Sunday, 19 August 2007

Off on a Tangent (Part 1 of many)

The first of an occasional series that has nothing to do with screenwriting whatsoever. As I might’ve mentioned before, I might infrequently go off on a tangent and indulge in my tastes for noisy, obscure music that no-one else has ever heard of. To prove this, go to my ‘Profile’ page and click on the word ‘Slab!’ under music (second line). Go on, do it now, you know you want to.

Bloggers with favourite music that includes Slab! – No Profiles Found

No other person in the entire blogging universe lists this band.

I don’t think you can get more obscure than that.

Try plugging Slab! into Google and see what you come up with. Apart from a Brummie metal band who have nicked the name, not a lot.

In some respects, these facts make me feel incredibly smug, inasmuch as I know about this band and the rest of the world doesn’t. However, for the most part, I feel massively aggrieved that such a brilliant and essential record has passed people by without anyone noticing.

The following review is a sort of adaptation of the one on Amazon (I wrote that one too).
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SLAB! – DESCENSION – Ink Records, 1987 (re-issue - Release Records)

Re-issued from a long deleted vinyl release, this is still one of the few records that I would unhesitatingly define as 'essential', purely because there's nothing out there either before or since that quite sounds like this.

Forget the scary looking band photo, all silly hats and mullets. This was originally released in 1987, so perhaps they can be forgiven.

Imagine Michael Gira from Swans waking up one morning with a nagging pop tune in his head, but only being able to play it with the volume turned up as loud as it will go. Or the scuzzed up, stroppy older brother of Material's Memory Serves. Or Trent Reznor slumming it without a major record deal, forced to record in the shittiest south London studios that his meagre dole money could afford. If any band melded together such a disparate range of musical styles, emerging at the other end with something that still sounds entirely modern, progressive and above all unique, then I wanna hear it.

Before this record, Slab had released three 12" singles, noted for their dedication to a particular type of Clintonesque groove, albeit somewhat scuzzy – slick, geometric basslines with bursts of jazzy horns all married to a droll vocal delivery. All very listenable, but very late eighties: a little contrived maybe – studied, over-polished perhaps. Slab! was a band with a plethora of members, so maybe a degree of democratic watering down was to be expected.

Nothing this band did before quite prepares you for the assault of Descension.

'Slab' just about sums up this record. Tunnel of Love, the opener, hits the ground screaming with a burst of white noise guitar sampled to sound like no other guitar you've ever heard in your life. If this is a statement of intent, it works. From this point on, there is no let up.

This is like the soundtrack to the scariest movie you've never seen. Undriven Snow melds a discordant two note guitar riff with a surprisingly melodic vocal, the bass bucking and warping, threatening to take the whole song down some dark alley and give it a damn good kicking.

Think of Descension as an industrial jazz record with all the stops pulled out.

This is dark stuff – drone laden, dubby, loud as hell, the classic definition of lo-fi. Put this band in a 48 track digital studio and they wouldn't make any sense. Slab! need that dirty, scuzzed out sound, that rough around the edges feel that you can only apparently find in cheap, decrepit south London studios.

Slab! rip into every song as if their recording time is on a meter. Everything sounds urgent, impassioned. Dolores is a huge stand out track, at once both paranoid and immense, the hushed verse giving way to monstrous beats, hesitant horns punctuating a fierce bass line.

Improvisation is high on the agenda on tracks such as Dr Bombay and Moosleand, where Slab slip effortlessly slip into a relaxed, scuzzy loungecore, improvising effortlessly around skittery piano notes and erratic beats – the sound of a band confident enough to know that they can get away with this and still make it compelling. Even the way in which the tracks have been recorded suggest an urgency. There is a real desperation to get this stuff down onto tape before the moment is lost – ticks and buzzes, feedback, strange industrial clankings, buzzy amps – all have their place here. Even the primitive samples are ragged, punched in when required, speed of the essence.

And all this is before you enter the paranoid, cinematic world that Paul Jarvis’ lyrics conjure up. The album’s openers – Tunnel of Love and Undriven Snow - read like narratives from serene but ultimately disturbing short films. Dolores is an unsettling dream of environmental collapse – “On the banks of a river, in a sweltering town, She can sense there’s great sickness in the water supply.” Vigilante justice groups roam the streets in Gutter Busting, kicking down doors and dealing drugs with impunity. If this sounds exhausting, it is, but this is exhilarating stuff. Music played by a band straining at the end of its tether, music teetering on the edge of collapse.

Two bonus tracks are included from the People Pie 12", but they already show a band retreating, as if the excesses of Descension were merely a freak aberration. As good as the reworked People Pie is, it can't disguise a move into a more commercial sound – backing singers, a guitar solo, a lot less of the ‘knackered studio aesthetic’ that their previous sound was rooted in – details that Descension does not concern itself with at all.

And why should it? Twenty years on, this sounds as good now as it did then.
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In short, if you want to know where Trent Reznor gets the majority of his ideas from, check out this album.

Slab! released a further album entitled Sanity Allergy a year later, also on Ink Records. To date, this has not been released on CD – my vinyl copy is still playable, but only just.

Just for fun, look what happened to their bass player, Bill Davies.

On a screenwriting related note, the first script I ever wrote was called Descension. I sent it to Planet 24, who asked me, "Is Descension actually a word?" Well, no – technically it isn’t, but it’s a damn great record. It’s a crying shame nobody’s even heard of it.

Later in the week I'll be discussing the difference between a bitch slap (as administered by Gordy Hoffman in the previous post) and a pimp slap (as administered by a well known UK script editor), so stay tuned!

252 comments:

1 – 200 of 252   Newer›   Newest»
Sweet Billy said...

I love Slab! So much so, I'm writing a piece about them (hopefully) for the Sunday Times, as a 'song that changed my life.' (Dolores, btw). Think I'm going to have to start a Myspace tribute page too... I'm going to make those boys stars !! Nearly 20 years too late, but what the hey. Glad to find you, anyway. Will link you to the blog at some point, if that's OK. Best, Tim.

Chip Smith said...

Hi Tim - no problem, feel free to link here any time. Let me know if and when your piece appears in the Times.

Slab! are one of my favourite bands ever, and Descension still stands up brilliantly today. But even trying to find someone who's heard of them is an effort in itself, so it's great to have you stop by!

Andrew Brown said...

Just listening to my copy of Sanity Allergy for the first time in a long time. Sounds very contemporary doesn't it!

Chip Smith said...

The first side of Sanity Allergy is some of the best music ever recorded anywhere - but then they go and spoil it with Cancer Beach! I've been looking for a decent second copy for years, as mine is now thoroughly clapped out (when you hold the vinyl up to the light, you can virtually see straight through it!).

sweet billy said...

Hopefully getting one of those vinyl to mp3 record playing gizmos, so I'll do copies of that and 'Music from the Iron Lung' for everyone at some point. I'll bring the CD-Rs if someone else brings the cakes - how's that ? The Myspace page is up btw... Here:

http://www.myspace.com/ukslab

Cancer Beach was pretty awful. Mind you, Smoke Rings veers dangerously close to jazz funk with all that slap bass, and I still quite like that.

Are we a society yet ?

Tim

Chip Smith said...

This is about the only excuse I can find to go onto Myspace! I see you have some very illustrious visitors already, although I have to say that Jim Thirlwell does look rather unwell. I tracked down Mars On Ice a few months ago on Ebay after years of trying to find a decent copy. Slab! are about the only band that I bother doing this with, which has to say something. They also did a couple of sessions for John Peel that I sued to have but lost years ago - sufficce to say, I haven't been able to track them down (maybe JG has them?!)

ARTPICS said...

We're working on getting pictures for Billy's piece for The Sunday Times.

Does anyone have any pix of them?
Or know where we can get some?

None of the usual sources have come up with anything.

Kevin

ARTS PICTURE EDITOR
SUNDAY TIMES NEWSPAPER

artpics@sunday-times.co.uk

http://www.myspace.com/artpics

gusset said...

I still play 'music from the iron lung' all the time. It's never dated.
No-one I know has heard of them.
I bet radiohead have though. 'national anthem' from Kid A is definitely a tribute to Slab.

Chip Smith said...

I agree with Tim here - Cancer Beach was pretty awful, and some of the earlier singles have dated a little bit (but not much). However, Descension still sounds immense, as if it was recorded last week, and the first side of Sanity Allergy is incredible.

I'd lobby for them to reform if I knew where to find them! Apparently some of them went onto form God with Justin Broderick (I think), and one of the drummers went to play with Laika (who are terrible). But as for Stephen Dray, Paul Jarvis and Dave Morris, I have no idea...

clemzzz said...

Replace "slab" with "Chrome" and i'd have written something similar "industrial" sounds even better with shit equipment and no idea what you're doing..

Anonymous said...

Replace "slab" with "Chrome" and i'd have written something similar "industrial" sounds even better with shit equipment and no idea what you're doing..

Chip Smith said...

Chrome, eh? Intriguing - I'll check them out - any idea where I can find out out more info?

Anonymous said...

Hello I'm Stephen Dray... I think I might be able to help you lot in your quest for what happened to Slab!and our general history....
Love your review of descension...and yeah Cancer Beach was an obscenity...

given my email to artpics

Chip Smith said...

Hi Stephen, thanks for dropping by (I feel a bit guilty about that Cancer Beach comment now! It's not a bad song by any stretch, it just seems a bit out of place on Sanity Allergy, that's all!).

I've just dropped you a line via email, so I hope we can get more Slab stuff up here soon...

Anonymous said...

Hi , Paul Jarvis here - great to see all this I must say ! The review of 'Descension' is spot on . While John Coltrane's 'Ascension' was him reaching up to heaven , we were , er , looking a bit more downwards ... to Hell !

We used to do Hendrix's 'Spanish Casle Magic' in rehearsal for fun , so 'Cancer Beach' was our tongue-in-cheek homage to him . Perhaps not our finest moment I would agree ... Jimi was unavailable for comment !

Do you know , Slab! never really split up - we just stopped making records , and poverty got us in the end . Plus , all the constant line-up changes over the years just became exhausting . Stephen and I did some demos for a 3rd album but our record company was going up the tubes at the time , so we never got to record them properly .

We did have one final hurrah touring in 1989 / 1990 with Young Gods , and ironically these were amongst some of our best shows ever . We seemed to do particularly well in Sweden for some reason - we even played a big festival there , Hultsfred .

Mr Dray and I then had a project called Hypnochrist - lots of rough 4-track demos again but no record deal - so no records !

Stephen then went on to form Killer Moses ( you can find them on Myspace ) who released a few e.p.s , while I did a couple of albums with Cathal Coughlan ( Microdisney / Fatima Mansions ) and Rob Allum ( Slab!'s last drummer ) as Bubonique , on Kitchenware Records . More sonic terrorism , but bordering on the unlistenable / upsetting / just plain stupid ! They were meant as a huge V-sign to the record industry / music press ... and I think we succeeded !

Stephen and I are still in touch , and planning a proper website with press , photos etc ; as for Dave Morris , last known out Crystal Palace way as a computer studies teacher .

Anyone want to drop me a line some time , my email address is

pantysmile@aol.com

( don't ask - it's an old Chris Morris joke from 'The Day Today' ! )

All the best , Paul

Chip Smith said...

Wow - thanks for the potted history, Paul - I've already dropped you a line so hopefully we can flesh out some of this for a future Q&A at some point.

(I can feel myself turning into a complete fanboy here - sad, isn't it!)

Anonymous said...

Any Way youcould upload a copy of descension , I love this band but only have it in tapes and the copy is gettting bad.

Filipp from France

Chip Smith said...

Hi Filipp - even better, Descension is available from Amazon on CD - check this link:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Descension-Slab/dp/B00000GWZF/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1205678853&sr=8-1

The cheapest copy there is £1.19! Bargain of the century as far as I'm concerned...

Stephen Dray said...

Paul forgot to mention that I was also involved with Lovely Jon and Gareth from Cherrystones in the audio visual onslaught that is known as Jigoku and performed as part of them at the ICA on 2 occaisions with Alessandro Alesandrone (from the Leone spaghetti westerns scored by Morricone)....
see our link on the myspace/ukslab page

Stephen Dray

Stephen Dray said...

be aware that the photo on the Relapse version of Descension is not the band who recorded it....
and the mullets belonged to the Americans of Sanity Allergy...

Chip Smith said...

Yes, I sort of realised that! I remember when Descension was out at the time, there was a review of it in Sounds complete with band photo - no mullets present there! Also on the Relapse re-release, it states 'Slab circa 1988', which always struck me as being a bit weird (I mean, why print a photo of a different band in the CD booklet to the one that recorded it?)

I sense that I have irked you with my mullet comment! To be honest, I didn't expect anyone from Slab! would ever read this, so I guess I ought to be a little more polite in future!

Dave said...

