Full Recording Diary coming January 2003
Until then, Here Is A Teaser:


Day One: Sunday July 29 2001

Location: The Container, North Wales

Moved into

The Container with

Mark O'Grady. Mark has worked as a programmer on Rise and Coloursound.

I am hoping to follow the creative route of the Rise album, which entails doing three sets of demo sessions.

Phase one is usually just me and an acoustic guitar, but this time I wanted to incorporate Mark O'Grady into the equation at a very early stage, rather than trying to graft his electronic creations on at the end.

The basic recording equipment is an Apple Mac G4 Dual processor computer, a MOTU 1208 interface and a focusrite channel strip.

The first track I present to Mark is called Free Inside. Mark tapped out a basic 4/4 beat and I put down an

acoustic guide of the song. I played Mark a couple of CD's to give some indication of the sound/direction I envisage for the track.

Love Will Tear Us Apart - Joy Division

Just Like Heaven - The Cure

Beautiful Day - U2

I left Mark to his own devices and headed back to the house to see James Stevenson.

I have invited James Stevenson to play guitar at this early stage as we have only ever worked in a reproductive capacity. I think it is important that we test our creative working relationship before I get too deep into the arrangements.

He has arrived with loads of guitar effects, a Fender electric twelve string, his Gibson Les Paul Gold Top, Epiphone Texan Acoustic with De Armond pickup.

Also, earlier in the day he visited a guitar show in Manchester and bought a beautiful valve Wem copycat tape echo. Which I'm sure we will put to good use.

Mike Peters




Day Two: Monday July 30 2001

Location: The Container, North Wales

Went to meet up with Mark at the container. Mark has done some work on 'Free Inside' which works really well. It's all drum loops and weird noises, but I know what's going to go on top so no problem.

Next I want to give him some guides for the next two tracks. First up is 'Trafficking'. From CD, I play Mark 'When The Levee Breaks' by Led Zeppelin as I want to build the demo around a loop of John Bonham which can be taken from the front end of the track.

Mark quickly creates the loop and

I use James' acoustic Epiphone to lay the guide down. The track sounds cool straight away, and I can tell Mark is excited about this one, especially as I have left him a 36 bar gap to fill with some Pink Floyd style weirdness.


Mike Peters


Day Three: Tuesday August 01 2001

Location: The Container, North Wales

I have to admit to a certain ammount of trepidation on my part towards working with James, especially in a creative capacity. That's why I wanted us to get to work early, just the two of us, without the rest of the band.

Before heading to The Container, James asked me to listen to a new song, he thought would be ideal for the album. His idea immediately inspires me and before you could say 'song' we had one. No title as yet but very promising.

We then head down to the studio and the backing track to 'Trafficking' is pounding out, Mark has created a very cool soundscape for us to start work on. I show James the riff and he pulls out a small

Selmer amp that he purchasedyesterday and plugs the Les paul Gold Top into it. Mike Jones arrives and places a shure SM58 in front of the amp and it sounds great.

One of the things I asked Mark to create for the track was a sequence in the middle that works alongside the lines of Pink Floyd's Brain Damage from Dark Side Of The Moon coupled with the middle of The Who's 'Won't Get Fooled Again'.

James lays down a bass track aswell, (he is a really good bass player as I soon found out). I lay down a vocal track which we relayed through the old

Wem valve tape echo, which sounds really warm. I've got a feeling we will be usingthis unit a lot on the proper album recording sessions.

James also played a very simple 'glam' style solo over the outtro and Mark runs of a rough mix and the track is sounding like a monster.

Next up is 'True Life'. This song started out life during 'Rise' and was known as 'Break Bread With Me'. At the time, I felt it needed a stronger chorus. While I was playing the guide for the song, James suggested a subtle change to the third chord in the chorus, making the F into a Dm augmented. It worked brilliantly.

We both played some electric 12 string on the track, but James part was far superior to what I had in mind.

I then spent a while experimenting with some harmonies and the tracks eemed to finish itself.

