Six 10th Anniversary Blog by Paul Draper

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1. INTRO There are numerous links in this blog linking to the following...

1. 'Six' album 2. 'The Dead Flowers Reject' album 3. 'Six' B-sides and demos 4. 'Six' photos 5. 'Six' exclusive videos 6. Myspace, Facebook group, Youtube, Flickr and iLike

Paul and Andie will be doing an online chat at 6pm BST tonight (7th September 2008) on the official Forum. We look forward to seeing you there.


Either way this is the story of Six...

Er, what was I saying, ah yeah, it's been two years since my last blog, Jesus! Life just passes you by! Anyway, I couldn't decide on a heading for the intro. The first, obvious, the second, my favourite review of the album, in FHM of all places. LOL! The original idea for 'Six' was to put the record in a full size gatefold vinyl sleeve, so that when you open it there's just this little CD inside, which would have the two sides of music on it that a vinyl record would have had; to try and get a feel for the vinyl experience you just can't get with CDs. We had to abandon the idea due to rack space in HMV or something, but that's where the idea for the two bits came from. It wasn't supposed to be up its arse prog rock stylee, it was an artwork idea that went wrong. I'll discuss that more in a bit. Andie and I will be doing a Q&A on the official forum at 6pm BST this evening (Sunday 7th September), so if you have any other questions, you can ask us there. It's been quite cathartic writing all this down as I've been asked so many questions over the years about Six, from the lyrics, to the tour, to the artwork, so I hope I can clear a lot of things up to those who want to know. Also a big thanks to the tens of thousands of people who still subscribe to this mailing list. It's been a while since the band split, yet the band's music is still very much alive. You only have to go to the links page at to see the wealth of internet resources dedicated to the band from all over the world. From Scandinavia to Eastern Europe, from South America to the Far East, it's all you people who keep it alive, listen to the 100 or songs we put out there, all the bootleg videos and demos, the live recordings and the photos. All this stuff can be accessed from the official website, it's all still very much alive and 'Six' is very much a part of that. It's your word of mouth that has allowed this record to grow with time, derided in its day but much loved today. The amount of fans who have told me it's their favourite album of all time over the years is heartwarming as it was difficult to make and was received with disbelief by the critics. It weighed heavily on me to outdo its more commercial predecessor, 'Attack of the Grey Lantern'. Commercial suicide, but artistically satisfying. It's a record that cannot be categorised and went right against the grain of what was popular at the time. A lot of people ridiculed it, but time has been kind to it. One thing I've heard again and again over the years is that it needs a good few listens to get into it due to the complexity of it. I listened to 'Six' for the first time the other day since mastering it, and realized there would be no point in making a record like 'Six' in this digital age, it would be all to easy to do with todays computer technology. It was recorded before the digital age took over the music industry, straight onto tape, so to make something so complex and intricate was a real head fuck in many ways. We had just discovered digital recording, or 'pro tools' as its known in the 'biz', so we brought an early rig in and used it as an instrument in itself to create some of the effects, then would fly back to the 2" master tapes we were recording the album on. It really was the last throw of the dice for analogue tape, but it's a better record for it. I'm piecing back the memories of putting this record together and I'll try and get it as accurate as possible. Let me explain some more... N.B There was no hidden track on 'Six' as I wanted to use the maximum time allowed on a CD to fit as much music in as possible and there was simply no room. To give you that vinyl experience while you're reading this blog I've written the maximum amount of words possible before the server blows up, so I've created it on 2 sides. This is Side 1; Side 2 will follow. Don't read them back to front unless you like Side 2 of the album better than Side 1. So anyway, read on and when you've finished, take this email out of your inbox, flip it over and read the other side which doesn't exist.

2. ALBUM TITLE 'Six' refers to Patrick McGoohan's character he created for himself in the 1960s TV show, 'The Prisoner'. His character was simply known as Number 6 and he was a prisoner in a village. Of course the album title is actually referring to myself. After all the madness of 'Attack of the Grey Lantern' hitting number 1 in the album charts this is what I'd felt I'd become; living in hotels, airports and tour buses, a prisoner of a commercial record. I wasn't going to compromise myself for the next one and it was going to be different, very different. No drum loops, no choruses, nothing remotely connected to what was going in the music scene or pop music of the day, certainly nothing commercial that would make me feel like that prisoner again. I didn't know what I wanted to achieve actually. I just knew I felt like a prisoner of the whole commercial treadmill. I felt compromised. It didn't sit right with me. My interest in 'The Prisoner' goes back to being a child, a connection of where you're at and where you're from. As a kid I moved from Liverpool to Deeside in North Wales in the 70s. We used to go out exploring North Wales and my most vivid memory is going to Portmeirion, a small town on the North Wales coast. It's an Italianate village built by the Welsh architect Clough William-Ellis. It sparked my interest in architecture at an early age. I'd seen nothing like it... As a kid I became obsessive about this place, and if you haven't been there you should go. It's so cool you have to pay to get in! 'The Prisoner' was a TV show filmed in the village itself. 'The Prisoner' was about a spy who resigned from the British authorities and someone kidnapped him and dumped him in 'The Village' where he was pumped for information about why he resigned. It was allegory for real life. As is the Six album. By coincidence Chad was reading a book of childrens verses at the time called 'Now We Are Six' by A A Milne. A A Milne lived at Cotchford Farm in East Sussex where he wrote the Winnie the Pooh books, which have some underlying Taoist philosophies. Chad's interest in Cotchford Farm came from his interest in Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones, who bought Cotchford Farm in the late sixties and was found dead in the swimming pool there in 1969. The track 'Witness to a Murder Pt II' refers to the conspiracy theories surrounding the death of Brian, and Chad was close with some old friends of Brian's. Now I'm trying to piece together how it all came about but it became obvious that there were too many 6's knocking around, so 'Six' it was!

3. SONGWRITING To cut a very long story short, I was short of songs going into the 'Six' sessions. After we finished the 'Closed for Business' EP I struggled to write more songs. Writers block I suppose. I think writers block means outside influences taking up your brain power so there's no room in your mind left to write with. That was my experience anyway, other people may have had different experiences of it. I had music ideas on a dictaphone, bits of melodies and chord sequences, but nothing fully formed. 'King of Beauty' and the first verse of 'Six' were the main ideas I had, and also a pile of lyrical ideas in my notebooks. I remember being very worried at the lack of stuff I had. While we were touring Chad was always reading books, this was going to be a source of song ideas I thought as I tried everything possible to avoid writing love songs. I wasn't a big reader as such so I raided his mobile library of books he'd carry in a giant bag everywhere. I'd have a quick scan thru to get the gist of a book and come up with an idea for a song from one book or another and work on it in my notebook 'til I bashed it into its own idea. Hence the idea of the front cover being set in a library, it's Chad's bag, a big old nylon sports bag if I remember correctly, a lot of the songs for the 'Six' sessions were from those books. When we arrived at the studio we'd rented a house in Barnes near Olympic Studios in London where we were going to record the album. I set up a small studio in the attic and set about writing. I had enough material for the first week of recording and then I planned on writing every weekend in time for the next weeks recording sessions. It was quiet at the weekends and I could get some space to write in when everyone went off to do their thing. This meant that whatever I had in terms of songs would be recorded pretty much chronologically i.e. The title track 'Six' was first to be tackled thru to 'Being A Girl' which was last. We overran by one day and the studio was booked out to somebody else so we moved to Metropolis studios in Chiswick for one final day to mix 'Being A Girl'. Some weeks I wouldn't get a full song written over the weekend or felt the song I'd written was not destined for the album itself. So we'd just record what we had that day or week, then I'd go away and come up with the next bit to add onto where I'd left it. That's how the record came to be loads of little sections of music that slotted together. It was simply the way the writing and recording process slotted together. MYTH NUMBER 1 ABOUT 'SIX' - Was it a prog rock record? Well no, I didn't even know what prog rock was except for listening to my sister's copy of 'Dark Side of The Moon' as a kid and thinking: "That's weird." I should have labelled 'Six' as about 30 little pieces of music but the idea of doing the record in a full size vinyl sleeve meant it was put out as 2 virtual sides of an imaginary vinyl record. Over the years people have always said 'it's the Britpop Dark Side of the Moon'. I'd like to think in my wildest dreams it was genre busting, but it was just a product of the songwriting and recording processes intertwining and being presented as a botched attempt to give people a taste of a vinyl experience in 1998. I digress. It was a bit of a panic getting the songs ready in time for the following week and I'd refine the lyrics as we went along, recording them last so I could make any adjustments. I never bothered with guide vocals, I kept it in my head, nobody really heard anything 'til it was mixed, then they got it, or not in some cases. Chad set up a little studio in one of the rooms in the rented house. When I was busy putting something together in the control room, he'd go off and make recordings on his own backing tracks and bring them back to the studio to throw into the pot. 'Television', 'Witness to a Murder', 'Face in the Crowd' and 'Spasm of Identity' came from his musical laboratory. In between adding section after section chronologically week after week to the 'Six' master tapes, I'd take time out to write a song on its own, something not connected to what had gone before it on the tapes. We would record these separately as independent songs, they were destined for the EPs but I always thought we could make separate albums out of the EP material at some point in the future as a lot of people thought these songs were better than the actual albums we made. I've always wanted to put these songs together so you could hear them as I intended. More about that later. When I wasn't writing I'd go up to Denmark Street and buy sheet music of say Abba or Jimmy Web and study how they put their genius songs together, repeating 8 bar patterns, moving from 2 beat chord changes to 4 beat changes from verse to chorus. I discovered Abba always put 2 choruses in every song. Genius, if the first one doesn't get you, the second one will. Of course I threw it all out of the window, this record had to be different. So I became pretty resolute to have no choruses on the album if it could be avoided. The words 'foot' and 'shot' spring to mind. I kept all the choruses for the B-sides on the EPs, again more on that later.