Wow! I've been looking for info on SLAB! since 2000. I stumbled upon the band by accident, and what a lucky accident for me! I heard a 30sec clip of "gutter busting" . I couldn't belive what I was hearing. On the page it said the album came out in 99, so I thought "oh my god" a new ground breaking band has emmerged! I even thought that maybe there was a slight nirvana influence as gutter busting shares a similar rhythm to negative creep. Boy did my jaw ever drop when I found out they released descension in 87. When I actually got DESCENSION in my hands and put it in my cd player... I was not expecting to hear one mind blowing song after another all the way through, but the whole thing was absolutely mind blowing! I'm glad I'm not the only fan! It's good to finally find some people on this planet who feel as strongly as I do in regards to just how huge this band really is, whether people know of them or not!

Dave said...

i have to get this off my chest... so for one year descension is playing over, and over an over... in my car and in my home stereo, computer etc. so one day i find this review site in germany with reviews of iron lung, sanity allergy, ship of fools, and painting the fourth bridge. i emailed him (the owner) and he sent them all to me,what luck! so when they arrive, i pop in painting the fourth bridge first, and the song starts playing... the singing starts, and i'm thinking, " what the hell is this? it can't be them?!" and then i thought " holy shit!!" it is. totally different sound, but still so good! my body was tingling and i actually had tears rolling down my cheek! and by the way, cancer beach... i took it as slab being humorous, and although not my fav slab tune, i still enjoy it... i love the way dray's vox sounds and the lyrics are great! p.s. the original bass player is a fucking phenom! i was dissapointed that he didn't play on sanity allergy, he's brilliant! but i must say, that mullet sporting drummer on sanity allergy kicks ass! who's who in that circa 88 picture anyway? two guy's in the back are the american drummers, guy in middle is dray? and the 2 on each side of him? jarvis and morris , but who's who?

Chip Smith said...

There's no doubt about it, Bill Davies was an amazing bass player (I sense a big Bill Laswell influence in the earlier singles). By the time Descension rolled around, it seemed to me that Bill had simply stamped on his fuzz pedal and turned the amp up as loud as it would go, which went part of the way to informing their 'new' sound I guess. Speaking as a bass player as well, the early bass lines are great fun to play, but just try playing anything form Descension - you can't! That record is all about texture and volume as far as I'm concerned - and it hasn't dated one jot.

As for the photo on the Descension re-release, I think the guy on the right is Stephen Dray and I'd hazard a guess that the guy in the middle is Paul Jarvis (with the two mullet sporting Yanks in the bakground). I'll tell you what, Sanity Allergy is a pretty damn fine record as well, but my copy is now starting show signs of age and finding a second copy is proving more than difficult!

Dave said...

oddly enough, being a musician myself, and analyzing descension to death, i figuered out how to play the underlying, fuzzed out basslines on some of the tracks. for delores tune down(actually for all) to dropped d. f-d-e-d-d(ovtave higher)-d. and gutter busting , b# hammer on c-b#hammer c-c b#(octave lower). i think flirt's c-d, and then f-d#-d-c-b. loose connection starts with open d-d then b# hamme on c-c. for the funky part moves to c hammer d then d(octave lower). i think these are accurate, at least thats what i'm hearing. so very basic bass lines, but they sound catchy without the distortion. what i don't get is, he didn't get many song writting credits, so did someone else write these basslines or did he just add them after the songs were written(i don't see how they could be written without the basslines).

Dave said...

the rest of delores is ,d-d(opend)-c hammer on d-f(g). then g hammer g#-d hammer d# then open d. if that makes any sense lol.

as far as you getting a copy of sanity allergy... i'm assuming you can't buy it, so if the boy's from slab wouldn't mind, maybe me or someone else could make a duplicate for you. i live in canada, so i could ship one to you if need be( or email mp3's?). mine came from germany, the guy made me a copy from vinyl, and mailed it.
as far as i know there's a song called "abbasloth" , and probably a few more that i haven't had the pleasure of hearing. if anyone knows how i can get this track or any others please let me know.

Dave said...

opps, i transcribbed gutter busting wrong it's actually
- a#-hammer on c-a#-a#hammer on c-c -c(octave down).

second part of flirt- e-f#-g-a-a#.

loose connection- d-d-a#c-a#-c. next part -c hammer on d-d(open) with some funky left and right hang slapping. yeah i'm not so good at transcribing lol.

Chip Smith said...

Abbasloth is on the Smoke Rings 12" - I have everything pre-Descension, so if you want to drop me a line (email address on my profile page, crustypup@aol.com), I'm sure we can sort something out!

Stephen Dray said...

ok....
upto Descension we have Bill Davies writing bass parts and Stephen Dray giving em a structure and arrangement .... all the material from Mars oN Ice onwards is done like this
yep we like Material and Bootsy and we liked fuzz pedals but we liked Ornette too... but that is way too simple as we listened to eveything we could devour...but we werent copyists either....

Descension sees a whole sea change... Dave Morris gtr player took over writing on bass with Stephen Dray doing arranging of parts structures etc...

everything Slab did was written on bass....

Descension was written using bass gtr detuned from a low C upwards... I'm not sure about the transpositions dave talks about... some of the bass lines are pretty complex... some basic...i'd have to listen again

descension was written very quickly by Dray and Morris with Paul Jarvis' lyrics. the only track that doesnt really start from bass is Undriven Snow which Paul wrote on gtr sitting in my rather grotty bedsit with myself and Dave Morris. Pauls gtr was tuned to C in every string....

the whole album was largely written at dave's flat using a 4trk, bass gtr, sampler and occaisional gtrs....we knew pretty much what we wanted and went into a studio and did it in entirety in 10 days....

it was the beginning of the end for the first line up.... Bill quite rightly i guess wasnt entirely happy with the change in direction, his reduced role or being told what to play.....friendships fall on such things and I cant say I'm pleased at what happened.....to lose a good friend is not a good thing and i'm sorry to this day.

hope that clears up some of this.

Chris i'll forward you some emails i sent to tim.... make it all a bit clearer still

And if anyone can find Dave Morris let me know...

Dave said...

haha wow, thanks Stephen! that does clear up alot of questions. there are of course many more... a proper interview with you guy's would be great. how can we do this?

also...is there any footage of you guy's playing live? if so i would love to see it! i mean, the pre- descension stuff would be great to see in it's self... but how does a crowd react to the performance of descension!? and what about new projects? do you have any interest singing Paul's lyrics anymore? surely there's more music waiting in that deep dark ominous space that descension manifested in!

any way, thanks Stephen, you answering these questions for us here means a great deal!

Stephen Dray said...

Slab live????
well if anyones got any i'd like to know.... Paul and I spent a long time in Manchester working with Ikon video...(they filmed at the Hacienda and released loads of vids....Joy division.etc google Malcolm Whitehead ).... they made People Pie for us....there was also a fair bit of live footage that they shot at early gigs... but where it is i dont know.

live recordings arent exactly a plenty either...we've got a few but the good ones seem to have vanished off the face of the earth...if anyone has tapes of our tour with the Young Gods or our last tour of Sweden... then i'd love to have a copy.... we were blindingly good at this point... shame we split up!!!!... or as Paul says in an earlier thread sort of went on hold.....

we got some rehearsal tapes of the last line up and plenty of demos of material that Paul and I wrote in the last days of Slab.....but not a lot of live stuff... most of the live stuff is off the desk just post descension...but it sounds so dry its pretty nasty....

interviews...we'll work on it....somehow....
meanwhile keep firing questions and i'm sure we'd be only too pleased to answer for the time being....

but once again many thanks for all your interest....

Stephen Dray said...

sweet billy has put a picture of the band that recorded Descension on his myspace.com/ukslab site...

left to right

stephen dray voice
robin risso drums
dave morris gtr
paul jarvis gtr
bill davies bass

and no bleedin mullets....

Chip Smith said...

I'm really glad that we seem to be gathering ahead of steam with all this - with Tim E's assistance, I'm sure we'll be able to get a proper 'interview' arranged for some future point.

Stephen, just one more question for the moment, if that's OK (thanks ever so much for finding the time for all your comments as well!): given the fact that Ink Records wanted a more commercial sound from the band (which led to Smoke Rings), how did they react when Descension dropped?

Stephen Dray said...

poor old dave kitson!!!! his jaw hit the floor.... but he said he liked it....whether that was true i dont know... he certainly didnt know what was coming as we kept it very close to our chests....mind you he'd paid for it and i dont think he was gonna ditch it as he would have lost all his money....
anyway he played some mixes to people and one of them described it as the best metal album ever... which in a bizarre way i suppose it was.....at least no bleedin gtr solos!!!! or screechy vocals....and most definitely no spandex

mind you back in the mists of time we used to rehearse next to Saxon or Samson or someone like that and they described us as Led Zeppelin with brass....i must have been on the helium that day.....

ahhh good old Descension....teach him right for making us do Smoke Rings.... heh heh heh

Anonymous said...

Message for Dave

i like Ninth Hollow... checked my space....

regards

Stephen

Dave said...

glad you liked it ,thanks! i'm open for collaborations haha.

lol, led zepplin! thats just ridiculous. I played delores for a girl couple a years ago,and asked her what she thought of it . she said..." sounds like the kind of music a serial killer would listen to!". i searched for similar bands back in 2000/01 and the only band i found that was kinda similar was early swans. i say it's similar because like descension it's heavy, dark, lound,intense , yet it's not metal(as far as i'm concerned at least). actually, micheal gira had amazing mic placement technique...

http://youtube.com/watch?v=YSRjYYUE-_c)

...if you start watching at around 5minute mark you'll see what i mean!

Stephen, to bug you with another question(sorry if we're driving you nuts). did you guy's have to work day jobs during the life span of slab? and are you guy's getting a fair cut for the sales of the re-issue of descension on relapse records?( i actually bought about 4copies since 2000)

Dave said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andrew Brown said...

If you're looking for similar bands from back in the day, Dave, then maybe Cop Shoot Cop would be up your street.

Early 90's New York band, two bass players, no guitarists.

You can download a few MP3s to see if I'm in the right sort of area.

Dave said...

swans video link(intense and funny)

http://youtube.com/watch?v=YSRjYYUE-_c

oh, and if there's emails going around with juicy slab info please throw me in the loop -

ninthhollow@gmail.com

Stephen Dray said...

we never really made much money from Slab... as regards Relapse I havent seen any money....but then I havent chased their accounts either....
Jobs... no we didnt work...but we were pretty damn poor!!!!... money/poverty is what got me and Paul in the end.... although i slugged it out for a good 7 or 8 years after doing various other things musically....
but money or lack of it killed us... we just couldnt go on plus our label dissolved and nobody had any idea at the time about where we were coming from musically...
people liked us and a year after we'd called it a day were going oh you guys should have kept going you would have been huge... but it was too late by then... years of poverty and the kind of intensity that surrounded being in a band like Slab had taken its toll

the Swans... well I liked their early stuff Cop etc... went to see em around the time of Holy Money and they were awesome live... I liked the relentlessness of it all...

collaborations... well you never know....

Dave said...

thanks for the suggestion Andrew! i checked them out...there are some interesting aspects, but as a whole didn't do much for me.

Sounds like you guy's gave it your all Stephen! and you left behind some damn good music! I'm glad relapse(and who ever else was involved)decided to re-issue descension, but it's too bad that you guy's aren't seeing some royalties. I've been looking into record labels and such for my own band, but so far all the info I'm hearing about them is scarring me off! I don't know if doing it all without the record company will work either. Michael Gira has a label(I guess he got burned by a major label back in the day).

I do like the earlier swans as well, and when i saw that coward live performance on youtube it sent shivers down my spine... although i couldn't help but laugh when he stuffed the mic in his mouth. then again i may have been laughing at how frightened and appalled my girl friend was(i forced her to watch it against her will). but yeah, relentless is a good term for it, some of the tracks get too repititous for me at times though.

When you say -

"the kind of intensity that surrounded being in a band like Slab"

are you referring at all to the whole "sex, drugs, rock and roll" thing?

Stephen Dray said...

no... just the sheer force of will, emotional energy and level of creativity needed to sustain driving a band like that....especially when half the time even your band members dont really understand where you are coming from or going... hence the line up changes over the years... it was pretty draining and in the end it was just too easy to walk away and not have a band anymore...
technology meant you didnt need one......probably wasnt the right decision looking back on it but at thetime seemed like the only answer if i was to stay sane.... literally... i was fraying at the egdes at times as i dare say a few band members would tell you!!!!

bit of advice....always do what you believe in musically and dont let anyone else tell you what to do... you'll regret it in the end.... compromise does not lead to happiness.....

Chip Smith said...

I can fully appreiciate where Steve is coming from with regards to the emotional energy needed to sustain a band like Slab! To be honest, even though I love Sanity Allergy, it's a completely different animal from Descension, and sounds almost like a breath of fresh air in comparison (and probably a natural and much needed break after the full-on intensity of the first record)!