We then decided to tackle the guitars on 'Free Inside'. Because I know the song James wants me to play the parts down, so first I put a bass part down, and then overdub some electric 12 string. The riff is inspired in part from the times I spent with Billy Duffy, using an open D string droning above the main melody line played on the G string.

The track sounds great, although I think it will sound better a little faster. I dub some harmonies onto the chorus and again mix the track.

Back to True Life and Mark O'Grady lays down a string synth part which adds to the overall effect.

It's four o'clock in the morning and I have burnt off a CD with five tracks, 'Trafficking', 'True Life', 'Free Inside' and 'Kaleidoscope', 'Festival Of Light' from a previous demo session held immediately after 'Rise'. The album is under way.......

Some great things came out of today, James Stevenson is a revelation, he knows exactly what I am trying to create as a writer and I could tell that he had thought long and hard about what kind of songs we need. He also has a firm grip on the direction of the album sonically, he has taken on board all we have talked about during those endless jourleys across America during The Alarm 2001 tour.

I can't wait to involve the others... Have to go now though, because I have to be up at 6.00 a.m. to travel to Cardiff to record with DMW.

Mike Peters.


Day Four: Friday August 09 2001

Location: MPO Office, North Wales

Mike Jones buys a ton of recording equipment to augment the recording sessions proper from Digital Village in West London..

1 x Furman PI 8e Power Conditioner

1 x Neumann U87 Aimt Microphone

3 x Shure SM57 Mic Microphone

1 x Akg C3000b Microphone

1 x TL Audio Classic C1 Sp

2 x TL Audio 5051 Voice Processors

2 x TL Audio 5001 Mic pre amp

1 x Motu 1296 Core Recording System

4 x Beyer DT100 Headphones


Day Five: Friday August 17 2001

Location: Black Swans Rehearsal Room, North Wales

P.M. Went to the Black Swans rehearsal room to get away from the phones etc.

I wanted to work on some songs and set myself up with a Boss drum machine and acoustic guitar.

I specifically wanted to work on a song I played live at The Gathering called 'Days', I felt that whilst the song had potential, it needed a stronger chorus, which I think I've written. I changed the key of the song from D down to B. Immediately, it felt better to sing and I started to get an idea for a new lyric. I spent most of the afternoon working on it and was messing around with an acoustic demo when the Black Swans arrived, guitarist Tom remarked that he remembered the song from G9 which I thought was amazing as he'd only ever heard it once before. I was toying with a guitar part when Tom, Sarah and drummer Jamie offered the services of the Black Swans to try the song out live. I took them up on the offer.

We had a quick run through of the song with all of the Black Swans suggesting a few changes to the arrangement, it started to sound like it had real potential, a weird cross between, 'This Life' from the Coloursound album and 'Rain In The Summertime'. It was quite an experience for me to play with these young musicians, average age 17, very enjoyable and inspiring.

Next day


Day Six: Thursday August 30 2001

Location: The Vibrating Room, Moelfre, North Wales

I had arranged for

Steve Grantley to come up to Wales for a couple of days, to try out some drum sounds in the Vibrating Room.

The vibrating room is in a farmhouse in a hidden valley in Moelfre, near Abergele in North Wales. Twist the old drummer in The Alarm used to live here back in the late seventies, and as Seventeen, we used to rehearse in this particular room around 1978.

The name 'Vibrating Room' came about when I was recording the 'Coloursound' album here with Billy Duffy and Craig Adams. Craig's bass playing was so low down and dirty that whenever he hit a bottom E the roof of the room would vibrate, hence 'Vibrating Room'.


Mike Jones was setting up the studio gear, I plugged my Gibson Les Paul Custom into my Matchless combo and ripped through a load of the guitar parts I have in mind, some sound great straight away.

Steve arrived around 6 o'clock in the evening and we spent most of the night toying with the sound of the drums,

Mike Jones is very pleased with the valve mic pre- amps we have bought and the drums sound excellent, evrything we could have hoped for.

We jammed on a few riffs and

Steve was starting to pick out a few beats based on what little he knows of the songs to come. We leave around 9, the plan being to come in early and just blast through as many songs as we can the next day.