4. COVER ARTWORK As I said previously, the idea was to release 'Six' in a full sized vinyl gatefold sleeve, harping back to the excitement of buying a vinyl record that you just didn't get with a CD. You'd buy 'Six' in a vinyl cover, get it home, open the gatefold sleeve and there's a little CD stuck in the middle. The front cover is set in a library (allegory for a vinyl holdall, as 'The Prisoner' TV show itself was all about allegory) and that's the key to the songs. Hence the cover's set in a library with Mansun engraved into the stone work as it was a library of books I'd gotten song ideas from. The cover had started to be designed by Peter Saville but he was given the Gay Dad artwork job instead, the walking man on the crossing. I'm guessing it was deemed Mansun was going nowhere for one reason or another, so when the first draft of the artwork turned up there was just a bloke sitting there reading a book. I added the army shirt to make it mean something but it was never intended to be me, his hair's too wavy. The army shirt's there because I got an army shirt for £1.50 from some second hand shop in Liverpool and I wore it all the time like a second skin. On the right of the front cover you have the chessboard. It's the chessboard from an episode of 'The Prisoner' called 'Checkmate' where number 6 is used as a real life pawn in a life sized chess game. This was allegory for being a pawn in real life. Number 6 was allegory for me. I was being moved by Number 2. Number 2 is the bloke in the chair, he was from 'The Prisoner' and ran The Village, but he had no real power. He/she changed every week, except for Leo McKern, who returned at the end of the series. Number 1 had all the power in the show but you only found out at the end of Episode 17 of 'The Prisoner', 'Fall Out', that Number 1 is actually yourself. I too never found that out 'til it was too late, it's an experience we will all live through in our lives. McGoohan was a clever man. The chair Number 2 is sitting in on the cover is his chair in the show. In the top right is Number 6, he's allegory for me. So Number 6 is reading the books I got from the vinyl sports bag (the library on the cover) to get ideas for songs from. The whole of the floor on the cover is again from Episode 9, 'Checkmate', and refers to being a pawn in a bigger game. There is a satellite dish on the beam above number 2 in the chair. That's from Track 7, 'Serotonin'. The zebra and the lion are the animals from 'Being A Girl'. The line about what things raise us above the level of animals, or below in some peoples cases. Winnie the Pooh is from 'Shotgun', the song about cartoons. The painting on the wall is 'The Vinegar Tasters' from Track 3, 'Shotgun', and it represents Taoist philosophy. It relates back to the book 'The Tao of Pooh' and the second half of the song 'Shotgun' which is about a serious cartoon, as opposed to the first half which is a theme tune for a fictitious cartoon series by Hanna Barbera called 'Shotgun'. It's like 'Wacky Races', but doesn't actually exist, I just invented it. (The track 'When the Wind Blows' from 'The Dead Flowers Reject' was another attempt at a second half for 'Shotgun' i.e. Being from an actual serious cartoon but it became its own song, that's explained later). I got the lyrics for the second part of 'Shotgun' from a book in the holdall called 'The Tao of Pooh' which shows the Taoist philosophy running thru the Winnie the Pooh books. The Winnie the Pooh books were written at Cotchford Farm by A A Milne where Brian Jones was found dead in the swimming pool. People think he may have been murdered and there was a potential witness which leads to Chad's song 'Witness to a Murder Pt II'. Google it. Are you keeping up? Winnie the Pooh is on the stairs. I don't know a lot of the books in depth, Chad was the reader, I just used them for songs. The nun on the left is a left footer (Catholic) from the song about the crimes of the Catholic church, particularly in World War II, Track 8 on 'Six', 'Cancer'. She's staring at a sea of faces looking back at her, from the song 'Legacy', which came from a book I'd been given by an old and now sadly deceased friend of mine. The book was called '120 days of Sodom' by The Marquis De Sade, where the term Sadism comes from. The Marquis was a French aristocrat from the 18th century. It's a casual read, one for a lazy Sunday afternoon. The 18th century couple at the top of the stairs represent sexual violence, or sadism, from '120 Days of Sodom'. Quite similar to how 'Smell the Glove' from Spinal Tap shows a similar sexual degradation, but they were always well ahead of us. The Marquis is from the song 'Legacy'. On the floor is a television from, errr, 'Television', Track 10, although the meaning of the song is described under the section for, err, 'Television'. The Tardis on the far left is the vehicle in which Tom Baker arrived at the studio on the day of his session, but he got the number 28 bus home. Tom Baker, the voice of 'Little Britain' and prior to that the fourth Mansun vocalist along with me, Chad and Howard Devoto is sitting at the top of the stairs. He gets his own section in this blog for his sterling work as the voice of Birds Eye frozen peas before David Walliams rediscovered him. I loved Tom's voice and was desperate to get him on the record. It took a bit of negotiating to do. I always thought he had the best voice ever, which turned out to be exactly true many years later. The bloke upside down next to the Tardis is Andie, because he was always moaning about being sick of hanging around the studio. The curse of the drummer. I don't know why the scales are on the floor, that remains a mystery to me. The Penny Farthing in the stained glass window at the top middle under the arch, and also on the body of the CD itself is the symbol of 'The Prisoner' and a running theme of the show. It is allegory for the progress of human beings through technological advance. Does technology and progress really help us? Or do we need to protect ourselves from it? I discuss this in the opening song and title track of the album. The bloke at the front who nobody's got a fucking clue what he was doing there as he contributed absolutely nothing. He's reading the lyrics from Track 12, 'Legacy'. The book to the bottom right is 'The House at Pooh Corner' by A A Milne. This represents Taoist philosophy, Brian Jones, Winnie the Pooh and Cotchford Farm, the link between Winnie the Pooh and Brian Jones and how the book by A A Milne, 'Now We Are Six', can be connected via Brian Jones to 'The Prisoner' by the number 6. STRANGE FACT NUMBER 2 - At a gig in Denver or somewhere similar we were made aware of a woman who believed Chad was the reincarnation of Brian Jones, that's where this myth came from. We tried to avoid her but she managed to evade the security and get into the dressing room. We all froze as we'd had a problem with someone trying to slash their wrists in front of us previously. She reached into her pocket, you could sense the panic in the dressing room, it was utterly silent. She whipped out a giant spliff and said: "Will you smoke this with me Brian?" That's where all that came from. Whew, panic averted. I digress again. Next to 'The House at Pooh Corner' is 'Dianetics' by L Ron Hubbard (L for Lafayette) from 'Cancer', concerning other forms of religion other than Catholicism, because ours is the correct religion. The one with the bloke in a white smock and a stick with a white beard sitting on a cloud making planets in 6 days, then taking Sunday off, putting a bloke in a garden and stealing his rib to make a woman, but she fucks up by eating a snake and having sex with an apple, or something like that. So the cloud bloke makes it rain so hard only one boat survives the ensuing global warming by managing to perch his yacht on top of the biggest hill whilst balancing 2 of all the animals in his dingy to teach the woman in the garden not to have sex with an apple. She didn't feel guilty about it at the time coz she could just puke the apple up just before she's worm food and the bloke will let you on the cloud with him. If she didn't manage to vomit the apple out in time then she'd have to wait in a waiting room for surgery. Sorry that's the wrong waiting room, I mean purgatory. That's where loads of babies have been waiting for fucking ages. No, not the fucking surgery. Purgatory for fucks sake! Nothing's as long as waiting in the surgery for Christ sake!! Jesus, how many times. Coz of course if a baby commits the cardinal sin of not having your original sins (you know the sins you commit in the womb) cleansed out of you by, err, dipping you in the church sink, then they're obviously fucked. I think that's right but that was one book I didn't refer to for 'Six' so I may have got one or two facts wrong. Yeah that one, our one. Anyway, Scientology's fucked up, isn't it? 'Dianetics' was supposedly the first self help book in the US, and a best seller, followed up by the sequel 'Scientology', these are both books from the sports bag. Next to 'Dianetics' is 'The Schizoid Man' - episode 5 of 'The Prisoner'. Apparently if you want to ruin someone, you tell everyone they're a paranoid schizophrenic, coz nobody can tell if they are or not, and nobody will tell the person who they're trying to ruin. That was an old business trick someone once let me in on, and guess what. It fucking works! Well done, you must be very proud of yourself. LOL!! Next up is 'Paint it Black' one of the books in the sports bag / library on the cover, by Geoffrey Giuliano, about the supposed murder of, you guessed it, Jimi Hendrix! No, it's Brian fucking Jones again, sorry to disappoint you. The books on the bottom left are: At the top 'Life as a Series of Compromises' by Graham Langton. A lyric from the title track 'Six'. It's a fictitious book by a fictitious person. Graham Langton was the alias I used to book into hotels with so nobody could find me, although I should have gone to the secret hotel room on the other floor, coz nobody knew about that room. Graham Langton was going to be a character from the first album, 'Attack of the Graham Langton'. He also did a few cameo appearances in Coronation Street as Deirdre Barlow's love interest, or was it Mavis', either way it doesn't matter, it's six of one half a dozen of the other. Next down is Tom Baker's autobiography which was my book, 'Who On Earth Is Tom Baker' from Track 9 'Doctorin the Tardis' about Brian Jones' stint as the fourth Doctor, no sorry, that was Patrick Troughton. We put the book near a microphone for the vocal on Witness to a Murder about th.....FUCKING SHUT THE FUCK UP!!!!!!!!!! Next book down is '1984', one of my books again and was the working title for the 'Six' album for a while before loads of weird six shit started happening, 3 in fact, 666, no sorry that was Iron Maiden who were in the next studio. STRANGE FACT NUMBER 3 - One of the Rolling Stones actually helped out on the 'Six' album. This is absolutely true. One day I was sitting eating my bacon sandwich when this little grey haired geezer came into the canteen and started pottering about by the sink. "Anyone want a brew" says the janitor, "milk, 2 sugars". It was only Charlie Watts... Next book down '120 Days of Sodom' from 'Legacy'. I'm sick of explaining bloody books, if I ever see another fucking book. I wish we'd have got that fucking Gay Dad artwork! I can't even be arsed telling you what the book below it is, my eyes are fucked from squinting at the fucking CD cover. It's probably about Brian bleeding Jones shitting a pooh in a fucking Italian village or something. Who gives a shit anymore. I need a ciggy... OK then, next it's The Book of Mormon, my book which I stole from a hotel side table in Salt Lake City and replaced it with The Bible, The Old Testament or The Book of Genesis or whatever it's called, doesn't matter, they're all the same. No, actually it might have actually been a Genesis CD, or was it a copy of 'Six', doesn't matter, they're all the same. Lastly, 'The Bible Code' by Michael Drosnin, in this book it says if you stand on one leg with enough typewriters for long enough, you'll eventually make the 'Six' CD spin backwards in the CD player to reveal the whole album is a secret coded message predicting the end of Britpop. It's true. The artwork for the front cover of 'Six' was supposed to be created on a Quantel Paintbox and the cover to be an ultra modern day update/pisstake of an old vinyl cover for the idea of doing the record in a vinyl sized sleeve. A Quantel Paintbox was a high end Photoshop thing of its day but is now generally used to store copies of Hello magazine in. It was too late to change the artwork as is because it was a curve ball. Translated from music industry speak, that means 'can't be arsed'.

BACK COVER This is a mixture of bits from the songs. The floor represents the prisoner, Number 6 and is referring back to episode 9, 'Checkmate'. The television is obviously from the song 'Television'. The picture on the wall shows the front cover. The lack of a ceiling on the bedroom is to show the moon referring to the song 'Fall Out' from the lyric 'Did Stanley Kubrick fake it with the Moon' The guy is in the bed because... he can't be arsed.