I like early Swans and even their Burning World country-esque phase (I saw them in Brighton years ago touring that one). They were certainly relentless, but perhaps there's only so far you can take that and remain in a sound state of mind!

Dave said...

speaking of music/technology, what are you up to these days music wise Stephen? do you still sing and or create music, or come up with ideas for songs? i think the possibilities are pretty endless these days for good artists who aren't willing to compromise their art! and as far as -"collaborations... well you never know...." just say the word and i'll throw sounds your way.

Dave said...

did any one happen to check the link Chip provided above regarding what happened to Bill Davies? if so, did you notice this -

http://www.acoustics.salford.ac.uk/profiles/?content=music

scroll down to find his name, and see what he says about his experience with slab! there's a link to a page there as well that has a pic(supposedly of slab) but i can't tell if it's actually the band or not.

Dave said...

hmm... and on the peel sessions slab page-

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio1/johnpeel/sessions/1980s/1986/Aug12slab/


i noticed these tracks...

Mining Town In Lotus land,
Blood Flood, Dust ,Killer For A Country, and
Bride Of Sloth

Dave said...

haha holy shit that pic is slab!

http://www.last.fm/music/Slab%21/+images/4977320



davies on the far left, then dray, jarvis... and risso perhaps? don't know who the two in the white shirts are. i recognize dray and davies from this pic because the music from the iron lung album cover. the half faces stuck together on the bottom half of cover. ok Stephen... so how old were you guy's here haha.

Stephen Dray said...

now you know why we got rid of the brass section!.....

hugh rawson then neil woodger...

hugh is an ok guy... and does play on son of sloth on the third peel session even though we'd lost him around descension.......


neil liked simply red...and christina and the waves....he couldnt quite understand why he didnt fit....HOLY GOD!!!!!....

you guys may not realise that son of sloth or bride of sloth i never remember the names! is on a compilation called Jazz Satellites - Electrification... it nestles between miles davies and ornette ...cd compiled by Kevin Martin and released on Virgin


i would guess hugh and neil are about 18 its before we were signed and probably early 1986 a few months before Mars On Ice...

the funny thing about this picture is that you dont quite get the perspective... neil was behind us so we couldnt see that he'd posed himself like some bleedin greek statue....only when the photo came out did we know!!!!

i searched for my gun but unfortunately couldnt find it!!!!

mind you bill's hair was a masterpiece....straight outta eraserhead...

i beleive hugh has put that photo up there.... check the name of the person who added it.....

Dave said...

"bleedin greek statue"-HAHAHA!!

yeah, neil and hugh do not fit in at all! but if you were on stage playing songs like painting the fourth bridge, oedipus t rex, mars on ice etc... looking the way you do in that pic, i think you would have just impressed/confused the hell out of people because you just wouldn't expect that kind of sound to come from a group that looked more or less like they would be playing 3 chord punk(no offence). i don't think image would matter at all man, i think the sound makes the image in the end. when i got descension in my hands i ripped the plastic off and opened it up to look for a pic... i was invisioning a group of gloomy, gothic, long haired marilyn mansion looking guy's , so i was totally surprised by that circa88 photo. i thought you guy's looked fucking cool!!(yes even though the one guy in the back looked like billy ray cyrus)

Stephen Dray said...

3 chord punk is alright by me!

Bill Davies said...

Hi All,

Am v pleased to read the nice things you fine people have been saying about Slab! and my bass playing. Writing music from the bass part first always made sense to me...

Steve's account of how I went from being central to peripheral to leaving is pretty fair. I did dearly love Swans et al, but I think the music I wanted to make most was closer to Ornette or Ronald Shannon Jackson. So, yeah, I left to do the only other interesting thing I could think of, a PhD in acoustics. Maybe Slab! spoiled me for being in another band.

Best,

Bill Davies

Anonymous said...

William!!!
we should play em the original Bootsy
from Tim Ellis' cellar!!!!

warmest regards

the vile droner

Dave said...

hello Bill!

so we've established that the basslines on descension were written by morris, however they sound like they are being played by davies(on the descesion recording). is this correct? or maybe certain parts were played by morris and others davies?

i have to ask you guy's about the drums on descension. it's obvious that Robin Risso is playing the hi hats, but what about the kick and snare. sounds like drum machine to me... but i suppose his kit could have been triggered. i know too that you had a studio drummer doing some flashy fill/solo stuff on mooseland,dr.bombay and loose connection(wich was a great idea, sounds really cool). i'd also like to mention that i love the way the hi hats are played on descension( must be risso's trade mark-the two hand hi hat thing).

dray's vocal... first off this is the best sounding voice i've heard. but the real treat of dray's singing is that he changes it up from song to song like no other vocalist i've heard. i mean some vocalists out there may as well be singing the same melody with the same pitch and tone for every song cause thats basically the way it sounds, but the vocals of slab were certainly not like that! descension alone has several of dray's different styles of voice, but shit, the first time i heard painting the forth bridge i couldn't even tell it was him. Stephen , you're like five singers rolled up into one! did you have any specific influences vocally Steve?

stephen dray said...

come on bill... get in here...
bill does play bass on descension.. he plays bass on everything upto the single version of people pie...
he's too modest to admit it but he was phenonmenal... and he was very young werent you bill!!!!!...
i have memories of the first line up of slab turning up for gigs and doing soundchecks and other bands were just awestruck by bill's playing...plus he had a few pedals which he'd built himself...bill's secret weapons...which account for the sound on the opening of Mars on Ice and on Parallax Avenue....
people couldnt believe it when he soundchecked....
i remember jazz coleman and raven from killing joke standing and watching him....it was at the Clarendon in hammersmith, bill, i'm not sure if you were aware of em!!!

we got our first tour with a certain ratio largely cos they were astonished by his playing....

you listen to all the early stuff and the peel sessions and you'll know just how good he was....

anyway sorry if i've embarrassed you bill... you can let em into some trade secrets!!! just how did you get those harmonic pulls on parallax ave????

drums - were all played, no machines apart from obvious backgorund loops on dolores and loose connection.... robin went in with a normal kit and we nearly gave the engineers barry clempson and tony harris cardiac arrests when we told em we wanted to trigger samples from the kick and snare....inexperience on our part...
having engineered for about the last 15 yrs i know what a nightmare it must have been for em having to limit, gate and trigger without any other sounds triggering them off... but we did it...

the free drumming was from a friend of ours who had been in a band with bill myself and dave morris called chris baker...

robin by his own admission was not the worlds greatest drummer and we were as bill said already heavily influenced by free playing from people such as ronald shannon jackson, ornette, etc...and Ascension by John Coltrane... hence the name Descension...
one of our biggest influences at the time was Last Exit comprising shannon jackson, bill laswell and sonny sharrock.... they were astounding....
so the idea was to have really heavy grooves combined with free playing, atmospherics etc...

maybe bill can relate the story of how we pissed off everything but the girl with our bass drum...disturbed their afternoon tea....

vocals...well i like cliff richard....and the spice girls...and....cher's quite good too... they were all big influences....

ok william over to you...

Bill said...

Mmmm, yeah, Cher, excellent. Unfulfilled potential though, clearly. If only she'd worked with James Blood Ulmer or Albert Ayler. Then there'd have been no need for Slab!

Parallax Ave has a nice flattened fifth harmonic in it, which you need quite a hard overdriven distortion to bring out (or at least, I did), with an octave pedal to fatten it up. As far as I can remember, it's D (two octaves above the open string) and G# above that. Actually, I learnt from Mark King's set up that it works best with thin bright strings. Don't think King ever went through a fuzz box, though. Shame, really. Jaco wasn't so fastidious.

Who spotted the Laswell influence? That's really pleasing. He really was/is a fabulous bass player. I used to wish he'd give up producing and just play.

These days I spend more time listening to English choral music than any of the above, though.

Chip Smith said...

I've always regarded Descension as the scuzzed up, older brother of Material's Memory Serves - Laswell is superb on that album, but I think Bill Davies' playing on Descension is certainly comparable. To be honest, I think you had a fair few virtuosos in Slab! - listening to Sanity Allergy again recently, the guitar playing is outstanding (but not so much bass - shame, that!). I could listen to Bill's playing on the earlier singles all day and not get bored with it...

Dave said...

so what's the story on pissing off everything but the girl?

i had no idea that sound on mars on ice and parallax ave was bass... very cool!

we'll i do like risso's style, but i must say, you guy's were tight as hell on people pie with scott kiehl. actually it's too bad you guy's didn't get to release more songs with that line up, i think you really had your sound and style pinned at that point! i did really like lou.. mullet guy's drumming( or was that kiehl with the mullet?) on sanity allergy, but i have to agree with chip, the bass wasn't anything special. i mean the bass wasn't bad, but fuck, how do you fill the void left by bill davies! haha probably not an easy thing to do.

Bill said...

I did really get a lot out of playing with Scott. I think he was the only person to really make me work at technique. When he first came over from Chicago, he stayed at my flat and we used to spend about half of every day just playing all sorts of stuff. The Meters, James Brown, Stravinsky (Rite of Spring - the drum and bass version!) We used to play a game in rehearsal of calling out a stupid time signature to each other and Scott could always play it - you want to hear what 13/8 sounds like? OK ... How about 19/16? ...

Know what? All this has made me take out my bass for the first time in years and start messing around. Don't think I'd have the time to get up to standard for public consumption, but I wasn't as bad as I'd thought.

Stephen Dray said...

Cher and Blood Ulmer oh yes....

get that bass out bill!

stephen dray said...

the third Peel session has bill on bass and scott on drums

stephen dray said...

Peel sessions....
James Plotkin who plays with SunnO))) amongst others may be releasing them..

Dave said...

james plotkin... thought that name looked familiar. i actually picked up flux protoplasmic from relapse in 2004 or so, some really cool tracks on it. i see now they have protoplasmic and descension available on one disc. so he's releasing some slab songs from the peel sessions? whats the connection with him and slab? is that how descension got re-issued on relapse in the first place?

bill, good to hear! you guy's should make some songs!

stephen dray said...

dont really remember how descension got re-released... have to wait for paul to log in again...i think somehow they got hold of him... we own the recordings...
james plotkin tracked bill down off the net... bill can explain..
no connection that i know of apart from him being a fan....

us do music again.... its possible you never know...i'd love to...

might have to be our kids bill!!!

Dave said...

You have a few guaranteed sales if you do!

So if you don't mind me asking, how did slab begin anyway? and whats the story behind the name?

Bill said...

Well, I remember answering an ad for a bass player in the NME when I was about 17, in 1982. That turned out to be for a pre-cursor to Slab based in Leamington with Steve, Dave Morris and Chris Baker on drums. (Is that right, Steve?) Fairly soon, Steve and I found we worked well together building songs from basslines. There was certainly a period where it was just Steve and me. The guts of Mars on Ice and Parallax Avenue date from then. Then Paul joined, supplying first lyrics and then that unique non-guitar. Robin Risso and I went to school together, so did I bring him in? Can't remember. There were a _lot_ of line-up changes. I seem to remember Dave M coming and going a few times. It got quite hectic (for me at least) when I went to Uni in 84. We were doing more gigs in London, then we got the Peel session (Paul doorstepped him), Peel reviewed a gig for The Observer, that prompted Dave Kitson to sign us, and you know most of the rest.

I'm boring myself now, so I'm not going to try and fill in all the gaps. Besides, I'm sure Steve will remember more than me.

Dave said...

cool, thanks Bill. yeah maintaing a band can be a real challenge. you just get everything working out and then one of the pieces fall out of place again, and so on. actually what Steve mentioned earlier about technology and not needing a band is much more true today. don't really need studios either. i can do what i need to do with my mac/programs... having band mates is just icing on the cake/luxury, but not a necessity. hell, even record labels are becomming unnecessary(to a point).

Bill said...

I can see the advantages that music technology gives the composer with megalomaniac tendencies (joke) but, for me, I do my best creative work (music or research) when I'm improvising with other people. In the same room, at the same time. Inconvenient in a world where most people want to do everything by e-mail.

On another note, I finally handed over my cassette of the first two Peel sessions to my technician at work today. So, Mr Plotkin may get some wav files sometime soon.

Dave said...

lol. yeah, although i find that i'm equally creative by my self, or jamming in real time with real people, trying to collaborate via email is not ideal by any means. things that normally would take minutes to work out end up taking way longer, and it's all very tedious. i suppose doing it via web came would be a little better( on skype or msn), but not much.

these peel sessions... it's you guy's playing live right? how's plotkin releasing them? is he printing cd's and selling them through relapse?

stephen dray said...

going back a few posts bill was talking about how we formed.
bill's origins of the band are right. i think chris baker left to go to berkely colege of music and while there met scott kiehl...
dave morris was always coming and going...
bill and i started slab together. we wrote quite a few tracks the first was Boiler Dog an instrumental... following on from that came Parallax Ave and Dust which we recorded on 4 track in cellar in a small studio with a guy called Tim Ellis.
Those demo versions are vastly different and much more atmospheric than the release of parallax ave and the peel version of dust...which is quite frankly awful!!!