Day Seven: Friday August 31 2001

Location: The Vibrating Room, Moelfre, North Wales

The day started earlier than expected, I have a new song called 'Right Back Where I Started From', While we were getting ready to leave the house, Steve Grantley hears me jamming the song on my acoustic, he is very enthusiastic about it, although I don't have any lyrics as yet, Steve's enthusiasm is engaging and a lyric starts to form in my mind, I write it down before we leave, it just flows out.

We arrive at the Vibrating Room, and Mike Jones is already to go, I put a list of 10 songs up on the wall and we start with the first one 'Close', Steve rigs up a drum machine and I lay down a rough acoustic guide of the arrangement, verse chorus verse etc., we make a few changes here and there, then Steve lays down a couple of drum takes that work really well straight away.

The pattern of the day mirrors this procedure followed by 'Few & Far Between', which is very much like 'Alive' from the Coloursound sessions.

Then we try the song I played with the Black Swans - 'Now Is All That I've Got', which gives us a little trouble, but Steve's enthusiasm gets us through. I'm still not convinced by this song, but Steve refuses to give up on it and we get a good drum take in the end, although I think I may have to revisit the song at some point.

Then comes the new 'Back Where I Started', which Steve gets in one take.....

Then song number 5 for the day 'The Normal Rules Do Not Apply', Steve creates an atmospheric drum pattern on his machine, and I lay down a guide vocal, Steve is really into this song, and suggests that the arrangement should explode near the end, Steve explains all this to me with arm swings, he's throwing guitar shapes and playing air drums, I know what he means and all of a sudden the song has emerged as one of my favourites, I've got a feeling about this one......

It's been a long day and at 10 o'clock we break off and head for a pint.... a well deserved one for Mr. Grantley.


Day Eight: Wednesday September 5 2001

Location: Black Swans Rehearsal Room,

Rhuddlan, North Wales

James Stevenson and I came back from London last night to begin work on laying down some guitar textures over Steve's rough drum guides.

The first track we worked on was 'Close' which came up great from the get go. I have a part in mind built around an e-bow, a sound often used in the eighties by Big Country, it was used on Declaration a lot particularly during the middle of Howling Wind.

James and I have decided to use a lot of effects on the guitars and James has brought for this session an old, very hard to find, pedal called a Rangemaster, which is apparantly the pedal used by Eric Clapton on the classic Bluesbreakers album. He has also brought up an old

Watkins Scout amplifier which is quite small and versatile for doing demos.

Throughout the day we worked backwards and forwards across most of the tracks with either James or

myself laying down bass guitar and then me shwoing James the guitare chords and any particular riffs, then James would expand on them or leave them as they are.

We knocked off early because England were playing Germany in a World Cup Qualifier...


Day Nine: Thursday September 6 2001

Location: Black Swans Rehearsal Room, Rhuddlan, North Wales

Late the previous evening, James Stevenson and I finished the new song that James had begun, it is now called 'All', we have no drums to demo this track over, so I create a loop pattern on the M1 keyboard and James lays down some guitars that are very Mick Ronsonesque, very 'Hunky Dory', the song has lot of potential and as a first song from the Peters/Stevenson songwriting team not a bad start at all.

Again, we play guitars across all of the tracks at random, it gets a bit confusing at some points, but it turns out to be a very creative session, we learn a lot about the songs, and once we get to play them all together as a band, I think we have the makings of an excellent piece of work.


Day Ten: Friday September 7 2001

Location: Black Swans Rehearsal Room, Rhuddlan, North Wales

Dropped James Stevenson off at the railway station for the journey back to London.

Went to the studio to do some more work with Mike Jones, put some vocals down on 'Close', it's bit high, but sounds very vibey.

Still trying to decide on the best room for the main recording sessions, on an impulse we decided to visit the Kinmel Hall were a lot of the 'Change' album was conceived. Met with Steve, the propietor, who took us around and showed us all the renovations that had gone on since my last visit of 1989.

Last time, we worked in the Gym, this time however, providing the owner gives us the go ahead, we will work in the main ballroom. Mike Jones is very excited about the prospect of recording here. Fingers crossed...


