Welcome to the 'Sun Album and Memphis' Question & Answer Special!
All questions were answered by Dave Bartram early in April 2008, just prior to the release of the new album and commencement of UK wide theatre tour.
From Pete Tustain, Banbury:
Do the band intend to put some of the new material into the show for the forthcoming 70s tour?
Were the band aware of the Brian Setzer Sun Sessions album from a couple of years ago and if so did it influence this album?
I came across the Brian Setzer album while I was researching the Sun catalogue. I can't say I was over-impressed as it was basically a live take on a few Sun tracks. It certainly had no influence on what we set out to achieve.
Did the guys (particularly the guitarists) feel that the Sun Studio experience caused a change in their sound?
Danny did all the guitar work at Sun. There is most definitely a unique kind of earthy sound that comes out of Sun. It'll be interesting to see if you can spot which guitar parts were recorded there!
Did you use any old recording equipment eg old tape echo machines?
The album was not mixed at Sun. The range of equipment there is pretty limited, but we did have some fun using some old amps. The tape echo is far too noisy for more modern recording.
Did Romeo put old pig skins on his kit for that warm drum sound or did he stick to a regular modern kit?
The drum tracks were all recorded at Foel in Wales. Romeo used a modern Premier kit. However we did experiment a lot to try and get a more retro sound.
What snare did Romeo use in Sun for the album?
Kit was a Premier Genista. Snares used were a Mapex piccolo 12" and a Ludwig Black Beauty 14". We did actually use some other samples on the mixes to vary the sound a little more.
Nick Le Poidevin from Eastbourne:
What was the best part of recording in Memphis? And in Wales?
The best part of Recording at Sun was the amazing aura that surrounded the place. We were only there for 5 days, but I can honestly say I enjoyed every minute. It was so inspirational!
The best thing about Foel in Wales was the remoteness of the studio. No distractions -apart from sheep- a great sounding rock & roll studio, ideal for what we were trying to do. No frills or gimmicks, just a proper studio.
Which is each band member's favourite track on the new album and why?
I have to say it's a tough call as we like most of the songs, that's why we recorded them. But purely personal prefences for no particular reason are:
Danny - Let's Go, Let's Go, Let's Go.
Dave - Uh Huh Oh Yeh
Al - Flyin' Saucer Rock & Roll
Trev - Betcha Gonna Like It
Romeo - Betcha Gonna Like It
Rod - Who Will The Next Fool Be
In terms of sales, what would be a good number for this album?
Difficult to say - around 25,000 UK sales would be good.
On the back of recent album/DVD successes, are the band ever likely to record any new self penned tracks?
Quite a possibilty. Everything hinges on how the new album does.
Are there any plans for further albums and tours or is it too soon to ask?
Same answer really. If the album is well received we'll more than likely do a number of theatre dates featuring the songs from Sun.
Sue Roulet asks:
Will be touring on their own or are they only touring as part of the Sweet/Rubettes package?
The only tour we are concentrating on for now will be just the package with Sweet & The Rubettes.
From Paul Fixter, Wakefield:
What's the story behind the wall that you are writing on in the pic on the website homepage?
We did a photo session in a disused warehouse in Denmark. The wall just looked very rock & roll. No hidden meanings!
(Later addition to this
question from Dave): On
the Q&A question from yourself, I got the complete wrong end of the stick as
regards the wall I was signing! I didn't realise you had a photo of me signing
the wall outside of Graceland, and thought you were referring to the old
publicity shot of the band. A senior moment perhaps!
Everyone who visits Graceland signs the wall surrounding that amazing place. Myself & Danny were no exception.
Was the recording approached in a different manner to normal, ie did you all play “live”, did you use different (older?) equipment for a more authentic sound?
The recording was approached far differently this time around. We rehearsed for 2 months solid prior to recording. The Sun songs had to have a live edge to them, and we rehearsed every song as if we'd be doing it in our live set.
It's virtually impossible to get a good sounding album by all playing live together. The lack of separation is a nightmare, especially when it comes to mixing.
What about instruments – did you use your regular studio gear?
We used a whole range of equipment, in particular about 12 different amps. The album would have sounded a little samey had we not done that. There are church organs, honky tonk pianos, 70's synths and all sorts of weird percussion instruments to name but a few things we tried.
How was the album researched? Were all the recordings you listened to in you personal collection or did you have access to special archives? How many songs did you listen to and how hard was it to narrow it down to 20 songs?
The album research took me the best part of 3 months. I firstly got some recommendations from some old rockers in the business, and then contacted Sun, who were really helpful, and provided MP3's. I also went onto numerous internet sites and listened to thousands of songs. I ordered around 30 CD's also.
There are 9,800 titles in the Sun catalogue. I didn't heavily research the Blues & Country sections, so that took out around 2000 titles. I concentrated on Rock & Roll, Rockabilly, Soul & Pop. After narrowing the number down to around 30 outstanding songs, I started playing them to the band. It was difficult getting it down to 20, but when we began rehearsing some of the songs didn't quite come together in the same way as others, so it soon became clear which ones suited the band best and became more obvious which would be the better songs to record.