I think after that we had a gig arranged so I called in Paul Jarvis on the basis that he couldnt play and would therefore make loads of noise.At this point it was me, bill, paul and backing tapes of drums...

Robin was a friend of Bill's and he helped us record a demo of Mars On Ice....which againwas pretty fine.
There is also a version with Dickon from Tindersticks playing violin on it somewhere...

I think during the period that Bill and I worked on our own we probably had formed the origins of parallax ave, dust, boiler dog, mars on ice, oedipus t rex.... there were a few others which never saw the light of day...

the remaining early releases were all from that period of bill and i driving the band: painting the forth bridge, the animals are all eating people pie,white city and a very early version of dolores...

we got a demo together and it was me and hugh who doorstepped peel...gave him a bottle of wine too... his first words to us were "its a bit early for mugging isnt it lads?"....

how did we get the name....
we were big Wham fans......
bill was george and i most definitely was andrew......

technology>>>> well its useful but it doesnt replace working with other people... although we could've done with it sometimes in later version of slab... trying to actually explain to some band members exactly here we were going was always a bit of a headache!!!!

Bill and I always seemed to work very intuitively at the time so it wasnt an issue then..... but i cerainly agree with bill that working with someone else is better

I think technology is an amazingly creative tool but its who you work with and how you use it....

Plotkin>>> dont know how he plans to release it....guess he wants to get his cash back in some form though

Dave said...

WHAM!- haha, there is some weird correlation there! four letter word with exclemation point, funky bass, horns, female back up singers.lol, did you guy's move around on stage like wham? or maybe your goal was to make music that was the polar opposite!

door stepping peel... that's awesome! bringing the wine was a great idea! that led to your recodord deal didn't it?

i'm surprised to hear paul couldn't play guitar! so paul was the ultimate noise maker then. he would have made a great lead guitarist for nirvana!

i'd love to hear some of these tracks you mentioned- boiler dog, dust, white city, the other version of parallax ave. i'm guessing they won't be made available. i'm anxious to hear the peel tracks too though.

thanks for the info guy's!

stephen dray said...

we were all deeply influenced by the stunning stage presence that is/was andrew ridgeley.... we spent hours doing the choreography....

Paul and gtr>>>> well he couldnt "play" in the conventional sense... but then what is playing...

cecil taylor (pianist) once said it took him years to unlearn his instrument....

we soughta cut that short heh heh..

i had seen einsturzende's first gig in england and was impressed by blixa bargelds approach to gtr... he didnt "play" it....i liked that and wanted to incorporate that kind of primal sound into us live...

from noise to C tuned gtr>>> at some point paul decided to tune every string to C... different octaves.... we liked the drone element of the velvet underground... and it lent itself very well to what we did... it only really came into its own in the last verson of slab which didnt really record as a band...paul was the only guitarist.. and we were using samples a lot live... this is around the time when we toured with the young gods...

but he was using it when we did descension... although he would often stick knitting needels into the strings, or vibrate bits of metal agianst the strings...

all sounds a bit sonic youthy...but to be honest i never was a big fan of them...so what we did was done without reference, purely as experimentalism...

unreleased stuff>>>
well it might surface sometime...
someone has got boiler dog as its listed on last.fm....

things may occur....

Stephen Dray said...

SUNDAY TIMES ARTICLE BY TIM FROM SWEET BILLY PILGRIM is due to be published on 20th April

Dave said...

we'll i hope you guy's didn't lose any respect for them after george's bathroom incident!

i can't distinguish which guitar is paul's and which is dave's, but i do know that all the guitar i hear, in all the slab stuff i have, is really great and highly original(then again the guit in sanity allergy sounds more 'normal'but very still good). after you mentioned the C tuning(three octaves) a while back, i was finally able to play undriven snow exactly as it's played on descension. i remember struggling with the guitar for flirt(had much better luck with the same c tuning). even guitar on gutter busting, although simple and used sparsely, still sounds unlike any other guitar i've heard. but i know what you're saying... aproaching an instrument with no concepts of how it should or shouldn't be played. too much 'knowledge' can get in the way. on a bigger scale we could apply that to our lives as well... unlearn all that we think we know about our selves and the world/reality/existence.

cool, anxious to read this article. were you guy's intervied for it?

Anonymous said...

Hi , Paul Jarvis here . I feel now is the appropriate time to mention my favourite quote from a 'musician' ever ... Nick Cave was asked why Blixa Bargeld surprisingly left The Bad Seeds ( as he'd seem to take over from Mick Harvey as Cave's muse ) .

Cave told the story how they were recording a new album ( can't remember which one - ' Abbatoir Blues ' ? ) , and Bargeld suddenly flung his guitar to the floor in disgust , and just before storming out uttered the immortal words " I didn't join a rock 'n' roll band to PLAY rock 'n' roll guitar !!! " That sums it up for me !

Dave said...

thats a cool quote. yeah 'rock 'n' roll guitar' can get pretty tiresome to listen to and or play when you've heard it all regurgitated over and over billions of times.

Hugh Rawson said...

Goin few posts.
Bill and I had been at school together from age about 5 and I went along with my horn once Bill had answered the NME ad. Robin Risso followed me as he and I also played in a punk/funk (Higson's type) band - "The Jingo Brothers" back in Leamington Spa.
Time passed and as Steve says, it was me and Steve and I think Paul who ambushed Peel as he cycled into work - April 1986. He played the demo that summer as he travlled round Germany, then phoned my flat in Lewisham having seen a photo (I guess the same one on LastFM which I posted having been sent it by Steve) in City Limits listing magazine. He came to our first London gig in Kings Cross the following night (a Thursday) and reviewed it on the Sunday in The Observer under the heading Post-Madonnaism. By the Monday night we had signed to Ink, meeeting Dave Kitson in Covent Garden.

Owning a big ol' ghetto blaster, I recorded lots of early rehearsals and gigs which now gather dust in the attic. Some of the early gigs still sound massive.

Best,
Hugh

Dave said...

thanks hugh! so how much time between the add that bill responded to and giving the demo to peel?

Hugh Rawson said...

Bill and I were both about 17, the other guys were a bit older (and, strangely, still are, heh heh) at the time of the NME ad. The band went through quite a state of fluidity and, as Bill says, at some points was really just Bill & Steve. At others we were a threesome, at others there was a ragged ensemble of itinerants who came, went and stepped up for gigs. As you can imagine this wasn't very tight. Slab! liked tight and that looseness wasn't working so we began to gel with Dave Morris appearing (then disappearing) then Paul and Rob joining. Neill came some time later.
In short, the NME ad must have been about Nov 1983. We ambushed Peel in April 1986 and were a fixed unit by then. We'd also left our roots and headed to both London and Manchester - making rehearsals tricky, bloody expensive, but probably all the more committed.

drÖne said...

Hi !

This is drÖne, writing from France. My english is not very good...

I discovered Slab! in the 80's with the Descension LP. Since then, Slab! kept in my discography as on of my very favorit band. There's only a few band I can still listen to after all these years : for instance, Killing Joke, Chrome, and Slab!

Well, I've seen the names of Stephen Dray in the coments of this blog : is it posible that Slab! members come here to chat ? Realy ? If so, I've something to ask :

- first of all, give a new chance to the band and play live ! I never saw you live, but I would like !
- secondly, my turntable is dead, so I foud digital version of every Slab! album, exept for the "Death's head soup" one. This one is very difficult to find. Any idea to help me (re)discover this great recording ?

Anonymous said...

Hello Drone
leave your email address here and I'll see what i can do about Deaths Head Soup..

you have a digital copy of Sanity Allergy???... I dont hava one myself!!!.. only vinyl!!!!......

Do you have a copy of the compilation CD "Ship of Fools"...

Regards

Stephen Dray

drÖne said...

Hi Stephen,

My email is :

drone [at] drone-zone [dot] org

I got digital copies of Descension, Sanity Allergy, People Pie, Mars on ice, Parallax Avenue, and live in Hultsfred (1989). I can open you my soulseek files if you want. Contact me by mail.

Dave said...

i also have music from the iron lung(compilation), ship of fools (compilation album ), sanity allergy(full album),painting the fourth bridge(the single i guess with a song big mac), all in wav/mp3 on my computer. guy from germany copied all of them from vinyl for me except he sent me the actual ship of fools cd with cover and all. he copied all the other album covers for me except painting the fourth bridge.

drone, i'll give you what ever you need(if you don't have something that i do) for the live in hultsfred. and that goes for anyone else who wants to exchange some files.

Dave said...

so 3 years of getting things good enough to finally door step peel with a demo. let me ask you guy's this... how important were live shows for slab? on average how many gig's did you guy's do before landing the record deal, and how many between landing the deal and recording descension? did you guy's have many fans or supporters up until descension? what about after the descension album? did you guy's do a tour for that album? and what about the fan base, did it grow after descension?

drÖne said...

Hello Dave,

You can contact me by mail. Thank U for proposing this exchange !

Anonymous said...

Drone
I'd like a copy of Hultsfred myself...is it off the desk?....

trying to remember when we played i think it was 1989...I remember we flew out with Motorhead and they headlined one stage while we played another....

I also remember we did a line check not soundcheck and that the opening track which i think was Swtichback Ride has a very long drawn out beginning as we were checking each instrument off with our sound engineer MArc Allum as we played... finally getting to vocals...and then we actually kick in....

not sure of exact line up

could be
Stephen Dray voice
Paul Jarvis gtr
Boleslaw Uzarazewski bass
Rob Allum drums

and either
Sherman samples
or
Nick Page gtr

i'll email you and you too Dave

regards

Stephen Dray

dröne said...

Stephen,

Of course, I will give you a copy of Hultsfred with a lot of pleasure ! I don't know anything from the precedency of the album : surely a bootleg, because I downloaded it from soulseek. It begins with Land of the midnight sun. The we have Switchback Ride, You're not alone and Last Detail. At the begining, the sound jumps up and down during a few second (someone seems to have put his hands on the mixing deck !), but the sound of the album is quite good for a bootleg. And you played intensely ! At the end, before the begining of "Last Detail" a speaker talk in swedish : i got a swedish friend, maybe I could ask him if she can translate... I think he present the band (I hear at least some members names).

stephen dray said...

Dave - questions about live gigs fans etc...

We played a few gigs around where we formed in Leamington Spa and then we got a gig in London.

I'm not sure if we played many others but we had given our demo to a journalist from City Limits who wrote about our upcoming first London gig. As Hugh said John Peel came, saw us on thursday, wrote about us on a sunday and by monday we had signed to Ink Records

We then played a few gigs around the London university circuit and did a tour supporting A Certain Ratio who had liked us when we supported them at the LSE.

I seem to recall doing a few other gigs in Manchester where we hooked up with Ikon Video.

Fanbase>>>> I dont really know or remember...somebody must have been buying our stuff!

Mars On Ice sold quite well and Parallax Avenue sold enough to get in the Indie Charts....

Then Ink said they wanted something a bit more commercial......uh oh...

Smoke RIngs was as commercial as we got.... and it didnt sell....

so from a fairly meteoric start we'd hit a wall....

by now a split was occuring in the band and to be honest some of it was about money and some about music...

hence Descension....which was written in a fair degree of turmoil and an atmosphere of things being ripped assunder...

but it got good reviews and sold enough to get in the indie charts

by now people were very confused by us

musically we'd developed very rapidly fromthe very early days... and to be honest although peole bought our records I think they were mostly confused as by the time we'd release something we would already have changed the sound live...

we didnt play a commercial game... we didnt tour and do THE SINGLE blah blah... we did what was driving us at the time and the root of that was to be creative... well it was for me and I largely drove it...

Following Descension we had a tour of Holland lined up and started rehearsals for live gigs


It was fairly obvious that things werent working and Robin Risso was the first casualty.... a great shame because Robin was a very decent man and he's another person who I feel a large degree of shame about the way he was treated.

We got Scott Kiehl over from Chicago... he was a friend of Chris Baker who'd drummed in a previous band and also plays free drums on Descension.

We'd never met Scott before and he'd never been to England before. THere was a large degree of culture....it was feted to end badly.... BUT HE COULD DRUM LIKE NO OTHER!!!!!

So we toured Holland with Scott.
We did one gig in London at the Town and Country Club (now the Forum) and recorded the 3rd Peel session. At some point we also recorded a single version of People Pie.

It didnt sell either.

By now things were going pretty badly internally and Bill, who had been increasinlgy marginalised by myself and Dave Morris... again something i take no pride in whatsoever and still regret very much as Bill was a good friend, decided that it was time to leave.