Day Eleven: Sunday September 9 2001

Location: North Wales

Had a call from Dave Sharp today, re ongoing conversations of how/if/when we can get together to play some music.

It's kind of weird coming from him at this late stage, especially after all the persuading I have tried to do over the last few years.

I told Dave that after my trip to New Orleans, when he turned everything down flat, I had made commitments to James, Richard and Steve and that unless Dave was talking about Nigel and Eddie and a full Alarm reunion, (Which he isn't / doesn't want to go there etc.), I reiterated my promise to him that he was welcome to join in with my own plans etc. as long as he recognises it has to be on my terms until we have established enough of a musical relationship / friendship to create something new for the future.

I invited him to come to North Wales in the next few weeks to jam/record with the band and see what happens..... Dave feels it is too short notice for him.

I also invited him to the Gathering 10 which he has agreed to..... he will come to the rehearsals and we will play some songs together during the weekend and then take it from there.

Mike Peters


Day Twelve: Monday September 10 2001


Black Swans Rehearsal Room, Rhuddlan, North Wales

Met up with

Mike Jones to record some guitars on the tracks, re did a bass track on 'Normal Rules' and also did a rough mix of

'Close', James Stevensons E-bow parts are fantastic. I'm thinking of slightly slowing the track down and

redoing the vocal part, it seems a bit fast to me.

Managed to speak to John Fox who owns the Kinmel Hall, I am going to meet him on Thursday to discuss the posibility of recording in there. He seems keen so I am hopeful.

Mike Peters


Day Thirteen: Tuesday September 11 2001

Location: Black Swans Rehearsal Roon, Rhuddlan, North Wales

Day thirteen, and as I write this, America has been subject to the worst terrorist attack in it's history. I was working on the guitars for 'The Normal Rules Do Not Apply' when Jules called me to let me know what was happening, everything stopped and we all gathered around the tv set in the Whistlestop cafe and stared in disbelief.

The song seemed to take on the somberness of the day, and after this I don't think America will be the same country the next time I visit, (next Saturday if the airports re-open).

Steve from X-ell came down to put some strings on the track, he did a fantastic job with his Korg Triton Synthesiser .This song is emerging as my personal favourite, at one point we decided to hold a D note on the strings all the way through the track. It has the effect of creating tension in the song, rather than hold the note,

Steve taped the key down with red electrical tape..... very creative these young lads.....Had to finish early though as the day was just too heavy to keep going.

I came home to write this and watch the news. Received tons of emails from friends in New York, every single one contained the word 'unbelievable'.... the normal rules do not apply anymore....

Mike Peters


Day Fourteen: Wednesday September 12 2001

Location: Black Swans Rehearsal Room, Rhuddlan, North Wales

It's hard to believe what has happened yesterday, I was supposed to be going to America on Saturday, don't think I'll be going somehow.

Managed to get in touch with most of our friends in the New York area, everyone is safe, thank God.

Didn't really know where to start today, so didn't.

Mike Peters


Day Fifteen: Thursday September 13 2001

Location: Black Swans Rehearsal Room, Rhuddlan, North Wales

I was scheduled for a meeting with the BBC about creating some incidental music for a documentary called 'Fun In The Sun'. Decided to keep the meeting and get on with life.

Enjoyed the distraction of talking about making some music to go with life at the seaside, something I should know a lot about living in Rhyl.......

Went to the studio and recorded some vocals on 'Normal Rules Do Not Apply', it seemed an appropriate song to record especially as everyone is intent on describing the last few days events as the days that changed the world........

Mike Peters

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Day Sixteen: Friday September 14 2001

Location: Pontins, Weston Supermare, England

Went to the Stranglers convention and played an acoustic set, great fun.

Will stay for tomorrow to see Glen Matlock and The Mission.

Mike Peters


Day Seventeen: Tuesday September 18 2001

Location: Black Swans Rehearsal Room, Rhuddlan, North Wales.

Did some mixes of the demos so far, smashed (compressed) them in the T-Rax mastering software which helps to simulate the sound of music being played over American radio waves, very pleased with what we have so far. Not bad for demos.......