5. SONGS (SIDE 1) SIX ROLLING... that's Mike Hunter, our engineer (who performs 'Stupid Open Space' on the 'Kleptomania' bonus CD). I think Chad added the piano chords at the start with me wanting the usual sus2/9th/11th chords to add extra harmony as they were the guitar chords I'd generally use to write with. Chad was a better pianist than me so he covered piano here and on 'Inverse Midas'. I played on 'Cancer' and 'Special/Blown It' but usually I just played stuff I wrote on piano/keyboards like 'An Open Letter to the Lyrical Trainspotter' and 'The Duchess'. Other stuff I wrote on piano like 'Goodbye' or 'Good Intentions Heal the Soul' off of 'Kleptomania' which I would play on my demo. Chad would play in the studio to share the workload as I had my 'Mr Producer Man' hat on, carrying lists of ideas around. I took too much on really, you can't be a producer in a band, but the stuff we recorded without me in that capacity just didn't work, the goose was killed. Anyway that was the first thing we recorded, then we set up as a band and headed off into the first section before the drop down. Me on rhythm guitar and I think Chad on bass, I might have replayed bass after, Chad's recollections might be different to mine. I think I overdubbed the little guitar lick just before going into the 'More, more' bit but I could be wrong. I played less guitar and spent more time in the control room although I could really play, I just hid it to look lo-fi. (This is a bootleg of Paul playing in his school band that's been knocking round, go Hendrix! - Ed) I overdubbed some choppy chords and then I varispeeded the tape down in the stylee of 'Erotic City' by Prince and Chad overdubbed his high lead line from the start to the drop down. We split up briefly and all left the session. There's a reason the track stops here. Firstly I didn't have a chorus as I only had up to there for the whole album going into the recording session so we just stopped the tape. Next day Chad turned up at 4.30, we had a big row and split up. It was my fault really, I was way too full on in those days. There's some hilarious studio outtakes knocking around that make The Troggs Tapes sound like The Lighthouse Family in Residence. So we packed up and went home, I think Mike Hunter recorded 'Stupid Open Space' off 'Kleptomania', playing all the instruments in the stylee of Stevie Wonder, during the split. He may have mixed some live stuff too out of the EMI vaults. I went back to Chester and contemplated a life at Burger King before deciding on Pizza Hut. We had a big summit meeting and reconvened a few weeks later where we picked up the recording of the opening track. It wasn't meant to be proggy, it's just in between shifts at The Hut I wrote the next bit of music, it was a song in itself really with the idea of having a Motown style feel. I'm rambling on about the surgery waiting room, sorry I mean purgatory, and the Jabberwocky which was a childhood recollection while thinking about number 6, The Prisoner, you know the stuff, but I'll discuss that in a bit. This is where we should have indexed the songs separately and had about 30 little tiny songs, it would have been more radical, but as I say, it was because at this point I thought the record would come in a big vinyl sleeve so the packaging would have been a pastiche of the vinyl experience with 2 sides of music supposedly on the CD with the credits and titles looking like an old record. There are no synthersizers on this record, it's a guitar record. After 'Attack of the Grey Lantern' I wanted us to play as a live band making a guitar record to tape, an innovative one, but still a rock guitar record. On 'Attack' I'd put a click track down, put rhythm, bass, keyboards down then Chad would add his little single note lead line and I'd play the whole thing to a click track to keep in time. I'd programme up a drum loop or dance drums like on 'Taxloss' then real drums would go on last. I'd have it worked out in my head so didn't need a guide vocal as such, and as I said previously I'd let the track breathe and change the lyrics round right to the last minute. Chad would add his backing vocals and that's how we recorded. On some tracks I played everything like 'You, Who Do you Hate', which is my finest hour as a drummer. I'd read how Prince recorded the first segue of songs on 'Parade' and how he just got on the kit and drummed, putting the stops and gaps in so nobody knew what he was doing until he layered everything on, so I tackled that one like that. Or 'Wide Open Space' where I'd tackle all the guitars. Chad and I played a track each on piano on the first album, me - 'Lyrical Trainspotter', him - 'Dark Mavis'. I added all the piano parts to the bridge of 'Stripper Vicar' and the frill at the end of 'Wide Open Space' etc... So we went for a totally different approach with 'Six'. I wanted it to be creative, but rock n roll as well, playing live to tape. So the next thing I recorded was the big sub bass sound which dips right down at 1.46 in the track. It might sound like a synth, but it's all guitars, if you've got a good stereo, whack it up to maximum coz otherwise you just can't hear it. If you're a bloke, watch it, it'll make your balls drop; it's listed as 'balls drop guitar' on the track sheet. If you've got a crap stereo, you won't even know it exists. I spent bloody ages so nobody could hear that. If you're a DJ, play it before anyone comes to your club, it was designed to make pint glasses levitate and I have a certificate from the British kite mark foundation saying it's officially the lowest a sound can legally go for health reasons. It's on my wall along with my school merit award for helping out at short notice at the school fete. I threw away all my gold and platinum disks. We set up a load of effects boxes in a giant chain, in fact ALL the effects boxes. It might have been a mutron or sherman filterbank or something like that, but going thru a digitec wammy pedal, I can't exactly remember, but you get the idea. The rhythm guitar on the Motown bit next is my Fender Tele going thru a mutator into a vox AC30. Chad plays guitar, me bass, I think. Andie's just smacking shit out of his snare. He was so loud we were cut off during one gig in Milan coz he alerted the decibel police. The venue only allowed bands below 120 decibels or something, I think Metallica had nearly breached it one night as it was near the opera house so they had to keep the P.A. system down. During the soundcheck he was about 125 decibels on his own with the PA right down. So during the gig we did stupid hand playing, doing a mong, and played like a church band for a laugh. They still booted us out. I went back to the rented house and tried to come up with something for the next day, we had nothing, I was shitting it at Ł2000 per day in the studio with Charlie Watts as the tea boy. He doesn't come cheap you know. Next day I put some watery chords down thru a tc electronix fireworx, a real workhorse during those sessions, we used every sound in it. Chad overdubbed the arpeggio later over my chords and the 'feel nooooo' melody line. The arpeggio goes thru the digitec whammy pedal and when we used to do it live and it'd go up to an octave higher, everyone would cheer. Weird. There were always a gaggle of guitarists in a little guitar moshpit of their own right in front of him at the gigs checking out how the fuck he did it all. It was very complicated to replicate it live. You can hear the live versions on the Myspace 'Livespace' page where live bootlegs are always rotated, it's in the top friends on the official Mansun Myspace page. Incidentally if you want to ask me or Andie any questions regarding the making of 'Six' you can contact us at our Facebook pages where I endeavour to reply to all sane messages. a) No, I'm not a recluse, I regularly walk round to the pub b) I didn't die and someone who looks like me replaced me c) No, I'm not Paul Draper the dancer off Wikipedia. I can't dance - just look at the YouTube footage entitled "World's Worst Dancer". At 3.27 I overdub that little riff thru the mutator, while Chad overdubs a bit of EE-OR guitar. We got slagged for having the same riff all the time, but it was Chad's protest riff. I had to make 'Stripper Vicar', 'Mansun's Only Love Song', even 'The Chad Who Loved Me' intro out of it. I told him to do a co-write on it, he refused. At 3.36 I do a more prominent mutator while Chad's gone off his fukin box EE-OR'ing and whammying all over the fucking shop by now. Incidentally, EE-OR is from 'Drastic Sturgeon', the song about a Plastic Surgeon done in the style of Spike Milligan via that bloke who used to change letters round, it was fashionable for a while in the 70s along with wallpaper and lava lamps. I put my guitar thru a random selection of effects boxes and played a a few blips and bloops you can hear thru this section making random noises, kept rewinding the master tape and wiping the bits of guitar noise I didn't like and keeping the interesting ones although I don't know how the quality control worked in my head but somewhere in there I knew the difference between a cool subliminal blip and a rubbish bloop. I showed Chad a part idea for his high guitar at 3.20 and a few places, pissed around with the tape machine so it all went out of tune, fired the cymbals thru some flangers n shit and ended the section with backfeed Keith getting louder and a few chops of the guitar to end the section so it would lead into the next bit with an abrupt end. What fucking next bit? My head was spinning by this point so I went back to the house, not the grey one, the rented on where I lived in the attic, for a bit of relief and to not start doing really loud donkey impressions while doing my arms like a chicken on one leg. I needed some sleep. Next day I had nothing, not a fucking sausage, so I went into the 'playstation suite' where I worked on the arrangement and how the fuck we could get this song being interesting and evolving with the melodies I had already. We came off recording the 'Six' album until I could just scramble till the weekend, then I could write a few songs! In the meantime we recorded the track 'King of Beauty', which was destined for the EPs to accompany the 'Six' album, as I had it in the bag already, but I also had a secret plan to record 2 albums for the price of 1! Or was that for the price of 10? Here is some secret footage of me writing 'King of Beauty' in the attic. I digress. Anyway I worked out how to go back into a previous section, we recorded it as a three piece. Then I wanted to put a bit of Prince like stops so I got the idea for doing a stop bit from Prince's live shows where he'd put 3 fingers up and the band would do 3 hits on the beat, we tried it in the live room and kept the best take. In my head as I listen back to it now I can hear. We overdubbed a fizzy little guitar later thru a pedal called a 'big cheese' then I worked out how to end it. I must have spent the evening writing. Everyone had thought I'd gone mad by this point and nobody had heard my melodies yet because they were in my head at this point, we were just putting down the backing track which was going all over the shop, nobody had a clue if it would work, but I knew what I was doing. It wasn't conventional recording but I had the perfect arrangement plan by this point. The 'life is a compromise' bit, I think I played the guitars and the overdub riff and the chop guitar, I think that was me and Andie, Chad might have played bass. It went seamlessly right back to the start of the track, beautiful! So to add interest, make the track evolve, I took the vocals off the tape and wheeled in this new fangled machine called 'pro tools'. That's what everyone records onto now but then I just used it as an instrument in its own right. When I finally put the vocal down I recorded it from tape into pro tools and set up a load of plug in effects. Then I ran it back and sort of played pro tools, punching in and out of effects on the vocals, panning the vocal left and right, hammering the mouse like Daley Thompson's Decathlon on the ZX Spectrum, slowing it down and generally dancing round a sodding computer screen doing that stupid dance in the youtube video of the official world's worst dance dance-off competition that I won. Again, I can't remember who did the guitar overdub, I think it was me, but it could have been Chad. Then thru the 'More' bits with me playing 2 guitars and Chad overdubbing that little high riff once it was all finished. Added a little backfeed to the end, I recorded the vocal pretty quickly as I'd had the song in my head from the start melodically and lastly Chad added a few backing vocals and added the varispeed guitar overdubs towards the end I think. Job done. Lyrically this song is obviously referring to 'The Prisoner', but it's more about being a prisoner and a pawn in general life. About playing the game, working within the parameters, about compromising yourself in the system to move forward and asking the question "Is moving forward, progress a good thing anyway?" It's a set of lyrics I'd written in my notebook on the US tour, in between all the meet and greets and curing the sick at KX95.3546 The Rock in some town in Ohio. By compromising what I really wanted to do, which was to just do music and not to do interviews and promo and stuff and just put it out there it means you can actually get somewhere in life, but was wanting more from life really what it was all about? Or did I want to go off somewhere quiet and be anonymous. It wasn't a very worthy cause being a rock star, it's very narcissistic, you put principles to the side to progress, but did I want progress? Not the technological progress of 'The Prisoner', but a lack of religion, charity, all that stuff in the life of this prisoner. I was torn, could I walk or was I stuck on the treadmill. I just kidded myself it wasn't a painful experience. I remembered the painful experiences of a child, the Jabberwocky that scared the shit out of me, the painful experiences of bust ups and conflict, but quickly put it all to the back of my mind. Ultimately I came to one conclusion about it all in my notebook. Simply, that life, is just a series of compromises. That way I could deal with it on a day to day basis.

NEGATIVE The backing track was worked out without me involved. I edited it into shape and played the rhythm guitar on the chorus and a few tuneless chops in the verses, the best one being at the end of the lyric 'told a lie to hide a lie'. I spent 3 weeks autotuning it till it was spot on. No, not really. We captured the live sound of the band for this track. I came up with a top line melody over the top and got the lyrics from my notebook. Chad's middle 8 sound is a Lovetone doppleganger. The sound effects going into the vocal for the first time and in between vocal lines on verse were from DJ Ben Chaplin who we brought in to play with us and spin beats in between the lyrics of the verse, he set his decks up in the live room with us. He also plays a few swooshes on chorus 2 on the decks. At the end of the track you can hear the beat he was spinning slowing down as he slowed the decks. I sing the middle 8 thru a leslie speaker and the swoops are coming from the decks again. Chad layered 2 counter melodies on the middle 8 with his Cherry Red 335. I played a little brown Gibson Melody Maker which you can see here. Regarding photos of the session, the legendary photographer Pennie Smith (who shot the front cover for London Calling by the Clash, probably the best live shot ever) was our photographer during the sessions. You can see pictures of the sessions here. I'd keep a record of my daily activities in a notebook to get song ideas from. This was about the day I went for a mortgage application. 'Negative' is about taking a blood test for a mortgage application. I loved this lyric, nobody knew what it was about. Fucking hilarious being at Brixton Academy singing about a mortgage application with loads of kids in black eyeliner going ape shit, awesome! A good parallel would be Howard, the guy from the Halifax adverts, the bald bloke with the little round glasses doing a cover of it at the O2 arena as the support act for My Chemical Romance. We all got mortgages after the first album and you had to do a blood test as part of the mortgage application. It was using the word negative as a positive. It's secretly an uplifting song but sounds really dark, pretty simple really, sort of wrong foots the listener, and nobody knew. The 'I look downwards' bit was just about reading the forms, and getting the OK, all good stuff. Next time you listen to it just imagine a giant blue X in a big field somewhere from a helicopter. This song should definitely be the new Halifax advert with Howard singing it on the top of a hill somewhere being filmed from a chopper. Quite apt in these credit crunch tinged times.