Scott upped sticks and went back to America only to return later with Lou Cicotelli....

so fans and gigs was a bit confusing for us as well as the fans!!!

drÖne said...

Cool, we are at the heart of the story of Slab!

Well, what I would keep in mind is that Slab! produced some of the most interesting records of the english industrial/post-punk scene. And even if it was not commercial enough to make money and have a big success, it's better than beeing one of an U2 like band... I've got all of your vinyles at home, and more than ten years after you released the last one, I still listen these records with the same pleasure and interest.

What I regret is that, contrary to other band of this period, it's nearly impossible to find informations and sound on the web : why don't you give a second youth to your music by putting it on the web ? I think that if people had heard about Slab! at the beginning of 2000, when the "post-rock" scene began, it would have been interesting.

Now a question : and now, are you still involved in music ? What kind ? Are you conscious that nowadays you don't realy need a record company to exixt ?

Regards

Chip Smith said...

Hello Drone - I completely agree with you, which is the reason I decided to write about Descension here. Trying to find out anything about this band used to be incredibly frustrating, but I'm glad this now appears to be changing! The thing that has always baffled me is how such an exciting record can be effectively forgotten for years! I suppose the fact that Ink Records eventually went bust didn't really help.

I would love to hear the Hultsfred gig if you are able to get some files over (email: crustypup@aol.com). I can offer everything vinyle wise from Slab! in a MP3 format in return, just let me know what you don't have !

drÖne said...

OK, I contact you by mail. I'm still looking for the "Ship of fools" album and the single "Death's head soup".

To come back to an information site, notice that bands like Chrome or Severed Heads (all of them played in the 80's and were a we bit unknown) have a web site. On soulseek, you can find mp3 of them. But for Slab!, it's incredibly difficult.

stephen dray said...

Drone>>
I'll do you Cds of what you want. Will email you.

Chris>>
i'll email you shortly too... and I wouldnt mind a copy of Sanity Allergy on CD myself!!...even though you know my feelings about it...

Everyone>>
I'll try to sort tracks for people

website may be happening but in usual Slab style it takes time and is born of confusion

Hultsfred>>
think line up was the "rock" version of Slab!
Dray-voice
Jarvis - gtr
Allum- drums
Uzarazewski - bass
Page- gtr

this line up did very few gigs

(there was one more final line up to come.. which was probably the best since the early days and certainly did the best live stuff...but its not hultsfred )

my memories of hultsfred (the swedish glastonbury) was that it was ok as a gig but probably a bit rock!!!

we certainly did those songs much better with the last band which was awesome live...

incidently gtr player nick page left to become.....
Count Dubula and form Transglobal Underground....

thanks everyone!!

Steve

Dave said...

very cool to hear all this info on slab. thanks steve.

so, as far as swapping tracks, i have- descension( with people pie, and railroad), sanity allergy and outside of those albums i have,

"FLIRT"(different version from descension flirt,)"YUKON","PARALAX AVE","SMOKE RINGS", "DEATH'S HEAD SOUP","MARS ON ICE","BIG MAC","OEDIPUS T REX", and "PAINTING THE FOURTH BRIDGE".oh, and just recently from chip, i got abbasloth, cruise missile smoke rings and death's head soup(club mix).

i'm guessing everyone already has these tracks, but if someone doesn't let me know.

drone, i'll email you in regards to the hultsfred tracks.

Dave said...

oh, and to anyone ... if you have any tracks that i don't have, please by all means send them to me.

ninthhollow@gmail.com

stephen dray said...

FLIRT > different version to Descension???....i dont remember that...

Is it live.... could possibly be... dont think we ever recorded another version....

Steve

Dave said...

no this isn't live... it starts with a long horn intro. you're using your low, hypnotic(like gutter busting) vocal style on this version. the arrangement is different from the descension version also.

stephen dray said...

Dave>>>>
ooops i think we stuck it on the b side of Parallax Avenue.... god I havent heard it for years!!!! but i have got it somewhere!!!

steve

drÖne said...

Hello !

I've uploaded the hultsfred live to an ftp server I own, but due to our new laws against sharing (in our ex french democraty, the new sarkozyan dictatorship is going to convert all kind of sharing - sharing files, hopes, ideas, help, etc., - to a criminal act), I prefer that you contact me by mail, then I'll give you the adress. After that, I'll erase the files. Maybe I'm a little bit paranoid, but France is no more France, you know... Now we have our Thatcher era...

knuckle down and let's drink our death's head soup...

Chip Smith said...

Thanks very much for that Drone, got that fine - excellent tracks, aren't they? And seemingly broadcast on Swedish radio, by the sound of things...

Just out of interest for everybody, Tim Elsenburg's (Sweet Billy Pilgrim) article on Slab! is in the Sunday Times today. I've put a scan of the article up here:

http://unfit-for-print.blogspot.com/2008/04/slab-in-sunday-times.html

Of course it's available on the Times website as well, but there's no photo, which is shame...

drÖne said...

Yes, nice live tracks !

I can't reach the scan of your article : the adress seems to be wrong. Can you verify ?

drÖne said...

Ha, sorry, that's OK : just needed to correctly copy-paste the URL. I'm gonna write a review on my (small) forum : I'm afraid, it's mainly readed by people who like techno music, but some of them already knew Slab! cause I send them records.

By the way, I was wondering if videos of Slab! were existing ?

G said...

Thrilled to see all this stuff on the mighty Slab! Me, my brother and a mate got into the band as 15/16-year olds after hearing the fantastic Parallax Avenue on John Peel. Bought everything after that. Slab! were due to be the first band I ever saw live, as they were booked as support to That Petrol Emotion at the International in Manchester in late 87, but James Taylor Quarter appeared instead! Managed to see them at a very quiet Hacienda on a Monday school night some time later. Brilliant and incredibly loud! Wrote to Ink Records when nothing was heard after Death’s Head Soup and Paul Jarvis kindly wrote me a postcard explaining why they’d effectively called it a day.

So, another three people out there remember the band with great affection. Roll on the Peel sessions! Can we have the third one as well?!

gazza said...

after seeing the piece in the times i played my slab! records after far too long and wondered why on earth they had remained unplayed for so long! i have now put those records onto tape to play in the car (80s music for an 80s car). i 1st heard people pie on the peel show (where else!) and then bought descension & music from the iron lung (also recently got the death's head soup 12" from ebay). during a quiet day at work yesterday i discovered this site,good to read the comments of other slab! fans + slab! members aswell.

stephen dray said...

just a reminder for anyone who has missed it... tim who wrote the sunday times article has set up a slab myspace page

http://www.myspace.com/ukslab

stephen dray said...

Drone>>> videos
there was a video of People Pie shown on the BBC. It might be possible to get it digitised and put on youtube etc.

we did shoot a lot of live footage with Ikon Video the Manchester based video company run by Malcolm Whitehaed. They initially shot all the footage of bands at the Hacienda and did all the early Manchester bands including Joy Division....

THey videoed quite a few of our gigs in Manchester and other places

Dont quite remember how we met them...maybe Paul Jarvis can... but Paul and I spent some very happy and drunken times in Manchester in the company of Malcolm and Mike editing Poeple Pie. I think there was the intention of a proper video compilation but what happened I dont remember... c'mon it was Manchester 87 guys....!!!!....
anyway it never happened and I dont know what happened to the footage of Slab.
Guess I ought to contact Malcolm...
maybe it still exists...

stephen dray said...

People have asked what I did musically after Slab

Well Slab ground to a halt following the last line ups tour of Sweden with the Young Gods. We'd also done a very succesful tour of Britain with them and everything seemed to be back on track for us following the coming and goings of Sanity Allergy.

Ink Records went bust. No one knew what we were about musically despite some fantastic live reviews in the NME and Melody Maker of the last english gigs. It was about dec 1989.

we had some really good new material. Paul and I were now writing everything and were becoming more diverse. The band was pretty solid and awesome live.

the last line up (which never recorded) was
Dray - voice
Jarvis - Gtr
Sherman- samples
Boleslaw Uzaresewski - bass
Rob Allum - drums

Bolly left... so we had to find a bass player... we auditioned a friend and tried out some of the latest stuff we'd written....

the rehearsal/audition was so awful that that was it I'd had enough. It just seemed impossible to find a bass player who knew what we were about and at this point I was writing all the music from bass and samples... so bass was absolutely crucial to what we were doing...and we just couldnt find anyone...

no deal, nothing to do, no money to finance demos...and no one really having a clue what we were about...

so i went home and knew that was it. I never called another rehearsal and to all intents Slab just faded away...

Following SLab Paul and I wrote a lot of stuff together largely based on the slab third album ( never released or even properly recorded but very diverse and way ahead of its time.... again!)

At the same time I was writing with Sherman who had basically single handedly got the NME to write about dance music and championed the Orb and Andrew Weatherall etc in his guise of Sherman at the Controls. He basically introduced electronic music to the NME audience.

He was djing a lot and he and I wrote some tracks around 1990 one of which was released on Guerilla Records which was just about the leading dance label at the time. we chose the somewhat dubious name of Euphoria and the track was called Mercurial. It sold bucketloads and is on about 20 compilations. It was single of the week in a lot of magazines and featured in most peoles top tracks of that year. It was joint single of the week in the NME with Madonna@s Justify My Love....

A strange syncronicity seeing as Peels column in the Observer about Slab was called Post Madonnaism after I'd introduced Slab at our first London gig. as Post Madonnaists...

Anyway Euphoria sold and is still coming out on compilations... and me and Sherman got the princely sum of £150 each and a t shirt....

After that I became Killer Moses and released 4 eps on Shermans own label called CLoak and Dagger. again it got lots of good press and reviews but the label went bust before an album came out.

There are various Moses tracks on compilations... not sure how you categorise it really but the albumm was heroically dark.... a very narcotic Slab....

I have also been an occaisional member of the audio visual onslaught that is Jigoku with my long time friend and Slab fan Lovely Jon and Gareth Goddard who some of you may know as Cherrystones.... we were the forerunners of splatter sleaze and f...ed up videos set to music live..
they are still going and i occaisionally contribute...we did two very well attended gigs at the ICA in collaboration with Alessandro Alessandroni (the man who whistled all the spaghetti westerns and gtr player for Morricone)

Fr many years I ran a studio in east london called waterhouse where I engineered and occiaionally still venture into...

Musically I am about ready to do something again....

Dave said...

Steve- any videos that you could get to us would be great!

cool to hear about your musical ventures after slab! when i was reading about the mercurial track selling so well i was thinking you probably made a killing off it finacially, but it sounds like you guy's got screwed somehow?

third slab album! man i would love to hear it... even in the raw form! sounds like you and Jarvis were on the same page musically... did you two make any attempts to score another record deal back then?

hultsfred tracks sound great! good to hear some live stuff finally, thanks Drone! and thanks Chip for the scan of the sunday times article!

stephen dray said...

Dave>>>> re trying to get a deal...

as Slab we'd lost our label when it went bust and no labels seemed remotely interested in us... none...
we'd come back from tour, no label, no money, no bass player and no bass player seemed to appreciate where we were coming from and while I could play enuogh to get by i certainly couldnt play and sing!!!
so i went home and never called another rehearsal...

it all seemed so pointless and really did not seem worth the trouble of going round labels and begging to see some A&R man who was like some second hand car dealer....so no we didnt try to get another deal....

I'd had enough and besides I was more interested in technology and the evolving electronic music scene...Sherman was a big influence and still is!!!... a lifelong mate... dragging a band around didnt seem worth it anymore

as for me and paul we wrote a lot of stuff together post Slab but we never really approached any labels. I never was the best self publicist and absolutely loathed "the business"... virtually everyone in it was such an a..hole... it was a world i did not like at all... all these so called "publicists" who would "work" for you in between doing lines of bolivian marching powder off toilet seats in pubs....i dont mind a bit of rock n roll lifestyle but these people were leeches...

so having been relatively scarred by my Slab experiences I'd lost an awful lot of confidence... I never had loads to begin with...and so Paul and I plodded away but even that sort of died out... it was excellent stuff... much of it a hangover from Slab... and I think I just started working with Sherman... and then he formed a label so I didnt have to go hunting and that was that....

stephen dray said...

Videos
Paul may be able to digitise em...in a few weeks

I am trying to track down Malcolm Whitehead from Ikon Video to see if he's got any Slab footage leftover...

but I cant find him on the net...only references.... so I'll try a few of the Factory Records forums and see what comes up....

Chip Smith said...

Steve - you might be interested in this link:

http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendID=38472624&blogID=384199028

Steven Wilson from the Porcupine Tree has just posted a blog entry on Slab! and the reception the music is getting from PT fans seems to be pretty good all round...

(tip off from Mr Tim Elsenburg).

stephen dray said...

