Wednesday, 25 November 2009


The unforgivable deviation from the steady stream of rock'n'roll tales from the past, and indeed lack of entries of any kind can only be excused by one thing...a busy present. I am glad to report that part three of the saga which started in the summer on the 30th year anniversary of Age Of Berlin, continued through the reunion with Mark, Rich and Sandy, has now manifested itself in a completed new album by a project we have named `Pata-Particles'. It ain't in Fearnleys or Tony's Records just yet, but plans are afoot to release it to the world (on an LP !) It's all chopped together now and sounds amazing.

I picked a weekend in September at random and Mark said "that's cool, I'm playing with Damo on the Friday". What better circumstances in which to meet up again and begin a weekend's recording with Mark Spybey than a Damo Suzuki gig ? Damo gets everywhere....he says the same thing about me. I'm not in the band but turn up early anyway, and to have Damo to myself while the musicians are doing what musicians do at soundchecks is fine. There we are sitting together on the only two chairs in the place. He has a great pair of white sunglasses. I tell him he won't be needing them much longer, but he smiles back with "I am in Switzerland next week". I am amazed to learn that this show in Newcastle is his first in the city since 1972 with Can. A great night is had at a superb venue (The Star and Shadow). The backstage area is a lively throng of musicians,partners and friends gathered around a table of veggie food, and conversation is freely exchanged by people who have just met. Damo may sit there and observe most of the time but he is the reason these people are together in the same place. It really is a network in every sense, and to be valued and cherished. There's something wonderful about sitting in a tatty backstage space with 20 other souls and no television.

Out in the venue it's filled up to capacity and the Network roar through an improvised set of nearly two hours for a stunned audience, most of whom I would think have never experienced this before. Afterwards the night slowly dissipates, and I find myself heading for Warkworth Northumberland, in the pitch dark, with Mark's cousin the amiable Matt, following on his motorbike. A few whiskies and a great sleep later and we're into the late summer sun of a Saturday morning in Warkworth. We take a stroll arounfd the village to buy fresh bread, have a fantastic breakfast, Mark prepares the studio for occupation, Matt records a couple of cameos before roaring off on his bike back down South and we're off.....

24 hours later, I'm heading back to Yorkshire and Mark has a bag full of joint explorations, drum tracks I did when he took the dog out, filmic pieces recorded whilst watching Polanski's Macbeth, and all manner of other spontaneity. Mark's philosophy is `press record'. I heartily agree.

I send a bunch of half finished pieces I'd been working on in August, to which Mark adds vocals and other things , and Rich Sanderson who has been anxiously waiting in London for news from the North, sends his own contributions up to Mark who works tirelessly over the following weeks to blend the whole thing together until I get the call at short notice to come and help him finally nail it down. I find myself unexpectedly back up at the other end of the country from the RMI trip to Hampshire the weekend before, (with a week's work inbetween) in the first week of November. An overdub here, a drum track there, and much more besides and it is now nailed down.

It's good to make things a reality and carry out something we "always meant to do". It opens doors to the future. Even a 30 year gap isn't too fact it's better, because we now know what the hell we're doing .