SHOTGUN The first minute was produced by me with Mike Hunter, the rest by me and Spike. I tried to get as rubbish a guitar sound as possible for the first minute of this track and make the recording as bad as possible. The first minute of this song is supposed to be crap, deliberately crap. Let me explain. The first minute is supposed to be a pisstake of a theme tune for a fictional Hanna Barbera cartoon from the seventies called 'Shotgun', the type of thing I remembered from when I was a little kid; 'Wacky Races' was the blueprint. This came about coz I'd read a bit of Chad's book 'The Tao of Pooh' and planned to write some lyrics about it and the philosophy behind the parallels with the Winnie the Pooh character. I know he's not a cartoon character as such, but it made sense to think of him as one coz then I could make the backing music work for the first bit and link it together lyrically with the rest of the song. Being a bit of a cynic, I thought 'The Tao of Pooh' it was all me arse to be honest, but eventually I bought into some of the ideas and it was very interesting and it sort of won me over, or did it. So, to do the first minute in an authentic way I went and invested in a box set of the Hanna Barbera sound samples. The track starts off with one of the samples 4 times. Andie's tom fill going into the vocal is authentically rubbish, he's a method drummer. That means he pulls his stick out of his hand just before the end of the track. You have to be a left footer for that one. Chad and I shout the words as badly as possible, it's a load of old toss from Taoist philosophy, sorry I mean a profound juxt*&%$^&*^ (I know, I know I tried to avoid using that word, but it is in a humorous way taking the piss out of itself so gimme a break, I've ran out of words, I could feel the collective huhhh, as my fingers hit the keyboard, I hate it as much as you, and don't think in your own mind's eye twinkle that it's 'sixth form', of course it fucking is! And sixth form is worse than ju.&*^Ł$^%&* This fucking thing is longer than most sodding dissertations. Hello! Hello? Is anyone still reading this or are you back to Guitar Hero III? I'm embarrassing myself now. The piano bit after the first line of lyrics I think I played live, it's a bit ahead of the beat. Who was it again who said I couldn't play the piano? You can hear Dick Dastardly's car screeching to a halt under the piano, it's called The Mean Machine, if you turn the stereo up right now at that section, you can just about see it, see, it's grey. I mean purple. Then I ask Chad to work out something shit on a rubbish sounding lead guitar from Woolies plugged into a cornflake box. Followed by a generic cartoon sample going up. All starting at 22 seconds in. Then I overdubbed a rubbish sounding guitar playing the most out of tune frets I can find as high up the fretboard as I can find, and that took a while. This monumental piece of musical history is at 27 seconds in and is based again on the Prince song 'Erotic City' and took me over a week, 2 hours and 81 seconds to develop and crowbar into the gap between Chad lifting his finger off the fret, moving it thru the air at the speed of sound and replacing it back on a more different fret. By the way there was no pro tools or digital recording on this track. We had to line a CD player up with the Hanna Barbera CD in, recorded the cartoon samples from the CD player and release the pause button right at the perfect moment as the master tapes ran. Ahh, the good old days. Then there's a ZOINKS sample strategically placed at the end of the appalling guitar solo. Just time for one more random sample from the Hanna Barbera library before the highlight of the whole 'Six' album. The one you've all been waiting for. The question that has plagued me and been asked a million times.The one thing all Mansun fans want to know. It's eclipsed even "Who Shot JR?" in the world of indie cult band bargain bin eyeliner baggy prog britpop Independent Local Radio core artist subcategory on eBay, of which Mansun were and still the forerunners and creative force and leaders of this movement. Is it, or isn't it? I'm about to reveal the truth for the very first time. And why.





I paid about £400 quid for that fucking Hanna Barbera CD Box Set. Well, I didn't buy it, it went on the album budget. That means we had to sell 4,286 albums per sample in the first minute of 'Shotgun' to recoup the unrecouped balance of the Muttley fiasco I'm about to tell you about, remembering the to Six is allegory. I couldn't fucking believe it. I waited about, oh I don't know, at least 20 minutes for the Hanna Barbera Box Set to arrive by courier, then sat there all night with my fucking ears bleeding listening to some fat Californian twat putting a violin bow across a frigging saw, jumping up and down inside a piano with a leslie speaker hanging from the ceiling with John Lennon inside. You name it, I had to listen to it, hour after hour of 0.3 second bangs and poings, zoinks and plinky pianos. Fucking days I was there in that attic listening. If anyone passed that house they must of thought I was writing the West End musical of Mallet's Mallet. After weeks of listening to CD after CD I gave up, it wasn't there. No fucking Muttley. You think I'm joking. I got screwed. Again. So we hired a function room in Chiswick to have a band meeting about the Muttley situation. Of course I wasn't invited. But luckily there was a double agent at the meeting with a dictaphone in his pocket, so I was aware of what was happening behind my back, trying to oust me they were as the vocalist for the Muttley. Duplicitous Bastards. It was decided after a couple of hours of flow charts and over head projector shit, charting our rising record sales over the inverse square of the trajectory of the depth of Muttley's voice depth that we should put an advert in the back of the NME and bring in an outside Muttley. This caused real musical differences within the band as you can imagine. The advert read as follows and was in the June 24th edition of NME with Northern Uproar on the cover: Vocalist needed for number 1 act. Must be clean living, have his own microphone stand and smoke 80 woodbines a day. Time Wasters need not apply. Must have a good sense of humour, and make me laugh. PO Box number, and a photograph, looks are not important. A FUCKING PHOTOGRAPH!!!! This band is going to the top. The toppermost of... sorry wrong advert. Please imagine the above advert in a square box with a purple background, sorry I mean grey. Thousands turned up at Wembley Arena, hired by Parlophone specially for the Muttley sessions, the acoustics were shit in there, Muttley's bouncing off the wall all over the fucking place, Sharon Osbourne had ear plugs in after the first 2 days. We secretly dropped a few outtakes from the auditions on the X Factor Christmas Auditions CD. How do you think the Cheeky Girls got on the TV? Mike Hunter discovered them in the queue outside and tipped Simon Cowell off. "Just a little higher and you'll be stars and cut down on the panatellas" he told them. They were just too baritone and coarse for what we were looking for. And anyway, we'd decided not to do Muttley in stereo by that point. We needed to reign in the budget, what with the Fairchild going missing and all. Me and Chad decided to audition for Muttley, I know it's our own band but there's a lot of "it's who you know, not what you know" in this game, coz there were some fucking awesome Muttley's there that day, a young Pete Doherty crashed and burned only the heheh's in. A curly haired pre-Gwyneth student called Chris Martin tried out and got thru the first round but had too much attitude to go all the way, but it was worth a shot. And out of all them thousands of kids, 16 weeks of auditions, recalls, tears and broken dreams Simon Cowell finally picked a winner... It was Chad. The bastard. I'd seen shit go down like this before. It was a re-run of when the one from Coronation Street walked from Hear'say and they fixed the auditions with thousands of kids queueing up, just for some bloke Cowell had signed to Syco and did backing vocals on that Power Rangers track to get the gig, I'd seen it all before. Or was it Mavis from Coronation Street, I mean Myleene, fuck they're all the same that lot, all tits and teeth, except Mavis who had dentures. I'd been had. It was all organised behind my back at the Chiswick brain storming sessions, I'd been double crossed. I walked. I did a few weeks in Pizza Hut on The Greyhound Park in Chester, I grew a goatee and wore a suit so nobody would recognised me from the 'Taxloss' video. But I thought better of it when I got sick of my army shirt fucking stinking of pepperoni and anchovies. Swallowed my pride didn't I, or was it garlic bread? Compromised again hadn't I, we were only three songs in and there'd been a compromise in every track so far, about 28 million on the opening track, and one on the second verse of 'Negative', so I was making progress I kidded myself. But was this progress a good thing? By the time I cycled back to London on my Penny Farthing (I had to do A roads coz it was nearly as dangerous as a G-Whizz on the Edgeware Road flyover) Muttley was finished, it was a wrap. We all made friends when I got back, not real ones, just ones so we didn't have to have to go to work, but things would never be the same again. The MD came down from Parlophone to sign off on Muttley. He wanted a few amendments here and there, but we were nearly there, he was ready to approve it and move to manufacturing. There were reels and reels of the tapes everywhere, all over the conservatory floor next to the control room, all labelled up. Best Muttley, Possible Muttley, Reject Muttley, B-Side, sorry I mean EP track Muttley, Muttley with potential but edit from 0.0032563 seconds to 0.0003245 seconds, Muttley radio edit. Muttley Perfecto remix for Ibiza that needed to be remixed by Paul Oakenfold ASAP before end of season, but we couldn't get the fucking backing track from under Muttley so we filtered it out with a Focusrite ISA 420 and compressed the tits out of it with the Fairchild we'd already lost and rented in from FX rentals at Ł298.43 a minute, and then forgot to send back until we went back to Olympic Studios 2 years later to mix 'Little Kix' for Chiltern FM. It was used as a door stop to keep the door to the conservatory open in the intervening years coz Elton John liked recording on the out of tune piano in the conservatory and had been in remixing some old b-side with Fatboy Slim and he needed to be surrounded by flowers or he couldn't find A major seventh diminished flat 9th 11th and sus2 without his big toe in a sandpit rented from fx rentals. More about the conservatory later. Luckily we didn't have to pay for the sandpit, that was put on Brian Jones' bill, or was it Charlie Watts, no, it was Brian Wilson, some fucking Brian, probably Brian the fucking Snail from the Magic Roundabout who I heard was massively into 'Six' and was a massive fan of 'Shotgun' but lost interest after the first minute coz he couldn't fucking keep up. He wanted to do a 2 step remix of the theme from the Magic Roundabout in the style of 'Shotgun', or was it Craig David? Fuck it, I can't remember a fucking thing coz I was off me tits on Fisherman's Friend for most of the nineties after those fucking Muttley auditions, throat like a brillo pad, you could see it in my tongue that I was on Fisherman's Friend. So it was all just a big blur of one Brian after the other to me, they all looked the fucking same, jumping up and down in excitement, wheel 'em in, press the flesh or stroke the shell or whatever, a few autographs and another load of fucking Brians were out the way and on to the next gig in the next town where we were supporting the fucking Brian Jonestown Massacre, I couldn't fucking believe it. I left my mascara in the previous town so dropped it after the 'Six' sessions. Anyway by this time Chad was lying prostrate on the astroturf five-a-side pitch out the back of the conservatory at Olympic Studios after 8 straight days of Muttleying till he got that magic Muttley that could make or break this record, his voice shot and there was nothing left him except a nylon sports bag full of books. The five-a-side pitch was specially laid for the Chelsea team to come in and record their theme tune for the FA cup final every year, just to get the right vibe, Youth was producing it. EMI saw an opportunity when Roman Abramovitch took over at Stamford Bridge, the legal affairs department knew full well they'd win the FA cup final year in, year out and they knew there was money in astro turf, if they could just keep Didier Drogbar happy and off the biscuits they knew they could get at least one John Barnes Anfield Rap out of him before the season ended, this was all kicking off just when digital downloads took off. Kids used to jump over the wall at Olympic and nick tufts of the astroturf for themselves without paying, but EMI could do fuck all about it, they'd taken their eye off the ball hadn't they, and of course some kid jumped over the wall and nicked that fucking ball from the five a side pitch too. It was okay though coz iTunes had just happened and they were raking it by that point, they wrote the whole of the centre circle at Olympic off as a Taxloss after it kept getting illegally downloaded by chavs from Roehampton. Heads rolled over the Olympic Studios astroturf fiasco, it went right to the top. They even sent a cease and desist letter to one Chav in Roehampton to scare 'em off coming up the road to leafy Barnes, as all they had left of the pitch by this point was Chelsea's penalty area and a bit down the left flank, a bit like Anfield at the start of May. The cease and desist order arrived at his tower block about 4 in the afternoon, sent by Virgin broadband. By half past five the pitch had gone and whole of the back of Olympic Studios was a sea of mud, not a blade of astroturf to be seen, except that is for Elton John who was still sitting at the out of tune piano in the conservatory (more on that later...) adding a 2 step backbeat to 'Don't Go Breaking My Heart' with Brian the Snail on counter melody, in the style of the theme from Hong Kong Phooey, plageristic slimy twat, get your own ideas Brian. You knew who wore the trousers in that relationship though, on his fucking antennae weren't they. Every good band needs a dictator to work properly though, and Elton was happy for Brian to do as much he liked, even at weekends. Anyway Fatboy Slim was half the way to Brighton by this point and the wall outside the studio had collapsed under the weight of 14 year old Chelsea fans pouring in to get their piece of the hallowed astro turf, but it had all gone and it just looked like a scene from Glastonbury in the rain when they surf in the mud, it was carnage. Anyway, as I was saying, there was Chad, blood pouring out of his throat in a sea of mud by this stage. There was a St Johns ambulance girl canoed over the river Thames from Craven Cottage coz we had to work Saturdays to get Muttley finished it time. We were so fucked we had to take weekdays off though to finish Mortal Kombat 8 or I would have fallen over from my obsessive consumption of throat lozenger disorder, as discussed in the song 'Television' off 'Six' by Hanson. The Shotgun itself was used in Taoist philosophy for what it was worth, I really didn't give a fuck by this point, I didn't get the Muttley gig so I thought, fuck 'em! I was a broken man after it, lying prostate on the bed, out of me fucking box on cherry flavoured Tunes still after the Muttley auditions, throat ripped to fucking threads, every breath was like licking sandpaper lying there with a t-shirt that said Cherry Flavoured Tunes on it. Chad downstairs lording over me that he'd got the Muttley gig, like he'd won the fucking X Factor or something, he couldn't stop fucking Muttleying all night, loving it he was, it sounded like Leona Lewis' pet fucking horse trying to burst through the twatting floorboards into my fucking attic bolt hole. It was getting light and I twitched at the curtain, there he was in the street, Muttleying at passing cars. Stopping 'em dead on Barnes High Street outside Tootsies before going round to the driver side window and Muttleying right in their fucking faces, rubbing it in the bastard wasn't he, off his box on Soothers which he had given to him by some Japanese doctor to keep him going thru the session. Pump him full of Soothers and throw him back in the fucking vocal booth till they got that magic Muttley. It took 8 weeks to record and 4,864,321.4 album sales to recoup the cost of that effing Muttley. All coz the Muttley sample wasn't on that bastard Hanna Barbera CD box set. It was just a sequence of events that unfolded after that, it was nobodies fault, we all fucked up. Your whole life turns on little events like this. I really didn't give a fuck anymore, Chad got the Muttley gig and I was fucking fuming. Not angry. It was just my throat was still ripped to fucking shreds from my 3 day audition with Dannii Minogue. We didn't speak for years, but we can laugh about Muttley now, although not too much though as there's blood everywhere. Take Muttley out of the equation and we were all decent guys. With a bit of time, things were cool. You think I'm fucking joking right? That's exactly what happened. The track 'Shotgun' lyrically is all about allegory. The shotgun itself is allegory. The final master tape of Muttley can be heard digitally remastered with MP3 compression at 0.32 into 'Shotgun'. After the Muttley fiasco we got back to some serious work. Chad played a rubbish guitar part, much worse than the middle 8 of 'Scooby Scooby Do, where are you?' I added a little guitar dive before it to fill a tiny gap between Muttley and the guitar line. Andie was doing all sorts of shit, paradiddles and what have you. I layered a dive bomb note under Chad's guitar bit at 0.35 seconds in. It is drenched in reverb, the rest of the track is dry and uncompressed so far. Then I slowed the 2" master tape down and Chad sang his previous guitar part next in the style of 'If I Was Your Girlfriend' by Prince crossed with a moomin. This happens at 0.37. Then the next bit is where it all kicks off in the imaginary cartoon titles where Hong Kong Phooey starts shooting at Dick Dastardly with a gun n shit like that. It could be called a chorus on a shitter record or if it wasn't so deliberately cheesy, which is apt coz the next guitar is played thru a 'big cheese' pedal. At 0.47 I record a guitar effect using the TC Electronics fireworx box. One more sample from the Hanna Barbera CD is recorded at 0.51, then Chad plays a cartoon stylee lick thru the Lovetone Big Cheese Pedal. At 0.54 is a Hanna Barbera sample under where the tremolo guitar starts, recorded thru a Zoom Pedalboard tremolo effect. One last Hanna Barbera sample in recorded at 0.59. Apart from that we pretty much jammed it. The uncarved blocks lyric refers to a child like person with no thoughts of its own formed yet, hence an uncarved block. Someone who can be moulded in any way you want, hence in a song about childrens cartoons. I play the guitar riff on a Gretsch Country Gentleman thru an AC30 that starts at 1.30 and runs right thru going an octave up at 2.00 minutes. It can be seen in the studio photos referred to earlier. I play bass as well as far as I recollect in an overdub later. At 2.20 Chad joins in on vintage Fender Jaguar thru his Zoom effects box with the high sound, we recorded all this live in Studio 1 at Olympic. Chad plays the guitar under where the vocal comes in next. I start playing on my Gretsch at 3.37. At 4.24 Chad does some weird trumpet sounding guitar sound that goes on for a while. The lyrics I sing varisped up in the background starting at 4.37 are "IS THAT I CANNOT DESCRIBE WHAT IS SUCH A PERFECT ILLUSTRATION OF THE OPPOSITE AND COMPLEX ARROGANCE WE DISPLAY TO PROTECT ONE ANOTHER". It's all out of time with the music, great! It was just about what was going on at the time, a sarcastic dig at all this Taoist bullshat being portrayed. Me arse. Then I sing the 'Think too Much' bit because I'd started to overthink this whole track and because I tend to overthink everything in general anyway, to my detriment mostly. I was overthinking the idea of the pastiche cartoon theme tune followed by a more moody backing track to go with the more serious interpretation of the lyrics I had in my notebook. At 5.04 it goes back into the groove. I play my Gretch still, I DI my telecaster I think straight into the SSL desk and Chad plays the loud dry guitar part over my gretsch part with it, but it's overdubbed later. At 5.42 Chad's zoom part comes back in as part of the live backing track we put down. Now there are 3 guitar parts all swirling round, it's fucking awesome listening to it stoned, a great magic moment if you can concentrate on all 3 guitars between 5.42 and 6.20 at the same time, for just those 38 seconds. 38 seconds of tuneless drivel as one critic put it. LOL! We tried the same trick on the opening track of 'Kleptomania', 'Getting Your Way', the riffs whirling round the stereo spectrum for a short time after the second chorus, though we never got to finish that track, it would have been amazing if we had have...