Thanks Chip and thanks to you and Drone for the Hultsfred cd

Dave said...

weird, i found this on last fm,


http://www.last.fm/music/Slab

so it is bride of sloth, not son of sloth, on the electrification album. the 30sec clip sounds very cool! is there a vocal on this track? does anyone have a digital version of it?

stephen dray said...

http://www.last.fm/music/Slab!

try it with the xclamation mark....

the other lot are that sad duo of 90s techno fraudsters who used the name even thogh they knew of our existence... hence you get all these wonderfully titled tracks such as pop a pill cos i'm a twat ... or something equally expressive....
get the feeling i am not overly fond of em....

bride of sloth is an instrumental from the 3rd peel session...and came out on electification

dray/davies/morris/jarvis/kiehl

just post descension... line up that did people pie....

most of our instrumentals of that period are something Sloth!...

Dave said...

haha,yeah i noticed all those tracks like lid popper, rampant prankster...etc. it's stupid that those tracks are mixed in with your songs.

but it seems that there is a second last fm site http://www.last.fm/music/Slab without the exclamation mark. it has bride of sloth only. i really like the 30 sec clip, but i was hoping there was a vox on it. haha, actually i'm listening to it now, and i just noticed that it's like a polished version of abbasloth... it has the same bassline, very cool. maybe i'll buy that compilation cd.

Dave said...

lol couldn't you guy's have sued them or something for using the same name? it's funny though because you're totally right about the song titles. SLAB! has great song titles, where as the other slab does not!

Anonymous said...

Sorry for butting in suddenly like this, but I bloody LOVE Slab! and nearly shat myself on seeing actual members going at it on here.
You are living legends in my books !

stephen dray said...

why thank you anonymous....
come join us....

stephen dray said...

dave i emailed you at 9th hollow email address

Chip Smith said...

Just had a look on Amazon and 'Electrification' is available - sorry, I've just nabbed the cheapest copy in the marketplace (£6.95 - bargain!).

I get the impression with the 30 second clip on Lastfm that this is how Stephen would have liked Sanity Allergy to sound. Gotta say that I love that record anyway, but Bride of Sloth sounds like a departure again to me - sounds absolutely great.

stephen dray said...

hey chip my man
actually since you sent me sanity allergy the first side has really grown on me...but my favourite track is still visiting hour...

bride of sloth was post descension and about 4 months before sanity allergy, still had bill davies playing bass...

Heshter said...

Is it too late to grab the live Slab! recordings off somebody/Drone ? Same goes for any Peel Sessions.

Currently trying to work out how to digitize the "People Pie" video, you're probably going to get there before me though.

Chuffed to bits that people are actually talking about this band, only met one other person in the last 15 years that has heard them. Diabolically chuffed to see you yourselves on here, Slab! (I'm the anonymous one that butted in with soiled underwear a few posts ago), thanks for filling us in on the last 20(?) years, always wondered what'd happened to you.

Chip Smith said...

Hey Heshter - quite happy to send you the live recordings (thanks to Drone for those), drop me a line (my email address is on my profile page, very easy to find). Strangely enough, I also sent Stephen Dray a digitised version of Sanity Allergy, which has just got to be the weirdest thing ever!

Burl Veneer said...

WOW! I've been trawling the web for SLAB! info since 1994, and to come across a blog post from another Slab! fan--that was joyous enough, just learning that there's one other Slab! fan-- but with comments from actual Slab! members? Spectacular! Interesting that Chrome was mentioned: several years ago I spent a bachelor evening with a pal, getting drunk & listening to records; I brought over my Slab! records and Chrome's Third from the Sun. I cranked them up and he was blown away, especially upon learning it was all music from the 80s. So, thanks to Chip for putting the original post out there, and to all the other contributors to the thread; it's given me more music to look for!

stephen dray said...

Heshter>>> people pie vid

if you can digitise it fine... thats great...
but paul jarvis is a tv editor and i know he's busy at the moment but he can definitely do it in a couple of weeks time...so if you cant he will do it and we'll upload it somewhere...

theres an even worse one of deaths head soup....

i havent seen it for years ha!

still trying to find MALCOLM WHITEHEAD from IKON VIDEO

if anyone knows let me know... cos i wanna know if theres any live slab footage left

he might show up as theres that new joy division film come out and he often gives talks on the videos ikon made of them....

Heshter said...

Thanks a lot Chip, I'll bung you a mail.

Stephen, should be able to get it done within the week, the only problem being that I'm living in Japan which has a different TV format from Britain. People Pie was on SnubTV wasn't it ? I'm assuming/hoping your copy is better quality than mine which has already been converted from Betamax to VHS !

Anonymous said...

Hi , Paul Jarvis here again . I notice Malcolm Whitehead ( IKON )is one of the interviewees in the new Joy Division documentary , so he's still alive !!! I wonder how his liver's doing ... I first met him straight off the train in the days when pubs would shut for the afternoon . It was about 10 to 3 ( the pub shut at 3 ) , so we just made last orders . " What you drinking Paul ? " he asked , and I said Guinness . He ordered 3 pints , which I reasonably assumed as there were 3 of us ( he'd brought along his assistant Mike Scott ) was a pint each ... he then ordered another 6 pints of Lowenbrau for him and Mike , and a few whiskies - which we had to drink by 10 past 3 !!!

We were all absolutely wired off our faces doing the videos , and I spent one memorable night with him staying up watching Apocalypse Now on repeat ( Manc heads used to have Apocalypse Now parties and take acid ... ) . Happy days !

Graham Sutton said...

Hey there Stephen! Been a long long time my friend.. just stumbled upon this page after trying my usually fruitless bi-annual Slab! search, words fail me...*finally* there's the rumblings of some sort of Slab! presence on the web. I've never stopped telling people about Slab! and the influence your music had on me, aged 14. That and Swans. Me and my friend picking up Mars, Parallax, Smoke, from Ugly Child Records in Walthamstow - being utterly blown away by Descension and the gigs that followed. Christ we saw you loads at that time. So many good memories. Hehe what a start in life! I can still remember sitting round your flat in East London - talking about recording etc. I was so gutted that you ducked out of producing, took me ages to get over it!
Been hunting around for proper digital copies of the whole back catalogue for yonks now - I'd dearly love to get my hands on them.
Someone who has access to decent MP3s and 20 mins on their hands should put up a couple of Slab! muxtapes ( www.muxtape.com ) and post the URLs back here.
Keep the info and stories coming! Remember the pink brolly (!)

xg

stephen dray said...

graham
welcome onboard....
long time my friend... sorry about production job... i still remember getting out of bed to the sound of 3 gentlemen kicking my front door in!!!...and having no bleedin front door for 2 days....
what you doing musically...seen your name around at various points...
yep it looks like Slab may resurface...various people are interested in things...
keep in touch... you got any web space where i can contact you?
steve

Graham Sutton said...

Steve,
contact me: dustsucker at gmail dot com.
Lets chat privately as this has been set up as a Slab! sanctuary - don't want to clutter it up with unrelated info about other stuff.
Look forward to hearing from u chap.

xG
==

Burl Veneer said...

I've taken Graham's suggestion and put up a little Slab sampler on Muxtape. Enjoy! (Though if you Slab fellows would rather I took it down, just say the word.)

stephen dray said...

Graham
I'll email you...
you know the church where you did your first album or used to rehearse is the very same church where I've had a studio for the past 12 years.... its getting wierd....
speak soon
Steve

Dave said...

when i first discovered slab back in 2000, i had only heard 30sec clips of gutter busting, flirt, and delores, and i started digging around the net for more info and song clips, and i swear i came across a site( from germany) that had a clip of gutter busting with totally different lyrics! hmm.. maybe not totally different, i think there was another word in place of "houses". does this ring a bell? the music was exactly the same, it was just an alternate vocal take with some different words... same vox melody.

i don't know, maybe i'm wrong. it was a long time ago, and i may have been suffering from insomnia

stephen dray said...

not that i know of... but then i cant remember half the bloody songs anyway!...
when chip sent me sanity allergy it was so long since i played it that i forgot their was an instrumental (son of sloth??) on side 1...ha!

i'll check with paul jarvis... we may have done a differnet version somewhere... we often recycled songs and lyrics....

anyway
SLAB update alert

met with mr jarvis yesterday and started to plan for release/recording of 3rd album using all the songs we'd left over from that period...

will you keep you all updated...

next target is to get into my studio to start compiling/editing and maybe re-recording....

G said...

Incredible news, 20 years on! Put me down for a copy.

stephen dray said...

gutter busting

ahh through the mists of time its coming to me...

I think we used the lyric on a track on the second Peel session called Bloodflood.... so named because every time paul played gtr on that track he ended up a mass of blood....

anyway I may be wrong but I'm fairly certain that was it...

DAVE said...

what i'm thinking of was gutter busting, except i was hearing- " get back to your huddite"... or something to that effect, as opposed to " get back to your houses". i just discovered slab not long before i heard this, so i'm really questioning my memory here. on one hand i remember hearing it, but on the other hand it seems so unlikely.

stephen dray said...

get back to your huddite...

bad acid maaaan.... bad acid ;-)

Dave said...

haha.. ok , bad acid it is! that is, unless paul remembers writting something in place of houses for gutter busting that sounds like huddites!

Chip Smith said...

Stephen - re 3rd album: very exciting! Just seen your MySpace announcement as well what with Steve Wilson offering to help out and the new Slab! website up and running soon - great news. When it's up, please let us know here so we can all pile over en masse! And of course let me know if you need a bass player ;-)

Anonymous said...

Paul J here again ... "get back to your Huddite..." Much better line , a touch of the Mark E Smith's - but no , it was never Huddite ! Is that like a Luddite only referring to people obsessed with Paul Newman's 'Hud' ?!?!?

As regards the 3rd Slab! album , yes we're gonna give it a go even if it takes a while . There's a quite bit of sifting / trawling / digitising / re-recording to be done , plus we're hoping to do a couple of new things . Don't hold your breath about us playing live though - er , I was thinking around 2020 , in formation wheelchairs ...

stephen dray said...

ha good one PJ ;-)
tragedy about the Gers...

stephen dray said...

Having read one of Chips other blogs I left a very brief comment about how Slab appear live in an episode of A Very Peculiar Practice ...was shown on BBC 2 or 1... would be good to find a copy

Bill or Paul over to you....

Bill said...

Hoho, yes, AVPP - the nepotism episode. My Dad wrote the series, about a dysfunctional doctor's surgery in a dysfunctional university. That ep. was about a mad acoustics professor who encouraged his students to perform dubious experiments on each other. There's lots of hints about defense funding. Slab!s performance is one of these expts.

Actually, that pretty much describes what I do now, except I call it research, not music. And, of course, I always get ethical approval first ...

Bill

Dave said...

i was hoping you could tell me paul! haha... i don't know, i just remembered thinking it that it was house in a different language or something. whether it was "huddites" or something that sounded similiar, i don't know. it certainly wasn't houses though! haha weird.

when you guy's recorded descension, did you experiment with recording alternate lyrics, or words for certain songs?

stephen dray said...

lyrics on descension
no we didnt, no time! did it all in 10 days flat recording and mix...

there was one track that we didnt use called my third eye....

which was the track used in A Very Peculiar Practice if i remember right.. but it was an instrumental version indicating the sonic destruction that was about to take place in the script...

I actually really enjoyed the day we spent filming it... actors were all really nice and a different experience to normal band stuff

Over to Bill

Dave said...

you guy's must have had your shit down pretty damn good.

did you record to a click, or did you all run through every thing live, and then redo each part individually after?

stephen dray said...

recorded live I think every single track Slab did was live... gtrs bass drums...sax when its present....very mininmal overdubs....guide vox and then final vox....

dont even remember doing many takes apart from gutter busting which i think took a few goes, probably cos we did it first... i may be wrong but i think we had intended to open the album with it...

leave it to Bill or Paul see if they remember differently...

the line up with Scott on drums and Bill was ridiculously tight...

Dave said...

thats impressive! did your label tell you to be under a certain dollar figure for the recording of descension? is that why it was done so quick?

i must say, i love the way you opened descension with tunnel of love... the heaviest, darkest, most brutal song, and then immidiately after goes into undriven snow, the least brutal, and most melodic track on the album. actually the way all the songs were arranged on the album was perfect in my opinion.

Bill said...

Recording (as) live - bit of a sliding scale, really, I think? Some of the stuff I like listening to was recorded (in a studio) with a single stereo pair straight to master. But Slab did do most recording live-ish. It's just a lot more fun, apart from anything else. And it does allow two-way improv. You're not making the best use of a drummer like Scott if you don't let him react to what's being played.

On another note, you lot might be amused to know that you're influencing sound levels in the Davies household. Feeling like playing again, I got a tiny Roland practice amp at the weekend. Things have moved on in 20 years, haven't they? It even has a comedy drum machine built in. I begin to see the meaning of that discussion about technology freeing one from the constraints of having to have an actual band.

