I now have a date set to go to EMI’s offices in London to go over possible photos and artwork, and review the sleeve credits for the first planned release, which is an album of my singles with an accompanying DVD containing all the videos. From EMI I will go to Abbey Road where I’ll supervise the mastering of this album. All I really need to do is to decide on the gaps between songs, and make sure the song volumes all balance up, and none are too tinny or too bassy sounding in relation to each other. For those of you who understand the nuances of remastering, I should say that I am opposed to lots of adaptive limiting, which has the effect of making a CD very loud, but at the expense of subtlety and dynamics.
On the same day I will go over the track listings for ‘The Golden Age Of Wireless’ and ‘The Flat Earth’. I’m glad to say EMI are very open to doing this with my input—in fact they have hired an independent consultant, whom I know from way back when he was still an employee there, to oversee the project, and have pretty much given him free rein to define how the re-releases look and sound—and he is very eager to take direction from me as to the specific choices. It’s been very helpful getting feedback from people on this blog, and it reinforces my view that the main aim of these re-releases should be to reproduce the albums they way they originally appeared, but to add in good rarities that have been hard for fans to get hold of over the years. It’s not however a reason to cram everything and the kitchen sink onto a disk, regardless of whether I feel it’s up to scratch musically. Nor do I care much for faddy formats that can only be enjoyed by a small minority of people, and which may well have been swallowed up within a few years.
There may be a different running order for the US version of the re-releases, where people are accustomed to a different version of several of the songs, as well as a whole other running order.
I’m pleased that I get to supervise this and make sure it’s done right. But as I’m writing this blog, I’m watching a bounce go down to disk of some guitar parts Kevin Armstrong played on a brand new song of mine, and it’s sounding fantastic. I have to confess there’s a thrill and a buzz about doing the new material that surpasses anything I can muster for rehashing old material! What’s done is done, but this is the future we’re talking about now.
On another note altogether, Kathleen and I felt it was high time we initiate our kids (17, 15, and nearly 13) into the delights of This Is Spinal Tap. Considering Graham, our youngest, is now a drummer in a hard rock band at school, it was inevitable. He was getting fed up of us quoting the Tap at the supper table, and wanted in on the joke. So I ordered a DVD off Amazon, the special edition one with an hour’s extra footage plus commentary by the band, and we made a bowl of popcorn, projected it on one of the big screens from my tour, and sat back to enjoy it. The kids have been quoting from it all day, and it’s hard to dodge the old cliches as I sit here blogging about my former glories while some cool guitars bounce down on my G5. Currently residing in the ‘where are they now’ file? Let’s hope not.