OBSCURE SIX RUMOUR NUMBER 4 - Was 'Six' made in a completely grey house? Utter crap!! I didn't paint the under the stairs bit grey, that was left orange. It was only the carpets, skirting boards, grey walls and ceilings, plug sockets, tiles and light switches, with a wardrobe full of only grey clothes all the same for everyday that was grey. I thought it would make me more interesting than I really was, like that bloke from the Muttley auditions, not Doherty, what was his name, you know the one, he turned up for the audition with plasters on his fingers in different colours, curly haired fella, hopping around on one leg. Same gag. I was actually living in the attic in Barnes during 'Six'. You're thinking of my old place in Chester where I lived during the recording of 'Grey Lantern'. You can see the grey house though in the video for 'Egg Shaped Fred' on Youtube, and yeah the only thing I owned was a TV and a sofa, 2 chairs and a grey lamp! I don't like owning 'stuff'. Anyway, talking of the grey house, the title of 'Attack of the Grey Lantern' originally came from the grey lamp I had and I used it as this idea to have a skit on concept albums like Jeff Wayne's 'War of The Worlds' by substituting the aliens coming down to blast Woking into some superhero coming down to save Chester from the people who were already there. LOL! I know, I know it sounds stupid, but it's a Monty Python sketch on a record. I substituted Nathaniel the priest for a Monty Pythonesque Stripper Vicar and so on and so on. Nobody got it. Anyway, I digress...

INVERSE MIDAS Chad was a really good piano player, he wrote this song on the out of tune piano in the conservatory at Olympic Studios and I sang it. I can't remember why he didn't sing it. It was originally called 'Bobblehat' because he was wearing a bobblehat in the studio when he wrote it, surprisingly enough, this working title was not allegory. The best bit is the deliberate wrong note at 0.3, it took fucking ages to get it that bad, take after take, but we got there in the end. I had to fight back and I out bum-noted him on 'Fall Out'. This was very deliberate to have the bum notes in there and make them work, it was part of the brief to make anything and everything as different as possible from anything else out there. That is the worst note I've ever produced and I'm very proud of that shit note. It made me giggle in the studio at the time, and I laughed when I heard it again coz I forgot we deliberately put bum notes in 'Six'. I've never listened to 'Six' before, just for doing this blog. Weird, isn't it? I can't tell you exactly the meaning of the lyrics coz I didn't write 'em but I think the gist of it is that everything you touch just turns to shit (hence the title) then blaming other people for it, when you know you're responsible and it would have happened anyway, or just being irresponsible. I'm not sure, that's my interpretation of it. Here you can see an aborted attempt at adding some rather strange instruments to 'Inverse Midas'.

ANTI EVERYTHING About some grief I got off a homeless person late one night. I got the idea after wandering round London late one night which I often do if I'm trying to come up with a lyric or whatever, this particular time from The City up to Trafalgar Square via The Strand. I'd gone to have a close up look at the Lloyds Building in The City one night then I wandered from The City back to the West End up Fleet Street and The Strand. I got the title from a bit of abuse I got from a homeless dude in a cardboard box in a shop doorway. He must have been on something, Mescalin probably (it fitted in with the track better than singing 'Tennants Super'). Firstly we put the drums down, which Andie recorded with no other music. Then I played the choppy guitar metronomically and a quiet rhythm under it in the verse, the chug guitars under the tag at the end of the choruses and also added acoustic guitars and the big bend guitar on the verse. I programmed a bit of Linn 1 drum machine thru an analogue delay at the end of the verse going into the chorus. Next I recorded the bass thru a giant chain of effects till it was unrecognisable as a bass, and had to take all the bass end out of it to make it work and not sound like a fart, then put it thru a mutronics mutator. I added a rhodes piano sporadically round the track which first comes in at 0.15, which I'd bought and kept in my kitchen to put cups on, then had a removal firm take it to London to put cups on in my attic but finally found a use for it on this track, in some places I fed it thru the bel flanger so it went all out of tune. I recorded random snare hits thru a short analogue delay throughout the track using my internal rondomometer to get the cool snares to fire thru the delay, the ones that poked thru the music, leaving the others dry. After that I recorded vocals and backing vocals, there's some varisped vocal for the counter melody on the chorus, doubletracked. Chad overdubbed the guitar on the intro and a guitar solo, which I put thru an old BEL rack flanger and flanged it. At 0.41 a bit of the time code from the analogue tape can be heard briefly at 0.40, I kept that in and made it really loud. There's various blips and bloops which I moved around and bits of vocal taped in strategic areas for dynamics, leading in and out of sections and stuff. Chad and I worked out a chorus guitar part, varisped up with me on the whammy bar, Chad playing it. All the guitar parts come in on the last chorus. I recorded the last second of the track into pro tools and slowed the audio to make the slowdown link into 'Fall Out', then recorded it back to tape. I did the same with the start of 'Fall Out' so it was seamless. We overdubbed some claves but I can't remember who recorded them and it was done. Quite bitty, like a jigsaw of lots of little parts. Here's some footage of the mixing of 'Anti Everything'.

FALL OUT A song in the middle of the record to add up all the ideas from around the album into one track. 'Dr Funkoffski' was the working title of 'Fall Out' before I renamed it after the last episode of 'The Prisoner' (see the outtakes section regarding this, the bootleg). I felt like the fucking Prisoner in that attic by this point. I had this old 80s drum machine and wanted to program a Princey electro-funk groove (see outtakes). I wanted a fill to be out of time, can't remember exactly why but music's always in time isn't it, so this had to be out of time, that was my way of thinking to do anything BUT 'Grey Lanern' again. At 0.23 I added the gap and the crackle and well, there must be a fucking pop in there somewhere? I added this as I wanted the track to go out of time as I said. If you put a metronome there it loses half a beat. I can't remember why I wanted to do this exactly, just to be obtuse I think. Or in case anyone ever played it at the indie disco the kids would all end up 2 stepping after this bit, whatever. Nobody ever fucking played it though, they were too busy with their arms in the air to 'Bitter Sweet Symphony'. Chad overdubbed a 'big cheese sound'.

THE SUGAR PLUM FAIRY After the Muttley fiasco I was careful about what samples I was going to use. I'd enquired about using a sample from Sky News as I was formulating the lyrics for 'Television' in the attic at weekends in my notebook (and I used them later on Chad's backing chords) and it was gonna be bloody expensive to get the Sky News Sample, more units to shift! I wanted to start this song with the drum machine and a sample from another record, but it had to be a free one if I was gonna be able to afford the Sky News sample. Why need a sample here? Well when we arrived at Olympic, The Verve were in the next studio finishing 'Urban Hymns'. They'd used a sample from the Andrew Oldham Orchestra's recording of The Rolling Stones 1965 song 'The Last Time' in 'Bitter Sweet Symphony' that wafted round the corridors. I thought this was too weird, another link to the Stones, first Charlie Watts, then Brian Jones' ex-girlfriend turned up at the studio to visit Chad, the books, that haircut, and now another link back to the number 6? (see 'Album Title' section) so I needed a subliminal message in the song relating to the album title, and this was it. It's my take on 'Bitter Sweet Symphony', and it was free! No copyright issues with some dead Russian from the 19th century. Once this bit was finished I needed a new piece of music so at the weekend I wrote the next bit, picking up my acoustic and starting a Bowie groove. I'd already decided I wanted to write a song about ridiculous conspiracy theories so I left a gap when recording to insert a riff from somewhere later in the record (Legacy). Now two of my influences for 'Six' were the first side of 'Parade' and the second side of 'Abbey Road'. I was thinking in vinyl, not CD. I liked the medley from 'Abbey Road', the segues n stuff that were in both records, so that was a nod to the Abbey Road medley and I guess the segues on 'Six' and to a lesser extent 'Grey Lantern' were both influenced from these records too. Or it might have been from Rick Wakeman's 'The Myths and Legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table'. Six of one, half a dozen of the other. I was reading about a consipacy moon landings book '




7. SONGS (SIDE 2) TELEVISION This song was written about hotel rooms. It mentions obsessive compulsive disorder. It's not about television, that was just the focal point of the room when I was envisaging the hotel room while writing the lyrics in the attic. Watching Sky News was like wallpaper in hotel rooms, just there in the background. I brought the pro tools rig in and edited up the Sky News bits, the last one took ages to do. It cost a fortune for News International to let us use the sample, but it gave the record that authentic 'hotel room' feel. The 'abilene' was from a book in the bag called 'The Urban Dictionary'. It's a dictionary of things that don't have names for them. The 'abilene' is 'the refreshing coolness of the underside of a pillow'. You know the one. I was just creating some imagery for getting to sleep in a hotel. It's one of those songs to make yourself look more interesting than you really are. Spike and I set up the vocal to change effect between lines in places and Spike made it more ethereal on the chorus. The vocal at the end was a bit of a pisstake. Chad did the main chords on that vibrato sound of his from the zoom pedalboard in his studio setup next door and brought it through, and I edited it into shape and changed things round a bit so we could make a song out of it. The middle 8 uses the digitec whammy pedal off the opening track. I edited together some feedback to make a cool little entrance to the chorus and bridge in places. Essentially this was put together from his guitar bits which I moved round and got in order. I found it difficult coming up with melodies on these chords as I wasn't used to his melodies. I put the cymbals thru a phaser in parts to give it a more trippy feel. I spun a little zap effect in from the tc fireworx going into the middle 8. We set up one of the filter boxes on the guitar for the second half of the guitar solo on the middle 8 to differentiate it from the previous bit.