How did the association with Voiceprint come about? Do you approach different companies to see if they are interested, or do companies approach the band?
It was actually a friend of a friend who gave me the introduction to Rob at Voiceprint. We spoke and seemed to be on totally the same wavelength. When he asked why we'd never done an album dedicated to Sun, I said, "Because we're gonna do one with your label". He said "OK let's do it!" They are a small Indie operation, but the input and enthusiasm for this project has been like a breath of fresh air. Which I think helped in the making of the album.
Graham Goodall asks:
Have the band got a company doing the marketing for the album?
Voiceprint have a PR team and marketing consultant on the case.
Will flyers for the album be handed out at the 70s gigs?
No flyers, if people enjoy the Sun songs featured in the set hopefully they'll want a copy of the album.
Will there be an advert in the 70's programme for the album?
Yes, there is an Ad in the tour brochure.
Where will the album be publicised? Can we be notified of where and when?
It will be featured in various music industry rags, and we'll be doing heavy radio promo for the next couple of months.
When will "promo" copies be distributed to the media?
Promo's have already been sent to many Industry people, and are going out to radio stations as we speak.
Did Jonathan Ross ever mentioned SWW going on his TV show when they went to his studio for Radio 2?
It's not Jonathan's call. His producer makes all the decisions, and tends to favour more "current" bands.
Dawn Russell, and also Jacky McDonald ask:
Why did the girl who won competition to go to Memphis, not actually go WITH you? I got the impression the prize was exactly that. I’m sure I’m not the only one who would have given their right arm to go. Good luck with the tour and album.
It was too short notice for her to drop everything and go, and the expense of taking her partner was too great. I understand she has booked to go in a couple of weeks or so!
There is talk of an EP later in the year with 2 new tracks that are not on the "Sun Album", what are these two new songs?
We recorded 19 songs for The Sun Album. The 2 tracks that were not included "Iko Iko" and "Drive-In" will more than likely be included on an EP, but this won't be for a good while yet!
Andrea Meller from Germany and Markus Klenner, also from Germany ask:
Is the tour coming to Germany, or will Showaddywaddy be coming to Germany soon?
Germany seems to have gone really quiet recently. We have no gigs lined up at present. However, the album will be released in Germany before the end of the summer.
Showaddywaddy's new album is released on Voiceprint Records
Limited edition boxsets distributed April 2008, and standard album/DVD available at theatre tour gigs, commencing 20th April 2008
Available on general release in June from Voiceprint Records - click here to order your copy!
Finally, some questions not relating to the new album..............
The band are often (unfairly) described as a covers band. In the late 70s, do you regret not releasing more own-band compositions instead? If you had gone down this road how do you think the band's career might have gone?
Of course as a writer it was a little frustrating that more original songs were not considered! Who knows what may have happened? It would've been quite nice if some young bands had recorded some of our original songs!
Just to finally clear things up once and for all, who released UNDER THE MOON OF LOVE first, you or Mud? Did their writers (Chinn & Chapman) ever approach you with material to record?
Mud included the song as an album track at around the same time as we were recording it. I think our version is much more 'vibey'
which is probably why there's wasn't considered as a single. Chinn & Chapman largely wrote for the RAK record label. We were never approached to record any of their songs.
John Carr, Merseyside:
Which bass players does Al James admire? What basses does he use, and which amps?
Al always admired John Entwhistle. The bass players are sponsored by Peavey so we try various of their amps. Favourite bass is the band's ancient Fender Precision.
Nick Le Poidevin:
What are the sales figures to date for I Love Rock n Roll?
Figures are just in excess of 30,000.
Julie Green from Barnsley:
Would the band consider doing a one off gig, short run of dates or weekend convention were they could meet die hard fans and maybe play some of their original songs?
Not as easy as it sounds. To prepare for such a gig would take weeks. We have talked about doing some form of personal appearance for site fans but it has not yet come to fruition.
There are still a lot of us old fans around and new ones who are interested in merchandise. Much of this merchandise is bootlegs as eBay and YouTube have shown. Are the band going be releasing any of their own to stop this, eg calendar , maybe a dvd with the promotional footage to early songs such as Daddy Gees, Always & Ever etc?
We do not own the rights to the early video footage, and have been slapped in the face every time we try to do a DVD of those tracks. People talk telephone numbers for the rights, which consequently don't allow the concept to be a viable proposition.
I know that the band said the Memphis competition was a one off , but would they consider doing one where a fan could win a day with the band and be a VIP at a gig either by raffle are auction it (or both) but open it to members of the showaddywaddy.net?
I think the lack of response to the recent competition would probably mean this idea is an unlikely starter!
David Cassidy’s set at White City in 1974 was recorded for a live album release. Do you know if any of SWW’s set was recorded?
I don't think there were any recordings made of the band at that concert. Certainly nothing has ever come to light!