Kirk Brandon arrived from London and we ended up going to the pub and talking about the WTC, America, War and Peace and what happens in the future.

Also got the news that we can work at Kinmel Hall in St. George. Fantastic.

Mike Peters


Day Eighteen: Wednesday September 19 2001

Location: Black Swans Rehearsal Room, Rhuddlan, North Wales.

Back to the studio today. Recorded guitars and vocals on 'Few And Far Between'. This track is going to be the live classic, I have to admit to baseing the arrangement on Coloursound's 'Alive', but so what. That was great live and so will this be. It's slightly 'gothic' sounding if I may use that description.

I added an F to the opening riff which is based around an A-C-E-D revolving sequence. It happened by accident, but it sounds totally right.

Can't wait to unleash this monster on an audience. Cut some acoustic demos late on of various other tracks, all sounding good.

Mike Peters


Day Nineteen: Monday September 24 2001

Location: Kinmel Hall, St. George, North Wales.

Moved all the equipment into

Kinmel Hall. I was last here in 1989 working on the Change album with the Alarm. Good to be back in the old place, surprisingly there are no ghosts only the spirits of new beginnings.

Mike Peters


Day Twenty: Tuesday September 25 2001

Location: Kinmel Hall, St. George, North Wales.

On the way to the studio, I bought a copy of 'Loot'. It's a paper filled with small ads. I often buy a copy to look in the 'sound and vision' section. It's a great place to find old gear. I have been after an old amplifier for ages and this morning I spotted one for sale in Liverpool.

The amp in question is a

Roland JC120 [Jazz Chorus]. Back in 1984-1986, we used to have three in The Alarm, you can see them in all the old live photos, we last used them during the 'Spirit Of '86' tour.

Anyway, I thought it would be nice to recreate some of the vintage sounds, especially as the likes of 'Limp Biskit' etc., have started using them again.

The Roland is a solid state amplifier and with the use of mainly valve amplifiers today, it might just provide a tone that will sit on top of the over all sound in places and be distinctive in it's own right.

Anyway, I cut a deal with the guy over the phone and decided to head straight over there.

Got back to the Kinmel around three o'clock. Mike and I spent the rest of the afternoon, evening setting up equipment.

Apart from the obvious recording gear, we have also set up a stage monitor system that we can turn on if we want to rehearse an arrangement, and get a feel for some songs.

We have set up two working studio rooms, one for the main recording session and another for Mark O'Grady to work his magic.

Ollie and Chris form X-ell came down and so we set them to work stringing guitars and polishing the instruments.......

Left around 7 o'clock, Mark O'Grady arrived from London and James Stevenson was setting off for Wales as well.

Mike Peters


Day Twenty One: Wednesday September 26 2001

Location: Kinmel Hall, St. George, North Wales.

Set off for the studio with James Stevenson in tow. It's an amazing sight to take someone to the Kinmel Hall for the first time. James is suitably impressed and gets into the vibe right away.

He immediately gets down to sorting through all his amplification and effects pedals.

Mark O'Grady and I spend the afternoon getting all the computers to talk to each other. No mean feat I can tell you. We have christened the main recording room 'NASA' and the second studio 'MIR'.

By the evening all is well and mark spends his time importing all the demo recordings into the space for the main session, just in case we decide some of it was keeper......

Steve Grantley arrives from London around 6 o'clock and immediately gets into setting up his drum kit. The kit sounds fantastic in the room we have chosen as having the best potential sound/natural reverb. I plug an acoustic guitar into the P.A. and Steve and I have a great jam session, playing through almost every song that has been earmarked for recording, plus a jam on some songs I have written for a new BBC documentary called 'Fun In The Sun'..... Can't wait to begin recording in earnest tomorrow.

Ten o'clock and we all decide it's time to head home.... via the pub of course.......

Mike Peters


Day Two: Monday July 30 2001

Location: The Container, North Wales

Went to meet up with Mark at the container. Mark has done some work on 'Free Inside' which works really well. It's all drum loops and weird noises, but I know what's going to go on top so no problem.