SPECIAL/BLOWN IT (I NOW HAVE THE ANSWER THANK YOU...) The idea of this song originally came from my wish to write a song with one giant chord sequence. The longest chord sequence I could find and make work without going insane was a 32 bar chord sequence, beyond that, well, is there anything beyond that? I've not found a pop song in the history of the pop song with a longer one, but if you find it let me know. This whole song is just that sequence repeated 5 times. The reason I wanted to do this was because 'Wide Open Space' from the first album only had 3 chords in it, good chords mind you, but only 3 nevertheless. I wanted to do the polar opposite, this song was it. Incidentally after finishing this song I wanted to go in the other direction and do a song with just 2 chords. That was 'I Can Only Disappoint U'. Chad was messing about with two chords one day and the whole of that song was built on just those 2 chords. Just to be flash I added a load of extra chords just at the very end. Anyway, I digress. The track evolved and I moved the words around so it builds from start to finish. Chad improvised random notes and little riffs. I flew this comp of the random notes around the track to make it build from the start as if it was all played and built up that way. Incidentally, I sung Chad a Carpenters melody to play in at 1.49 .to 1.56, just for a laugh. I edited all the notes and parts into what sounds like a cohesive building melody then overdubbed the piano and rhodes with the tea on top. The guitar arpeggio at the end of the chord sequence is what I played on acoustic guitar when writing the song as I recollect. After the first 2 rounds of the sequence, I bring in the melody I had for the 32 bar sequence. I sing the melody 3 times as it evolves lyrically. I play my Les Paul for rhythm thru and AC 30 for a glammy sound over the bass I'd already put down. I play the last chord sequence, the fast bit on the vintage fender jag as it sounded more trashy. Lyrically it was an idea sparked from the chord sequence itself, from a point in the future looking back at what I was doing with the 32 bar chord sequence which I wrote along with a hum melody initially onto my dictaphone in the attic and thinking: "Is spending the weekend coming up with a 32 bar chord sequence really a good idea?" The BP store in the lyrics is the 24 hours garage down the road from my house in Chester, used by Cestrian nighthawks. After the lyrics over the first glammy bit the words become more philosophical about my predicament in a fictitious future after spending my time making records like this track instead of the simpler ones from the first album. About being happy with being the cabaret act I'd become off the back of the 'Six' album. About getting up in the morning, being happy but ultimately, the drive to make innovative music was gone, by making this self same record. The whim is the 'Six' record itself. Spewing on the motorway shoulder is just imagery for fucking up, I jotted it in my notebook after a particularly good night out. The last fast trashy bit was me looking at myself in, say, 10 years time. So what was the real outcome of 'Six', Special or Blown It? lol. To be honest when I get up in the mornings I'm not that focused anymore so I couldn't really tell you. Although I do enjoy my trips to France. ;) Luckily, there's no fucking books in this song.

LEGACY The original lyric idea came from '120 Days of Sodom' By the Marquis De Sade. Using it to show relationships are worthless, but then as I knocked the lyrics into shape I just rolled that into a bigger lyrical idea about looking back at the sacrifice of your emotional happiness for material gain has had on your life and where it's got you. Trying to justify to yourself it's been the right path to take in your life by lessening the importance of relationships and justifying it by looking at the damage personal relationships can do in your life. The second half of the second verse asks what's the root of ambition, what character defect drives you? The line: "I wouldn't care if I was washed up tomorrow" is false bravado, a self-defence mechanism to hide the fear of failure from your ambition. It's just raising some questions about ambition and the futility of it because in the end. The price. The cost. What's left at the end of the day when ambition's drained the last drop out of you? Well I just pictured the view from the stage during a gig. The sea of faces looking back at you, that's what your doing it all for, just them people, and at the end of the day, after you've given everything, well nobody really cares when you're gone, do they? Musically we put a basic rhythm track down with Andie coming up with the groove for the track. We had the song down but no riff. So I worked out a main riff with Chad to sit on top of the verse chords, then dropped the chords out of the final recording. I added the height line over it and the chords on the chorus as well as bass and backing vocals. One of the simpler songs to record. It's almost a proper chorus too. Shit.

BEING A GIRL The first part was recorded by me and Mike, the second half by me and Spike. 'Being a Girl' was an allegory for not being happy in the situation I was in and wanting something different. It was the last thing written, recorded and mixed during the sessions.It had an XTC stylee verse, but a powerful chorus during the first part, the guitar was played on a vintage Fender Jag, I wrote the part like that on acoustic but Chad played it as I'd written it on the record. Chad played the breakdown on an old organ knocking round the studio which I got Mike to mic up from across the room. During the mastering I really pushed the chorus so the track really exploded when it kicked in. Once the first part was completed I quickly wrote the second part. I like the little drop down before the 'Marx' bit. I play bass and guitar and Chad overdubs his lead line later on over the whole thing with me humming and pointing at frets n stuff which isn't really conducive to creating a good atmosphere in a band, but it got the job done. At 6.44 we hired a 32 piece orchestra to drop in 2 string plucks from the orchestra into the background of the track. No, not really it was some random fret buzz from the lead guitar on the master tapes that I sampled and dropped onto the tape in a strategic place to sound like an orchestra, and the most decadent use of a recording studio ever, which 'Six' actually was. Details you see, were important to this record. We were in a rush to finish the whole thing now, we only had a day or so left. I grabbed a load of reasons out of my notebook as to why things weren't going that great, using some other notes I'd made from the books, the Taoist stuff, some Buddhist stuff that I'd liked but to be honest didnt know that much about. I added some of my own thoughts about communism n stuff and a bit on my own thoughts on life in general Id jotted in the notebook. The little bit tagged at the end is just a few elements from the album in general, including a recording of Tom Baker leaving the pub after his voiceover. This is the actual footage of me writing the song in the attic.


When we recorded each album I had in mind that I would record another albums worth of material at the same time. These songs could be used to make the EPs we would release to promote the album. I never really thought we were a singles band, instead we would put 4 EPs out with every album. Miraculously all these EPs went in the bloody charts! But the real reason for doing so many tracks was that I was trying to make at least two albums worth of material. Now a lot of people have said about Mansun that the b-sides were our best material, well that's possibly true, because they weren't b-sides, they were an album in their own right in my mind spread across 4 EPs. I always planned to release these tracks as the albums they were meant to be at some point in the future, but the band collapsed before we got there. I wasn't surprised the band ended, just surprised we managed to finish the bulk of the recordings for the 4th album 'Kleptomania'. (Hence the last song on 'Little Kix' being called 'Goodbye'!) So in total we recorded 7 and a half albums, they just come out as 4 albums proper, 3 albums worth of EPs and the unreleased bonus CD. With the 'Kleptomania' sessions box set we released the guts of the EP material with the 'Kleptomania' album proper on the bonus CD3. Incidentally, some of my favourite tracks destined for these EPs were on the 'Kleptomania' bonus unreleased CD, including 'It's OK' and 'Drones'. 'The Dead Flowers Reject' project is how I envisaged the second CD recorded with 'Kleptomania' to be sequenced at the time, I've dug back through my notebooks to make sure I have the running order correct as it's important that you listen to these 'b-sides' for the first time as an album in its own right, that album was entitled 'The Dead Flowers Reject'. Click here to listen to the album for the first time. It's a better rock album than 'Six'. 'Six' was just an idea of making a vinyl record in the CD age, as I said, but nobody would go for doing the cover idea, even if we did a little CD inside it coz apparently we wouldn't be able to get 'rack space' in HMV. With a little more foresight the powers that be could have seen that to release 2 albums would have been awesome, one a straight rock album and the other 'the vinyl experience'. Radiohead did it a couple of years later with the 'Kid A' / 'Amnesiac' sessions, they really liked our first album as they were in the next room recording 'OK Computer' when we were finishing off 'Attack of The Grey Lantern', we shared the same A&R guy at Parlophone and Ed from the band really liked 'The Chad Who Loved Me', the segued different sections and mellotrons etc... I'd really liked 'The Bends' and it was really kind of them to praise 'Attack Of The Grey Lantern' when they collected their awards for 'OK Computer'. We got a Jo Malone candle each, if I'd have known who Jo fucking Malone was, I'd have kept it. Talking of 'Attack of The Grey Lantern' in relation to 'Six'; 'Six' wasn't a concept or prog rock record, as I explained earlier, just a 'vinyl experience' on a CD, but 'Attack of the Grey Lantern' was supposed to be a pisstake, like a Monty Python skit on a concept. A journo once asked me if it was a concept album and I tried to explain to him it was half a concept and I said it was a con album, meaning it as a joke i.e Half of the word concept is, ahh forget it. He thought I was a complete cunt. But it was only supposed to be a joke, we'd already made one album before 'Attack of the Grey Lantern' which we released over 4 EPs thru 1996. That was our early sound with samplers and drum loops. 'Attack of The Grey Lantern' was a separate project as a skit on the album format coz it was gonna be our first long playing release. If you think of 'Six' as our third album then 'The Dead Flowers Reject' could be thought of as the fourth Mansun album if you're that way inclined. I think the record would probably have been my favourite Mansun album, it's the closest to how we played live. The title, well it's obviously a nod to the Rolling Stones, and relates to it being recorded at the same time as 'Six'.

WHAT IT'S LIKE TO BE HATED I played bass and actually wrote it on bass originally. I recorded it in my home studio and played everything myself. I programmed drums up first but I got Andie to replace the drums when mixing the track, the same process as making 'Attack of the Grey Lantern'. You can hear the 909 kick drum I kept in the drop down and my tambourine in the chorus background. Chad might have doubled up my chords on the chorus to make it bigger, but I can't remember. Essentially it was me with Andie playing drums. The best lyric in it is definitely 'piss in the face of the sick'. LOL! Fucking brilliant! This song was omitted from promos sent out to journalists for review because of the lyrics. (Fucking awesome!!!) This is one of my favourite songs that I ever wrote along with 'Keep Telling Myself' off 'Kleptomania'. Here is some exclusive behind the scenes footage of me writing 'Keep Telling Myself' whilst getting the Jubilee Line to Canary Wharf.

OBSCURE MANSUN MYTH NUMBER 7 - Have I made all this myth shit up to make us look more interesting than we really are? Well it would be cool to just go, yeah of course I have and laugh, as in the line from 'An Open Letter to the Lyrical Trainspotter': "If you believe all of this you're a bigger fool than me." That was specifically referring to 'Attack of the Grey Lantern'. But actually, it is all true. In fact it's all quite an underembellished version of the true events if there isn't such a word that doesn't exist.

GSOH Chad plays the part of the guy placing the ad on the voicemail on the first verse and the reply in the 3rd verse, and he plays the girl answering the ad in verse 2. I was reading the paper and noticed how everyone in Lonely Hearts columns says looks aren't important but then always want a photograph. The best bit is at the end when I shout 'a fucking photograph'. I was rolling around on the floor listening to this 10 minutes ago, Chad's bit is hilarious. I've never listened to it since we did it and totally forgot about it. A Mansun classic, typical Mansun, Should have been the lead off single...