Dave said...

while you're on the topics of amps and recording... i've got to ask - how did you record the bass for all the slab recordings?

i think most bassist's plug in directly to the studio mixer(or audio interface), where as i'm inclined to believe you actually miced a cabinet(or amp). what ever you guy's did to record the bass, it sounded great! . even on descension, with such a thick layer of distortion( so thick you can barely pick out the notes on most songs), it still has that amazing, 'wholesome'( if that makes any sense) tone at the core.

congratulations on the roland bass amp! but with all the advances in technology it's easy to turn into an absolute gear slut! better to be a gear slut now though, as opposed to 20 years ago... much more affordable these days.

Bill said...

You're right, Dave, I don't think I ever DI'd on any recording. Tried it once and didn't like the sound. I used a 2 x 15" cab and a 2 x 10" one. I think both were usually mic'd.

With my work hat on, I'd have to say that, in principle, it should be possible to achieve the same sound from a DI'd instrument. Just quicker to mic a stage rig up, I suppose.

Dave said...

there's definitely something different about the sound of a mic'd amp.. more punchy maybe? stands out better in the mix? where as the di'd bass sound is softer and has less separation in the mix?

stephen dray said...

its what you do with it that counts... recording is all very well if you wanna get anal about it...and after 15 odd yrs of engineering believe me i can get pretty anal....but ultimately its what youre looking for in the end that counts...
I wouldnt have gone anywhere near a DIed bass in Slab but having recorded countless bass players of all different styles since plus my own stuff... it really doesnt matter so long as you got a pair of ears and have some clue about what you want....
put it through every bleedin effect there is, turn it backwards... who cares...ultimately its down to taste and what you want....

DO NOT BE AFRAID THERE IS WORK THAT'S TO BE DONE.....

Dave said...

yeah and on top of that the music needs to be good... i'd rather listen to something that was recorded poorly, but yet has a lot of heart and passion behind it, as opposed to the other way around.

Dave said...

ok guy's, i was watching a documentary on the last days of kurt cobain, and couldn't help wonder what slab thought about nirvana when they emerged with nevermind. what was(is) slab's take on nirvana?

the mosesman said...

dunno about anyone else but from a personal point of view nirvana didnt touch me.... they were a little too late on my musical plataeux,,,,
I was born of the Pistols and that very much influnenced my outlook especially the Lydon interview when in early 76/77 he elaborated on his influences and talked about reggae, peter hammill, beefheart, can and roxy music et al... he gave a clear signal that Punk was very clearly the child of very diverse origins...outsider music really.... and so for me the journey began to explore those who were driven by some primeval urge to be different to be original to strive to do something different...
and that didnt matter whether it was music art literature or film...whether you were luis bunuel, michael powell, william burroughs or iggy pop....

nirvana just werent different to me ...living in England at the time... they bore no relevance to my life...perhaps if you were american they did....but they did not touch me in spirit nor in music....I'd simply heard it all before from countless 3rd generation "punk" bands who thiought that punk was a pub rock get drunk lads together 3 chord riot whilst pissing down your inside trouser leg....

i was way beyond them, out in a stratosphere that was literally light years beyond, musically, emotionally and politically...

i thought they were a sad bunch of god knows what genration copyists who didnt have an original idea between em....

is that enough of a put down????

sorry dave if i've pissed on a band you like, but if i'm honest i have to say they rank down there with Sham 69, 999 and the UK Subs....

woooooo...cmon....

sorry but i just been for a drink with paul jarvis and when we talk we get PRIMAL maaaaaaaaaaaaaan...take no prisoners

standing on the fence was never my thing when it comes to music....

stephen dray

Dave said...

haha piss on them all you want, it doesn't bother me! i did really like nevermind way back when though. what are your favorite bands steve?

the mosesman said...

too many to go into detail, but I like different people at different times

so the stooges are all time faves.... but I like suicide, throbbing gristle, the necks, scott walker, tom waits, 1970s reggae, arvo part,charles hayward,arve henriksen,love,the velvets, early pink floyd, early led zep.ritchie hawtin, kraftwerk, john carpenter,miles davis, john lee hooker, PIL.....

it goes on every now and then i find something new... i really like electric wizard at the moment... dont think they are particularly original...very early sabbath...minus the solos and vocal hysterics...but I like em!....

i take as much influence from visual arts and writing I suppose

sometimes its just one track I like..Paul and I were talking abvout Mowtown and Northern Soul, Love, Alex Chilton, amongst others the other night...we listen(ed) to loads of stuff

best gigs i ever saw...
The Pop Group in a disused church in Bristol in 78,
The Clash in 77
Tom Waits... dont remember when!!
23 Skidoo in 82
Einsturzende in 83
The Swans in 87 i think!
Last Exit in 87

and probably loads of others etc....

Dave said...

cool... i like suicide too! i love rocket usa, and gohst rider etc. i had richie hawtin orange... i'll check some of the other artists that you mentioned.

for pure techno- gotek( on my myspace top friends), also nine elms( on my myspcae top as well). worth checking out !

Dave said...

And thanks steve for sharing that with us! i haven't had anything good to listen to for a while... i'll have to go on a big hunt for some good music.

nirvana- i'd have to say they were( are) one of my all time favorites. slab is the other . aside from that ther are a lot of artists that have a few tracks here and there that i like , but no other bands impacted me the way slab and nirvana have. everett true on the last days of kurt cobain documentary, desrcibes their music as 'classic rock", and although it made me laugh, i think that in a way, it probably is... just as slab could be called "funk"... gutterbusting is funky, but it's nothing like say, parliment funkadelic. both bands have a hint of the punk sound, and a hint of the whole new york noise sound as well, and both for the most part are dark, mysterious and heavy, but not "metal". the early swans has this sound as well, but i can't discern any particular style out the early swans stuff( wich is very cool). the only bad thing about liking nirvana, is every body( minus steve lol) likes them... and a lot of the trash i hear on the radio these days is a result of that. with art, something good can turn in to something very stupid as soon as people start copying it.

so with that said- steve, you should go buy a copy of nevermind! lol c'mon, check it out it's not that bad, it's just classic rock!

check out this little # ... 3rd generation punk, or classic rock? on you tube-

http://youtube.com/watch?v=a-GICoOxKpc&feature=related

the mosesman said...

good points about copyists dave... music unfortunately is full of fans of bands who just want to sound like their heroes....oooh i like that song lets do one like it etc....

mind you not many people did that with Tunnel of Love heh heh...

ummmm...yep lots of people like nirvana... but thankfully not too many I know ;-)...if they do i shall exclude them forthwith from my esteemed social circle....Jarvis are you guilty???? Sherman... how do you plead?????....

lord you just cant get the staff these days.....

steve

Dave said...

the stooges... iggy pop's old band. i've heard some of these songs but didn't know it was iggy. reminds me a bit of the stones and the doors. he actually looked pretty good in his younger days lol! yeah, i think there's a fine line between being influenced, and out right copying. and yeah, tunnel of love is not so copy-able!
i think it's all good when you tap in to a similar vibe as your fav bands, but it's not good when you're trying to out right mimic the sound. in my opinion it's not so much the sound that makes music good anyway; it's more about the vibe that infuses it!

Paul Jarvis said...

Steve's right , our generation of U.K. kids never recovered from seeing John Lydon's hate-filled face filling our TV screens sarcastically singing about being VAH-CUNT ! So to us old 'uns ( to quote Scroobius Pip ) Nirvana were Just Another Band .

I did like the odd Nirvana tune myself ( sorry Steve ! No ! Not the chainsaw again !!!! ) . 'Scentless Apprentice' is pretty phenomenal , like a punked-up Led Zeppelin . I really do think the guitars on this tune are very Slab!-like too , especially that little guitar break running up to the chorus ( if you can call it that ! ) .Does that make me sound arrogant ? No , listen again - it's the 'C' tuned guitar , I swear !!!! Plus , Cobain does sound totally deranged , which is always a good thing ! Not really their fault they became Coffee Table punk for the American middle classes ... but somebody somewhere HAS to be responsible for Pearl Jam ! Utter utter tosh ( and not of the Peter variety )

As for originality , someone already has done a note for note cover of Tunnel Of Love ! They are a Swedish tribute band called Bals! , and they are available for weddings , funerals , children's parties etc at very reasonable rates ... Also like us , they change their drummer every 5 minutes , and have a bass player who is so addicted to cigarettes he even smokes in the shower ...and in his sleep ...

Only kidding - or am I ?!? Parallel universes and all that ...

Bals! Coming soon to a Village Fete near you ... They do requests too - you should hear their version of The Carpenters' 'Rainy Days And Mondays '- it really will get you down !

Dave said...

bals-yes!! that must be where "get back to your huddites" came from!

the rest of the so called "grunge" bands didn't do a thing for me.

but nirvana sounded nothing like the sex pistols. the sex pistols were way happier sounding, and the guitar was just old fashioned rock and roll... hell guns and roses sounded more like the pistols! ok thats pushing it lol.

attitude wise nirvana was probably on the same page as the pistols though. musically, i think nivana was more against the grain, much darker and mysterious than any punk music. people swallowed it though- like, the masses swallowed it down! something about it makes people drop their guards. when i showed people descension... close friends and such... i expected them to embrace it the way they embraced nirvana, but i think it frightened them! i don't think kurt made a concious attemt to make his music swallowable by the masses, he was just doing what felt good. if you hear a nirvana song on north american mainstream radio today, it sounds way darker than everything else... yet it has something that allows it to slip by.

ok, i'm done talking out of my ass... for now.

Dave said...

has anyone managed to digitize the people pie video yet?

the mosesman said...

The Slab/This Heat connection...

Ok... bit bored with all this nirvana stuff.... to be honest I really dont see any connection with Slab musically....

so i thought i'd relate a little tale about Slab and Charles Hayward legendary drummer with This Heat and The Camberwell Now

Myself, Bill, Dave and Paul were all interested in anything out there in music....didnt matter what it was and we all liked differing degrees of out there.... anyway we liked a bit of free playing and so at some point we took ourselves off to see Charles Hayward play one of his solo gigs or possibly with Keith Tippett... we were dead impressed

We actually approached Keith Tippett to ask if he fancied playing piano on some tracks for Descension... it was only in its infancy at this stage... he gave us his phone number and was pretty keen to do it.... now that would have been interesting....

didnt happen for whatever reason I dont remember... shame...

post Descension we were rehearsing for a tour of Holland when it became obvious that Robin Risso's drumming wasnt going in the direction the rest of us were... a real shame because Robin was a fine man.... but he was the first casualty post Descension...

we needed a drummer urgently.

Charles Hayward at this point was in the Camberwell Now and also on Ink Records so myself Paul and Dave went round to his flat to have a chat....he was keen but more on the MArs on Ice period

Real shame this didnt work out as the possibilities would have been endless....

Just a little tale of things that could have been....Slab with Keith Tippett and Charles Hayward....holy god that would've been something to behold

Steve

heshter said...

Sorry, I'd promised to digitize the People Pie video, but the "service" I was relying on let me down. Going to take another month now.loblocks

Dave said...

ok, thanks heshter!

steve- ok i'm done with the nirvana stuff haha. but i will ask you( or anyone from slab) this- have you met iggy pop or john lydon before? and or do you know if either of them have heard of slab? (weird question i know). what about other famous/ semi famous musicians or artists... have you guy's ever been tracked down by any?

interesting story... i found some charles hayward on you tube, it's not bad.

Chip Smith said...

The last time I saw Keith Tippett he was playing keys in David Sylvian's touring band a couple of years back - talk about noodlemania! He was about the only guy on stage with any real energy, and made poor old Sylvian look like a deer caught in headlights.

Slab with Tippett would have been outrageous - that said, I'm not quite sure how he would have improved upon the mightily impressive improv tracks on Descension (Mooseland and Dr Bombay), but it would have been interesting to hear!

the mosesman said...

hey chip glad to see you're still here!!!
you going to sweet billy at the opera house... i think paul jarvis and i are planning on it....

ok ummm...tippett...i like the Mujician stuff solo piano sets... Descension would ve been outrageous with him going full force... oh well we got the budget version ... Me on piano on mooseland....it was originally 33 minutes!!!... but we just took a chunk and plonked it on the album

errrr famous people???? depends how you define famous i guess...

the best person to ask would be Rob Allum our last drummer who has played and still plays with an awful lot of people...including stereolab, plus he drummed for Brian Wilson and a few years ago with Arthur Lee
Rob is always saying how many musicians he comes across in America who ask him about slab....we had a lot of college radio play back then so i guess a lot of people knew of us...

