearmint”, or “Spearmint are the best band in the world”, or something, so I guess we can all go see the movie before DJing. Knowing our luck we will have been subtly misinformed and the quote will be something slightly different like “Spearmint are a great big pile of steaming shit”. . I was in a movie once: “Stormy Monday” by Mike Figgis, with Sean Bean, Melanie Griffith and Sting. This was when I was living in Newcastle – I was paid twenty pounds to be an extra for the day, which I thought was amazing money at the time. It was mostly spent hanging around with rest of the extras in a hall near the river where I later saw The Fall play – can’t remember its name. I never saw Sting, but Melanie Griffith came into the room once with a fur coat draped over shoulders and starting complaining in a shrill Marilyn voice. I thought she was awful, but I have since come to really like her in “Celebrity” and “Cecil B Demented”. I did two scenes, the first was walking into the Jazz Club with a girl, which seemed to go quite well. Afterwards Mike Figgis came over to us, all frizzy gingery hair and long denim collars – how camp he seemed, yet all he did was flirt with the girl, telling her how well she had walked into the Jazz Club. He didn’t acknowledge me. I wasn’t impressed, but of course, he went on to make some great films, including “Leaving Las Vegas”. The second was a crowd scene involving Sean Bean where some guy is smashing a window with a bottle. This made it into the movie and I can be seen about ten to fifteen minutes in I think, bobbing around at the back of the crowd with short hair and big bomber jacket, over-acting in fact. . Am going to try putting full stops between the paragraphs to try and introduce some spaces. Might look rubbish, but might work. . I like this Mingus album – he gets a big fat bottom end on his records, using a big band approach – really heavy. The only downside is that each of his albums seems to include one track that sounds like “Remember You’re A Womble”. Having come to Jazz backwards, via Soul, I initially found Ornette Coleman too mad for me. I have gradually been warming to him though, and Bridie and I went to see him play live on the Southbank (he has curated this year’s Meltdown Festival). He was amazing live and we feel really luck to have got to see him. . London is Michael Jackson crazy following his death a week ago. A shrine has sprung up outside the stage show on Shaftsbury Avenue – photos, flowers and sweet letters written in faltering broken English. It is touching and reminiscent of the aftermath of Princess Diana’s death. I suppose the fans of both those people are happy to sanctify them and it seems inevitable, and appropriate. His records can be heard everywhere, with “Man In The Mirror” seeming to be the front runner. I am quite happy to hear him so much, and I always thought “Man In The Mirror” was under-rated, as the lyric is stunning. Strange that my “Show You The Way To Go” which was massive at the time, and is my favourite, never gets played. “Farewell My Summer Love” doesn’t seem to get enough attention either. . We heard the news on the radio, late, in bed. It reminded me most of hearing about Elvis’s death, which I am old enough to remember. Back then I was lying in bed listening to John Peel, and odd vague reports starting to come through that Elvis was dead, until eventually they were confirmed. It was the same with Jackson – initially it was that “a man had collapsed and been resuscitated in Neverland”… then later that the man was Michael Jackson… then later that he was dead. It was truly shocking and very very sad. . I was lucky enough to see him live twice. Three times in fact, if you count the Brits where Cocker slipped onstage. I saw him on the “Bad” and “Dangerous” tours. Both shows were brilliant, but the first one particularly blew me away, especially the opening ten minutes. I have never been so excited at a show – I was lucky not to have a cardiac arrest myself at that point! I grew up watching Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly movies – there is something about watching a man dance that briliantly that is amazing. It is great to see any dancing, but there is something about watching a guy, or a group of guys that is special. Michael Jackson had that magic, something heart-stopping and the way he moved, and to see that live was as good as it gets. . Michael Bradshaw (Dunston’s very own King Of Pop) used to rip him off all the time when we were in Laverne & Shirley. He was such an inspiration. I remember the day after Elvis died, I heard Cliff Richard on the radio and Cliff was really angry – angry at Elvis and angry at the people around him for letting things get so bad and letting him end like that. I wanted Michael to win. I wanted him to do the fifty shows at the O2 and amaze the world at his brilliance. He will be missed very much. Though in a way we have been missing him for fifteen years or so… He did well to make it to fifty years old; Elvis was only, what, forty-three?


So I wasn’t hearing things when I saw 500 days,…don’t worry, its positive, but also heart-wrenchingly realistic if that makes any sense. (Julie Christie! would be my guess…you’ll understand when you see it.)

• Posted by carrick at 5:11 am on Aug 5th, 2009
Leave a comment »