BEEN HERE BEFORE I played acoustic guitar in the verse, the second guitar riff that comes in (the loud one), bass guitar and the big rhythm guitar on the bridge under "I'm sure I've been here once before." I think Chad played the other guitar riff. Andie put down the drums in the live room of studio 1 at Olympic. Lyrically this song revolves around self preservation. How you always retreat back to your ingrained character traits when looking for some security. A simple one.

WHEN THE WIND BLOWS 'When the Wind Blows' was going to be part of my cartoon song 'Shotgun', but evolved into its own song. It's about the animated film of the same name. It was going to go with my 'Wacky Races' style theme tune which was the first minute of 'Shotgun'. The recording misses a big dirty guitar on the chorus but I didn't have enough time to fully finish it. The animated film (they're all cartoons to me!) 'When the Wind Blows' was apparently inspired by Simon Le Bon's worst ever lyric "You're about as easy as a nuclear war". Obviously that is a joke. You didn't?

CAN'T AFFORD TO DIE Andie, Chad and I played this live. We went back to Parr Street in Liverpool for some time out of London. We recorded this with Mike Hunter. I might have wrote this one back at home in Chester as I remember. I'm on bass, Chad lead, Andie drums with a tambourine on his hi hat which he took off for the choruses, then I overdubbed piano and a chorus rhythm guitar. Chad might have added different inversions of my chorus chords underneath to fatten the chorus up. A trick I often used. I read an article about how expensive it was to die these days, so I thought it would just be better to go into a fucking coma and pay the hospital bills like a hotel than pay for the sodding funeral. A nice jolly little ditty.

CHURCH OF THE DRIVE THRU ELVIS When I was in Las Vegas I saw 'The Church of the Drive Thru Elvis' wedding chapel which was hilarious. I thought about the idea of having a cult of 'The Church of The Drive Thru Elvis' from the chapel and developed the idea from there, about getting sucked into a cult. I recorded it playing acoustic guitar and singing then overdubbed the mellotron keyboard line and the pad guitar sound and me scraping the guitar strings above the nut in a few places. Andie added the percussion but importantly I added the finger cymbal at 1.14 and a few times after. Very important that! Chad sings the middle 8 and plays the middle 8 arpeggio. This is the real actual footage of me writing the song in the back of a stretch hummer on the way to 'The Church of The Drive Thru Elvis' wedding chapel in Las Vegas on my way to get married.

I CARE %&$(£$*%*

KING OF BEAUTY This song is about someone in a band... but not myself.

BUT THE TRAINS RUN ON TIME This song is about Mussolini, the Italian dictator who apparently kept the masses in line by making sure the train system ran smoothly, keeping everyone happy. He had a big belly and liked hanging around train stations. (Sorry, couldn't resist that). You can hear right at the end of the song Steve Austin, the bionic man, runs into the control room of the studio and runs briefly past the microphone. This is the real actual proper authentic recording of me writing the song on a train carriage on the outskirts of Rome in 1944.

CHECK UNDER THE BED From one of the books floating round at the time from the vinyl sports bag called 'Great Apes' by Will Self, I wasn't reading it, I just used it for the song. The lyric 'Fear looks like laughter' refers to apes grinning when they're scared apparently. I remember the padded cage referring to a monkey getting taken away as I remember.

I DESERVE WHAT I GET This was me trying to do a Prince stylee track and get away with it, which is virtually impossible if you're white and from Liverpool! I should have sung it a bit rubbisherer. I did it with my LINN drum machine originally, which is how Prince made all his good records, except for 'Sexy MF' and 'Darling Nikki'. Andie played over the Linn Drum machine patterns that run through the track and played some cool hi hats and beats especially at the end. I play all the keyboards and the synth bass line (gimme a break, I had to try it on one track at least!) Chad overdubbed a single note lead line as usual onto the song thru Lovetone 'Big Cheese' pedal. I can't remember who played the zither on the bridges, but it might have been Chad as it backs up his 'Big Cheese' guitar part.

RAILINGS My duet with Howard Devoto and the closing track on 'The Dead Flowers Reject'. Howard sent me some demos he'd done on a cassette and some sheets of lyrics which arrived at my house in Chester. Chad, Andie and I set about recording them. They were 'Everyone Must Win' which we did around the time of the 'Closed for Business' EP and 'Railings' which we tackled later. Howard wrote the lyrics on both tracks. While 'Everyone Must Win' was recorded by Chad, Andie and I in Liverpool, we recorded 'Railings' in London with Howard. 'Everyone Must Win' was from Howard's lyrics sheets, 'Railings' was a song Howard had written on piano on one of the cassettes. Chad, Andie and I recorded the backing track to 'Railings' using Howard's chords he'd used on the cassette demo which he played on piano and sang over. Howard came down to the studio to do the vocals and we recorded them with all the studio lights down to get the right atmosphere for the song. Chad's lead guitar on the chorus and at the end is great and there's a brilliant vocal by Howard. I played acoustic guitar. I don't remember who played piano, probably Chad. I deffo did drum sticks, I nicked this off 'Disgusting' off 'Attack of the Grey Lantern', where I'd done it before. You'll have to ask Howard what it's about. You'll also have to check out the Magazine gigs coming up if your a fan to see Howard live.

SPASM OF IDENTITY (HIDDEN TRACK) This was Chad's song. You can see the footage of Chad writing it here. (Here is the band trying to record a version with 2 bass players - Ed). I didn't do anything except sit in a £99 plastic swivel chair from Do-It-All shouting: "Cue the fucking music." After this fiasco I was sacked as producer coz of the expense of the oil to constantly lubricate the swivel mechanism of my seat coz I used it to slide round the live room. Chad's ideas like 'Spasm of Identity', 'Witness to a Murder' and 'Face in the Crowd' were difficult to come up with melodies for me as his ideas during the 'Six' sessions were a bit off the wall. I managed it with 'Television' which was the best thing we managed to co-write from one of his melody ideas during the 'Six' sessions. While working on 'Spazm of Identity' he wrote 'The Soundtrack of 42 Bummers' which was his piano bit he came up with on the out of tune piano whilst messing about in the conservatory of Olympic Studios and I captured on a dictaphone and made a record out of it for the next album. I launched myself like, almost like Steve Austin, a bionic man almost, to capture this improv on a dictaphone I had in my pocket... from sitting in front of a giant SSL J series desk that I used to stroke with my fingers coz I don't understand buttons. EMI had rigged the conservatory with CCTV coz every time they turned up at the studio we'd all be in the back 'playstation room' playing computer games and eating sweets, so they were keeping a beady eye on us as it cost a lot of dosh to hire such salubrious surroundings to play computer games in... Now I can't make out if this is the actual footage or just a really good reconstruction from the 'new media' department at EMI to convey to the general public that we were, in fact, friends and band mates, but it looks pretty authentic to me, so I dug the CCTV footage of the writing session for "The Soundtrack of Lurve" out from the bowels of EMI specially for this anniversary, as they were keen to participate in such a historic event. I actually broke in to the offices to see if I could get my silver disk for 'Little Cacs' but it had been stolen so I stole this tape as a consolation, and I posted it on Youtube so watch it right now before we get a cease and desist order from Farrah Fawcett Majors. The footage starts of with me leaping from the SSL desk, of which I have no idea how to operate except the on switch at the plug hole, but I do get confused between red, on and white, off, or is it the other way round, whatever, it doesn't matter as long as the faders go, weeeee, weeee up and down, or is that neve plug sockets? Either way it's out of phase if I walk past it. You can just make out the SSL mixing desk behind the tree to the left at the start of the studio footage. Suddenly, as you can see from the footage I'm in the conservatory at Olympic, I jump over the pile of steaming shit left on the floor by God knows who and make my way into the depths of the conservatory where the piano is, which is played by Leonardo Di Caprio in this of wood...oh, forget it. You can just make out that I switch my dictaphone on as I jump over the ravine or a creek or the wiring loom coming from under the desk, I'm not sure which as we kept the lights dim in the control room, whatever. Now I'm being played by Lee Majors coz I would have played the part with a tracksuit on with two stripes down the sleeves, not the proper Adidas one and definitely no t-shirt underneath, like the credits where I'm running down the airstrip after I crash my spaceship. That's important to the plot of this writing session, so remember that, I'll come back to that in a bit. Now EMI have superimposed Lee Majors head digitally onto my body coz I cant train my hair to go to the side properly, it just goes straight down coz it's so straight without hair wax or a demi wave, so the make up girl came in and spat into her hand and pushed my fringe across to the side then cut my hair into the shape of a 'flick' while it hung straight down, so as you can see in the footage it looks like the real thing. Andie is on bongos but his second kick drum is a little ahead of the beat and we hired a full 32 piece orchestra to do the strings which Chad wrote and scored. It's probably best to get 2 windows open in your browser at this point so you can actually see this classic Mansun track being composed by Chad with me producing him whilst you can actually read this actual transcript of us working harmoniously together. Now as you'll see from the footage it's difficult to produce someone else in a band from within a band so I had to tread very, very carefully here as he wasn't prepared to be in Steve's backing band as you can see, although he was the only sasquatch who wanted it that way. Talking of treading carefully, from the studio footage you can see as I scan round the conservatory at Olympic Studios I see Chad's footprint in the conservatory floor, Andie does his drum solo, which is a bit prog rock, and the second bongo hit, if you listen really carefully is slightly ahead of the beat, but that's coz my bionic eye is just over calibrated and overthinks everything which didn't need do be, but it was the 'Six' sessions for fuck sake, so we allowed bongo solos, anyway we just kept the master tapes from the dictaphone recording of this song and used it for the next album you see, 'Little Britain'. From the footage you can see as I dodge the plants the studio buys and leave everywhere round the studio in case Elton John turns up. Now I don't actually run this fast in real life, it's just I speeded the tapes up when mastering it on to Youtube as I can't run as fast as Steve Austin in real life and he'd beat me fair and square as it was every man for himself. (The flares were acceptable as we were still ripping off the Stone Roses you see in the year 4BS (Before Strokes), and I got the shirt from the vintage clothes shop in Chester where I buy all my Steve Austin stuff. It's only at this point do I even attempt to use my bionic eye as I'm listening to see if the magic melody is in there and you can see my bionic pupil dilate as I realise we're onto something with this little piano riff stolen from 'Clocks' by Coldplay, you can just make out the crosshair over my pupil where I'm carefully listening for the sasquatch's magic melody. (N.B The sasquatch can easily be confused with the yeti out of Dr Who in 1968 with Patrick Troughton and not the Tom Baker version from Witness to a Murder Pt II featuring David Walliams and Matt Lucas, but you have to be very discerning to know the difference between a sasquatch and a yeti as the only real difference is they have different feet. Ozzy Osbourne has his own sasquatch which he uses in sasquatch throwing competitions). Now coz I was overthinking everything, which I did, but with the best of intentions may I add, I noticed at about 1 min 17 secs into the track Chad's peddling too hard on the footpedal so you can just about make out I use a quantec room simulator patched in parallel with an analogue delay coz we weren't using pro tools. It happens at 1.26 into the song, that's the sound I always make when beating people running in a fairly straight line as you can see. Now at 1.36 Chad presses the Fb minor deceased chord way too hard and I get pissed off, but I'm ovethinking things and quite rightly he gets a bit pissed off so we took a break from writing this song at 1.49 into the second bongo solo and went for lunch at Tootsies round the corner. As the studio footage shows after we take a break after lunch I start working on the top line melody. I start busking some lyrics and I'm planning ahead here so I start working out some love lyrics for the 'Little Britain' album (who the fuck would use Tom Baker for a voice over, it's got to be a joke, right?) I start throwing some lyrics into the mix about "understanding a woman" and stuff and "not wanting to hurt a woman" pretty much the lyrical direction I went in for 'Little Britain'. Chad, playing himself during this writing session footage starts to knock a few ideas around the studio, bouncing them off the producer, you can see this creative process unfolding around 2.25 into the song, where he's bouncing some ideas off me, he did this quite regularly. I try my spring delay on the track at about 2.28 as were bouncing ideas of each other here as you can see, Steve Austin's a bit perplexed as he thinks this is a mutual process, but he goes along with the sasquatch's ideas anyway. Now the footage suddenly cuts back to EMI world headquarters where the board are watching this writing session from the boardroom where they aren't happy with the lyrics so they intervene as they've been monitoring the album unfold. Everyone was always fucking siding with the sasquatch, the bastards. They never saw Steve Austin's point of view as the sasquatch totally had Steve Austin fooled, so Steve Austin goes along with it and ditches his creative principles, just for the one album and as you can see, I totally crash and burn, and from about 3.10 it all goes downhill and I'm pretty much spent as a creative force, don't bother listening to the rest of this song, it's just fucking repetitive, although Andie's hi hat work gets really good, Chad's on the orchestra and I'm on the spring delay. Chads guitar work suffers at about 4.35 into this song as he picks a much too heavy plectrum. I try to reason with him but I can't concentrate coz Andie just keeps going and fucking going on the hi hats then at about 5.50 he starts a drum solo, so in retaliation I think: "Right if you're doing your solo I'm gonna play the guitar solo from 'Kiss' by Steve Austin's hero and mentor, The Artist Formally Known as Prince." You can hear me retaliate to Andie's drum solo at 6.02 into the song with the solo from 'Kiss' and Chad samples the strings for the intro for 'Attack of the Grey Album' LP coz he's looking for his flute which he finds by 6.15 into the song. That's how we did 'Soundtrack 4 2 Lovers' and that's pretty much how we did most of our tracks really, no really, that's exactly how we worked together, ask anyone who knows the band, but there were some tracks that were hard to work on too. I think Stove was operating the video camera. I can't remember who Marlene was, I think she might have been shagging Robert Plant on the stairwell. Oh shit!! I'm really sorry about this. That was the wrong Youtube link. Here's the correct one. I remember now, I didn't have anything to do with that track, I forgot. Just re-read it watching the new footage.