Next I want to give him some guides for the next two tracks. First up is 'Trafficking'. From CD, I play Mark 'When The Levee Breaks' by Led Zeppelin as I want to build the demo around a loop of John Bonham which can be taken from the front end of the track.

Mark quickly creates the loop and

I use James' acoustic Epiphone to lay the guide down. The track sounds cool straight away, and I can tell Mark is excited about this one, especially as I have left him a 36 bar gap to fill with some Pink Floyd style weirdness.


Mike Peters


Day Twenty Three: Friday September 28 2001

Location: Kinmel Hall, St. George, North Wales.

A beautiful day greeted us as Steve Grantley and I headed for the Kinmel Hall. We were met there by

Ralph Walker who is an old friend who once recorded Seventeen back in 1978, he has come to the studio for a few days. James has had to go back to London for the weekend but will be back on Sunday with Richard Llewellyn.

Every band has it's own way of working and ours seems to be developing thus.

Mike Jones and Mark O'Grady arrive and

Steve and I decide to get to work on the track christened 'Now'. We switch on the PA system and jam with drums and

acoustic guitars focusing on the stylistic content of the drums. We settle into a very, dare I say it, eighties beat. The style is evident on the original recording of 'Unsafe Building'; and involves playing a 16 beat pattern on the hi-hat. 'Love Will Tear Us Apart' by Joy Division is another example.

We decide to record the part and by the third take Steve has really got into the flow. What was originally considered as a run through is now a 'keeper'.

I have decided that the next track to work on should be '**it Happens'. Mark O'Grady is set up in the Library and he has already imported the live acoustic version as performed at The Gathering into his computer. I play him 'Rain In The Summertime' and ask him to concoct a similar sort of electronic groove to be played underneath the live band.

An hour later he comes into the studio with a great groove which we relay through the PA. Steve and I get into a

jam of the arrangement and Mike Jones joins in on bass guitar, we decide to record straight away and

Steve overlays some drums but instead of playing the kit with standard wooden drum sticks uses 'hot rods' instead.

'Hot rods' are a modern version of jazz style brushes. I think we have all been surprised by this track, I wasn't thinking of this song as a main contender but now it sounds like it has potential to be a serious addition to the album.

While all of this has been going on I have had Mark working against another of the live recordings from The Gathering and he has come up with a 'Knife Edge' style sequence running throughout 'The Innocent Party'.

Although we are already to finish for the day, we decide to quickly bring it into the studio and create a rough take on it ready to be worked on in a few days time when Steve gets back from London. At first it feels a bit too fast as it is set against the tempo I established at The Gathering. As it was the first time I had ever played the song live I was very hyped up and therefore performed it at a break neck pace.

Mark recreated the piece at a slower more powerful tempo and I sang an

acoustic guide of the arrangement for Steve to follow. As Steve walked over to his kit I sensed something magic was going to happen. Steve turned the lights off in his part of the room and I followed his lead and darkened the control room area. Mike Jones hit record and Steve performed one of the greatest drum takes I have ever had the pleasure to witness in a recording studio in all my years. He played like a demon. The influences may be obvious in this track, but so what..... it is a fantastic slice of serious rock and roll. New Classic Rock. This is going to be a classic live.

We all left the studio on a high. Today we made the first serious contributions to the album and it felt good to be alive.

Mike Peters


Day Twenty Four: Saturday September 29 2001

Location: Kinmel Hall, St. George, North Wales.

Got to the studio for mid-day and spent most of the day soring out all the audio files and backing up all the work to date.

Peter Jones from the MPO came for a visit and we gave him the guided tour. Steve the proprietor took us up onto the roof. The views were stunning.

Spent a few hours working on the guitar parts for 'Now'. Took a while to get something good, but finally got a handle on it late in the afternoon. I was having a listen back and came up with a sequential guitar part which Mark O'Grady really liked the sound of. He is going to spend a few hours on the track tonight.

I think this song is going to work now, especially with a little editing of the arrangement.

Left about 7 o'clock.

Mike Peters


Day Twenty Five: Sunday September 30 2001

Location: Kinmel Hall, St. George, North Wales.