I know Steve Albini was a big fan, the ONeill brothers from the Undertones were also big fans...we played with That Petrol Emotion once... and of course Graham Sutton from Bark Psychosis who dropped in awhile back on the board..
Cathal Coughlan was a fan and friend
ummm... Andrew Weatherall certainly liked Slab
and Michael Franti was also a fan...

as i say it depends on what you call famous there are many other "name" musicians we've met along the way...certainly during my "electronic music" phase post slab i met a lot of people who knew us... paul daley from Leftfield...weatherall as i said before and a fair few others...

anyway name dropping is not really my thing... they are just people we got to know along the way...i guess there are quite a few more i cant think of....
esther rantzen...sophie ellis bextor and her dad....you'd be amazed at who was down in the Slab mosh pit oh yes indeed....

over to you MR JARVIS heh heh

most amusing rock claim to fame is drinking whiskey with Lemmy and Motorhead at 9am at Heathrow airport before flying out to do the Hultsfred show....heh heh
viva la rock n roll
paris is the city of the dead hero...ATV

as for Iggy i stood next to him once.... he didnt ask for my autograph :-)
but i did nick his glass for my mate Hugo Roberts the true unknown king of rock n roll...
see Paul i got him in....bollo lane the salad days indeed...

Chip Smith said...

Didn't know about the Sweet Billy Pilgrim gig, guess I'll have to pop along to that one. Tim's been very quiet of late, rehearsing like a lunatic I expect. And no sign of the new album yet either. Hmmm - get your finger out, Mr E!

33 minutes of Mooseland sounds pretty all right to me - out of all the cuts on Descension, it's one I return to the most really. It takes some real verve to make improvisation sound interesting and compelling, but it works brilliantly I think. Perhaps the full length version is one for the forthcoming box set? ;-)

Talking of famous people, I saw Nick Cave in Brighton on Friday. Just thought I'd mention it ;-)

the mosesman said...

i walked into Roy Hattersley once.... not pleasant:-)

see your nick cave and raise you a helen mirren...

Ikon video are about to didgitise People Pie and Deaths Head Soup and put em on youtube by the way

they got a page

http://youtube.com/ikonvideo

just got in touch with Brian and hopefully will meet up with Malcolm again sometime soon... if our livers can stand it :-)

Paul Jarvis said...

I've met 'Sir' Cliff Richard three times . Clearly an inspiration to Slab! , with his Miss You Nights ... I once shared the stage with him at The Royal Albert Hall , when my choir did a couple of tunes with him . sadly this wasn't last week , but back in my God-fearing Church-going childhood . I expect we did a couple of cheerful Nazi Youth tunes - 'I Love To Go A-Wandering' maybe ? He also came to our Church and 'rocked' religiously twice ! I wanted to ask him about the colostomy bag rumour but God wouldn't let the words out of my mouth ... I did ask him if Sue Barker was a top shag tho'

Chip Smith said...

Look forward to those vids, Steve, I'll keep an eye on the Ikon page and put 'em up on a new blog post when they appear.

I sat next to Judi Dench once in a theatre, and also went backstage to meet Laetitia Dean (Sharon off Eastenders) (I'm still undergoing electro shock therapy for that one).

The nearest I can come to Paul's rather alarming Cliff obsession is the fact that I once saw Jimmy Saville on the top of a double decker bus in Bournemouth. On his way to the nearest children's home perhaps ;-)

the mosesman said...

jimmy saville??? used to play FLirt on his radio show to the kids sat on his lap....

george peppard gave me a very funny look once, coming out of a lift...

the mosesman said...

PEOPLE PIE VIDEO ON YOUTUBE

http://youtube.com/watch?v=v3MbP1vQUR8

on the Ikonvideo page

doesnt look bad afterall these years... and no budget!!!!

lineup: DRAY/DAVIES/JARVIS/MORRIS/KIEHL

the mosesman said...

DEATHS HEAD SOUP

http://youtube.com/watch?v=YRXLpLoKbDA

thanks again to our good friends at Ikon

Dave said...

just thought i'd mention that umm... SLAB! RULES!!

heshter said...

Great to see the People Pie video again, way better quality than the copy I had. Death's Head Soup's a beefy one too.

Dave said...

i've been watching the videos... i love them both! it's really cool to finally see some footage of slab playing! the videos are very dark and chaotic, wich i like. did you guy's have a lot of creative input? i have to laugh at how much cash goes into such ridiculous music videos these days... meaningless crap, just like the music usually.

steve, you look totally different on film then you do in the photographs! the pictures do not give an accurate dipiction of what you look like in my opinion. you look very menacing in the people pie vid! is that jarvis with the goggles? they look like they came out of world war 1 or 2... where did they come from? lol did gene simmons make an appearance on people pie, or does that togue belong to someone in slab?

the mosesman said...

glad you like vids people

Paul will hopefully tell the story of how people pie was made.... on no budget at all.... charity from Ikon basically.

me... menacing... little ole me....why thank you sirrrrr.... i have been known to have a somewhat malevolent side....even my best friends have said that i'm the least chilled out person they know....and believe me i take that as a very big compliment...ha

anyway... the tongues.... mine and jarvis ...watch em touch!.... still makes me wince! ;-)

Dave said...

seeing the tongues touch- i was thinking cringe , but wince is better!

haha sounds like you could use some meditation man!

i couldn't see morris in there... got a good look at every one else in the live clips though, wich is very cool!

who's doing the bg vox on death's head soup in the verses?first one comes in at " you lie and decieve..."

the mosesman said...

deaths head soup backing vox is me

think dave morris gets a very brief slot of a few millisecs in people pie...

his teeth werent as bad as mine or pauls

Dave said...

your voice sounds totally different on those bg's than anything elese i've heard from you. then again, the first time i heard painting the fourth bridge it took me a bit before i accepted that it was you singing. it sounds good high or low man... it's very cool that you can get that kind of variance in your vocal sound actually. so many singers sound the same in every song... it just get's boring.

the teeth are fine man! my own are not ideal... hey, a grill might be cool!

have you guy's tracked morris down yet?

the mosesman said...

dave morris.... well i dont know where he is, last heard of somewhere in south east london... but that was some years ago....

dave plays a central figure in slab..

the first origins of the band go back to when i moved into a somewhat legendary flat with him, a guy called Noel and the legend that is Dave Banks....we were so poor we lived off porridge, baked potatoes and spent what other money we had on drinking home brewed cider with as many possible alcoholic additives that we could stomach...

(never ever mix cider with barley wine and special brew!!!!)

Dave Noel and I formed a band with Noel on bass and recruited drummer Chris Baker who appears on Descension on a couple of tracks....
then we got Bill in and this band did play a few gigs here and there...
then as usual Dave left to do something else and Chris went to Berkley College of Music in the USA...

So Bill and I who got on very well started working together and hey ho we formed Slab...

As Bill said earlier Dave was always coming and going and once the first version of Slab had released Mars On Ice he returned... (foolishly sensing money I think)...

He became more central as we went on....but after Bills departure things started to go a bit wrong...

its too long to relate as it involves months of not actually seeming to do much and scott going back to America.... but by this time I was virtually living in dave's flat in Brixton and our alcohol consumpton was once again enormous....

we spent a lot of time writing stuff but god knows what happened to it....

then scott came back from america with Lou nd they had written the basis of quite a few songs...

paul dave and i felt it was only politic to try a few em out for the next album Sanity Allergy.... and hence you get that mishmash of styles...

me wanting some pyschedelic hip hop meets Descension approach plus free playing and scott and lou prefering a more funk style...

by this time dave was seriously wanting some money and was being dragged in all sorts of different directions by various people around us...

for a while he set himself up as some kinda session king...

post sanity allergy he tried to take the entire band away and leave me on my lonesome.... ahhhh how sad...i cried in my bed at night...

but quite where he was at in his head I dont know and from being a good friend who I went back a long way with it was rammed home to me never to trust him again....

fortunately Paul is a bit more loyal and so you come down to the last version of Slab

we toyed with the idea of paying him to play gtr on the last two tours of the UK and sweden ( not the hultsfred band.. post that one)... and probably quite sensibly decided against it...

he was/is a phenomenal gtr player with some quite extraordinary ideas
and i know he's gone through some tough times.... we go back a long way and i have a soft side for him... whether I'd work with him agian I'd have to think long and hard about.... but knowing me I probably would!

Dave Morris come in your time is up mate....just dont go expecting to become a billionaire

Dave said...

wow, thats an interesting story man. i really wish your psychedelic/hip hop meets descension would have flew in place of lou and scotts ideas. not that sanity allergy was bad, just wasn't as SLAB! as it could have been. but hey, you did what you could, with what you had available.

i'm glad you guy's are giving it another shot! can't wait to hear what comes out of it. how are you making out with the writing/recording?

lol! the being dirt poor, yet still managing to party and get trashed every other night- been there, had a great time!

the mosesman said...

Slab new songs

Paul and I have just returned from our first day day in the studio together as Slab for 19 years.... a bit of a long hiatus....

we compiled about 18 songs left from the unreleased 3rd album and i have to modestly say they sound awesome...

i will try to post some of them on my mosesman myspace page...

i think it was pretty cathartic for both of us and made us realise that we had lost so much confidence at that time that we just couldnt see the potential in front of us.... mind you if I'd had a studio then like I do now it wouldve been differet as we wouldnt have been so affected by poverty...

anyway i just want to say thanks to everyone on this blog for the encouragement... without this we wouldnt have gone back to these songs at all....

next step is some edits and maybe adding a few bits and off we go...

WE ARE FUCKIN BACK

heshter said...

Yeeeeeessssss !!!

Burl Veneer said...

What heshter said!

Chip Smith said...

Thirded!

Wow - a third album from Slab! Any ideas yet as to how you're going to get the new songs out there? It would be great if you could tie things up with Release/Relapse again maybe?

To say I'm excited would be a drastic understatement!

Dave said...

fourthed!

so steve, are these songs already written 100%... next step being some arrangement edits and then recording.

what is slab/has been slabs song writting procedure? do you guy's finish the songs quickly generally, or do you come up with a part and put it on the back burner to be completed later. do you guy's experiment with different arrangements with particular songs? is the writting process different this time around?

the mosesman said...

thank you people nice to get some enthusiasm... its what has made us do this...

ok Chip..... well steven wilson i guess will be a port of call and will also chat to Tim E to see if he has any suggestions.... my old mucker Sherman has a very large amount of contacts too... so release wise we will see what happens

the mosesman said...

Dave

so far all of these songs are from 20 years ago.... but they sound far more contempoarary.... its just what we were doing at the time...

i guess there is some variation in style as they were written over a period of a year or so....

are they finished?.... maybe.... i guess the idea is to go thtough em and either use what we have or edit/add bits...

maybe redo some vocals as they were pretty rough....

some were just instrumentals that never had the vocal put on but were just waiting

most of the writing was me sitting down with a bass gtr and/or sampler and paul adding his gtr and lyrics...

personally i think its the best stuff we ever di and i think paul agrress as the scope and ambition of it is huge....

structurally some are finished and some need a bit doing

with slab we never hung around in the writing process.... we tried different lyrics and sometimes completely different songs would use lyrics from a previous song... Delores is a case in point... as is FLirt....

but this stuff is much more intuitive... it just does it

i have to say i'm really glad i've gone back to it as i knew some of the songs were truly awesome.... but others i'd completely forgotten are damn fine too

its as Paul said when we were in the studio we nust have been so far down and lost so much confidence back then if we couldnt see how good these songs were and tried to release em....

now i just want to do it

someway or another i'll get something up on the net... but dont think it'll be myspace as my site aint a music one

so if anyone has any ideas where i can post leave a message here

D said...

steve, correct me if i'm wrong, but isn't there a way to convert your "personal" myspace page, into a " band" page? let me dig a bit, and see what i can find out in regards to that. if not, you could always just create an official SLAB! myspace page... nothing wrong in having a fan page and an official one.

cool! i always loved the song structures/arrangements of all slab songs!

the mosesman said...

SLAB WEBSITE

www.slab-uk.co.uk

will be up shortly

nothing yet but soon come

Dave said...

that is so cool!

i guess you can't convert the personal myspace into a band one. has to be done when signing up as far as i can tell. but you can have one song on the personal page.

the mosesman said...

sorry for the break... been away...

paul and i have been in the studio again compiling and i have recorded a few vocals on some of the tracks that needed em....

we will put something on the website asap

i'm not sure how long this process of doing the album will take but it'll get there eventually....

anyway its good to be back...

heshter said...

Thank the funk, I was worried it was going to be another 19 year hiatus !

the mosesman said...

just found these mp3s of music from the iron lung if anyone wants em...
the early singles

http://www.mediafire.com/?4dgb7gm0zag

some more links to come

the mosesman said...

PEEL SESSION MP3s

first session

http://www.mediafire.com/?whigs0sxj9d

Mars on Ice
Painting the Forth Bridge
Dust
The Animals are All Eating People Pie

good version of the Animals intersting to see how it developed over the years...

Dust ..... absolute drivel! dont know what we were playing at... especially if you could hear the first version ......

heshter said...

Balls ! Just listened to Dust, your "drivel" is a present-day band's gold.

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