Compile your 'THE DEAD FLOWERS REJECT' album in that order.

9. EP TRACKS AND OUTAKES There were 2 other EP tracks recorded during the 'Six' sessions as well as 3 acoustic tracks destined for the 'Six' EPs:

FACE IN THE CROWD This was an instrumental recording made by Chad. It was one of the backing tracks he brought in from his studio set up in the house next to the studio that I would try and make a record out of. I couldn't come up with a melody for it and it leant itself to being an instrumental anyway. The recording was made on a small portastudio and the released version is that same recording, mixed in the studio by Spike. I'm not sure where the title came from on this one as it was Chad's track but could have been from a book.

HIDEOUT About the grey house.

OBSCURE MANSUN FACT NUMBER 7 - Who the fuck is Dark Mavis? She's a bloke actually, someone who helped the band out loads at the start so I thought they deserved their own song. I just borrowed the name, the song's nothing to do with the real person. Last night I did a special acoustic recording of Dark Mavis in a grey attic while watching the Olympics as a tribute to the man himself.

There is no strange fact number 6.

MANSUN'S ONLY ACOUSTIC SONG An acoustic version of one of the tracks from 'Attack of the Grey Lantern'. I remember listening back to what we'd released so far and seeing which tracks leant themselves to being recorded acoustically. This song fitted the bill. We recorded this back in Chester in the grey house, we had a studio set up upstairs while taking a few days off from the 'Six' sessions back down in London.

ACOUSTIC JUMP NOSE Recorded at the same time as the above. It was labelled 'Ski Jump Nose (Acoustic)' on the EP after I had a creative block.

THE ACOUSTIC COLLAPSE OF IT ALL This is the actual footage of me recording the actual song that went out on the actual record, recorded at the same time as the 2 previous tracks.

EXISTING OUTTAKES There are demos/outtakes of the following tracks still in existence: Bobblehat Dr Funkoffski Pentagram As well as outtakes from 'Anti Everything' (instrumental), 'Six' (instrumental) and 'Legacy' (rough). Click here to listen to the demos. 'Dr Funkoffski' became 'Fall Out'. 'Dr Funkoffski' was the working title of 'Fall Out' because I'd programmed the drum machine and worked on it up in my studio in the attic and I felt like the character from the TV show 'Fame' called Bruno who also had a musical laboratory in the show. I had my Linn Drum machine, a Casio VL Tone (which was the first keyboard I'd ever owned) as well as a few other odds and sods. In the show 'Fame', Bruno wrote a song about his music teacher, Mr Shorofsky. As my drum programming was aping back to a bootleg of a Prince demo 'Irresistible Bitch' which was a Minneapolis Sound drum machine driven funk version of the track and not like the finished release, then it was settled. The track I was about to embark on would have the working title 'Dr Funkoffski'. The outtake is the unedited backing track I worked out with Andie, I cut some his drumming and my drum machine out to make the song work over the top. I gave Andie a plan where to drop real drums in, in between my drum programming and we had a rhythmic crimp off with me on my Linn 1 drum machine and Andie on his kit. You can hear me joining in on acoustic guitar trying to outdo Chad's bum note on 'Inverse Midas'. I think it was a score draw. I put my guitars thru the Mutator and Bel flanger as you can hear. Then put my acoustic guitar thru the bel flanger after it was recorded, moving the speed of the 'flange' round. Actual footage from the attic of me writing 'Dr Funkoffski'. 'Bobblehat' became 'Inverse Midas' but was known as 'Bobblehat' because Chad wore a bobblehat when writing and recording it. I think I came up with the title 'Inverse Midas' from the lyrics. This is absolutely true. 'Cancer' was known as 'Pentagram' as a pisstake in the studio because it had 6 different songs in 1.

10. SIX TOUR There was always shit going down on the tours and live appearances, amps going off, concerts and festivals not played, and it really didn't matter if I had 2, 4, 6, 8 or 10 monitors, all I ever got was bloody bass thru 'em anyway. Of course it all made sense many years later, but to go through all those events really was one step forward and two steps backwards. The gigs just petered out over time as it just became impossible to tour with all these events occurring. One night I was even close to choking to death on stage. We only did a few dozen shows after the 'Six' tour. During the 'Six' tour we went right round the UK and Europe, the Far East, Japan and one big gig in Hong Kong, but we never got back to the US, 'Six' was just too weird. By the time we reached the final date of the whole tour in Oxford the whole thing collapsed. 5 minutes before going on stage we had to abandon the concert. Silly that nobody would tell me why, it was all too cryptic, as things would have been so much different. We never did get to play the whole album live, and of course, there'll be no more greatest hits tours for the devotees. We taped the shows to capture the live performances for a DVD release after the tour had finished. That idea petered out along with everything else after the 'Six' tour. We included some unedited footage from Brixton Academy on the 'Legacy' singles collection released in 2006. Here you can see ' The Chad Who Loved Me' and ' Being a Girl'. We compiled a whole set of rushes for the DVD of the 'Six' Tour. It was filmed by Grant Gee who made the excellent Radiohead documentary, 'Meeting People Is Easy'. We recorded all the sound onto 2" tape and the unmixed taped remains unreleased. Here is our live performance of 'The Chad Who Loved Me' at Shea Stadium in 1966.

11. VIDEOS There were 4 promotional videos made for the 'Six' album. The most successful video we'd made at that point was the 'Taxloss' video which we didn't appear in. We were away touring and couldn't fit making a video into our schedule. When the video treatment for 'Legacy' was submitted I thought it would be a good idea to continue with this theme of not appearing in the videos ourselves. Instead we would make a series of short films to accompany the singles. The 'Legacy' video was a sarcastic dig at the whole idea of making a pop video, and being a band in general. It was surprisingly true to real life. It's been copied a few times since. Next came the 'Being a Girl' promo video. The campest video ever made, hilarious! A young Danny Dyer appears in this video. Third up was the video for 'Negative'. This was shot in the style of an Alfred Hitchcock movie. The way the title comes up at the start is great, very Hitchcock. Quite a scary video too. We were asked to appear in the video for the last single, a re-recording from the album version of the title track 'Six'. So people knew what we looked like! The re-recording of the record was produced by Arthur Baker. We went for a totally sparse video, and parodied Stanley Dorfman's videos for David Bowie's 'Be My Wife' for the main part of the track and 'Heroes' with the middle 8 section.

12. LIFE AFTER SIX The repercussions for the band after these sessions were far reaching and the sequence of events that unfolded from the sessions eventually led to the band's demise. The band weren't happy working with me in my capacity as a producer of the music. With hindsight I realise it's very difficult to have someone in a band trying to produce that same band. I had always tried to work round that. Mansun had started as my control room project, everyone was happy to go along with that until that method of working made the band successful. Then attitudes changed. I gave up the reigns after the 'Six' sessions, I had no choice, I was ousted, and we brought in an outside producer for the next record. Hugh Padgham was brought in and the record had to be recorded as a four piece for the first time (as opposed to all the recordings in this blog which were recorded as a three piece with me producing/co-producing). We recorded the whole album as a four piece but the recordings were rejected. We re-recorded it from scratch as a three piece with Hugh Padgham producing and that was the release version. After 'Little Kix' Cliff Norrell had been brought in to produce the band next, and I had been relegated to just rhythm guitar and vocals by this time. Everyone seemed much happier, pleased even, even though things were going downhill rapidly. Everyone in the band wanted different things from it. We went from recording as a three piece to a four piece again. Of course none of these recordings got released, they were rejected. So we were getting deeper and deeper into the shit because the band just weren't happy with the way the first two albums were made, and we had to find yet another way to work. A compromise was struck, I would be reinstated as a producer but we would have to record live as a four piece. Richard Rainey, U2's engineer, was brought in to co-produce with me. We did 3 weeks recording as a four piece. It didn't work. Finally, finally, we went back to recording as a three piece with me producing with Richard. So right back to the start of the 'Six' sessions. These final recordings you can hear on the album 'Kleptomania' which was released after we split. It was the finest body of music we had made. Before we had chance to finish 'Kleptomania', it became apparent that members of the band weren't happy about going back to how we'd recorded 'Attack of the Grey Lantern' and 'Six'. This caused a lot of tension during the sessions and the relationships fractured during the final couple of weeks of recording the album. We had to disband Mansun as there was simply no way to record any material happily as a band. The 'Kleptomania' album was released a year after we split. It remains to this day, and was released, unfinished.

13. OUTRO I never regret anything about that band or even look back these days. I wrote about that in the track 'These Days' as the band drew to its inevitable conclusion. That song, which was an honest assessment of how I'd come to feel about being in a rock n roll band, is in fact part of a bigger set of songs, the unfinished 'Kleptomania', that lyrically chronicles the death of a rock n roll band in real time, I just didn't know it at the time. Although I like the fact that we ended our recorded output on what I think is my best and most positive lyric, 'Good intentions Heal the Soul'. There's a lesson for you. I guess I spread myself too thin during those recording sessions, Jack of all trades, master of none, but in the end none of that really mattered. Because in the end your whole life turns on very small events, not the big ones. A conversation here, a phone call there, a wrong decision here, not taking someones advice there, not telling someone something somewhere else etc... As relationships break down people just don't see it. As time passes people start to see things as they really were. They just couldn't see it before. You see there was a lot of irony in those first 2 Mansun albums, but rock n roll and irony just don't mix, people don't get it. (Except for Achtung Baby, of course.) People might rediscover 'Six' one day, but for now, to all those people who love the record, to all the people who tell me to this day it's their favourite record, to all those people who came and loved the tour, then cheers to you all and long may it continue! The tour itself was tortuous but still voted tour of the year in Melody Maker (which is the only accolade we ever got, apart from that fucking Jo Malone candle). I suppose even the front cover's stuck over time. As for being the biggest cult band ever, or 'Six' being the biggest cult record ever, well that's shat, it just means you didn't shift as many units as Oasis. So it begs the question. What the fuck is 'Six'? What do I make of 'Six'? Well my personal belief is that it's essentially, at the core, just a rock n roll record. Because whatever it took, whatever the cost, I did exactly what I truly believed in. You've got to get out there and whatever they throw at you, get that fucking record made and get the shows done. That to me embodies the true spirit of rock n roll. It didn't matter how many amps blew up, monitors broke, bottles came flying over, collapsing mic stands. You never did get me off that stage. Sometimes I even have a little chuckle about all those events, firstly coz I lived to tell the tale of 'Six', the tour and the repercussions, but I suppose some things are best left firmly in the past. So all that remains to be said is this: Dust off your old copy of 'Six'. Stick it in the CD player and sit back and listen. When Tom Baker comes on, just take it out of the tray, flip the disk over, flip it over again, put it back in, and put side 2 on. Sit back, crack open a beer and listen again... So, as it's apt at the moment.

Viva Rock n Roll!

Viva 'Six'!

Be seeing you......