Not really supposed to be an album day today, but I have been commisioned by a TV Production Company to record some music for a documentary series called 'Fun In The Sun'.

Mike Jones and I recorded three pieces of music. A title sequence and a piece entitled 'Waiting For The Summer' and also a sequence to go with a boatman from Tenby sailing across to Cauldy Island.

Steve McElroy from X-ell came over to add some string parts etc. All sounding very good. Left around 7 so that we could all have an early night. Before we left, Mike Jones played me the stuff Mark O'Grady had added to 'Now' the night before, excellent.

Mike Peters


Day Twenty Six: Monday September 31 2001

Location: Kinmel Hall, St. George, North Wales.

Full band day today. Richard Llewellyn arrived from Cardigan, Steve arrived from London and James had travelled up the night before.

James and I went to the studio early with Mike Jones and we created a rough 'demo' of 'It Happens', we worked out some guitar parts - very rough - but have loads of potential, James added a bass part and I put on a rhythm acoustic part.

We then set up for a full band session. The first song we decided to tackle was 'Close'. Everyone was aware of the main parts from the demo and when we played it as a band, it sounded great, very exciting. It felt very natural. We worked the arrangement for a couple of hours, mainly trying to decide whether to double up the second verse, and also, if we should finish the guitar solo on G or D in the end we worked out an arrangement that did both....

Before recording however, Steve and Mike Jones wanted to work the the drum kit once more and see if they could get an even better sound, Steve decided to change the drum heads, seeing as he had pounded them to death on 'The Innocent Party'.

The kit we are using is an amalgamation of the best parts of three drum kits that Steve owns. The Bass drum is fom his maroon Gretsch, the tom toms are from his black Premier kit and the snare drum is a very old Ludwig. With the new drum skins attached the kit sounds amazing.

Once we had settled on the final version, Steve Grantley recorded three drum takes which were all excellent. Tomorrow, we will complie all the best bits from the three versions. Until recently compiling takes in this way was something that was really only available to lead vocals. Steve is very happy about this latest addition to his recording repertoire and intends to make full use of it.

Mike Peters


Day Twenty Seven: Tuesday October 1 2001

Location: Kinmel Hall, St. George, North Wales.

The drums on 'Close' sounded superb on reflection in the morning and Richard added a bass part before we got into the next track which is 'Free Inside'.

We rehearsed the song as a band for an hour or so, it really came to life when we added all the twelve string electric guitars into the equation.

We got a great take instantly but decided to do a couple more just in case and then Steve did a fourth 'drum take' so that we could have some variation on the drum fills.

Next up is 'The Normal Rules Do Not Apply', again we settled into the pattern of learning the song as a band with James playing a Fender Stratocastor, myself on acoustic and Richard and Steve on bass and drums respectively.

We tried some variations such as playing the 'solo' over the verse chords instead of the chorus chords, but that didn't work out.

We then tried lengthening the 'white lights shine' pre-chorus in increments i.e. once before the first chorus, twice before the second and three times before the solo. This was James idea and it works really well.

This time, I recorded an acoustic guide of the song and Steve worked the drums on his own until he got a take he was happy with... usually one of the first three... (he's good is our Steve)...

We then rehearsed a version of 'In The Poppy Fields', but decided to leave early and get the final version tomorrow. Three tracks in one day, not bad....

Mike Peters


Day Twenty Eight: Wednesday October 2 2001

Location: Kinmel Hall, St. George, North Wales.

Mike Jones wants to go for a different, 'looser' drum sound for 'Poppy Fields', this involves moving the sound screens from the back end of the hall to a place along side the drums, allowing the reverb to travel farther. Steve also wants to try putiing tea towels over the drum heads to deaden the sound of the skins. Sounds strange.... but it is an old recording trick to emulate those sounds of early seventies/late sixties recordings. After a while the drum 'new' drum soun evolves into something very special.

When Steve is ready to record we lay down a 'live' take just to get a feel for the arrangement, which we all feel needs some more work.

The main problem is that the choru repeats a lot in various forms and we want each one to have a little 'twist', (excuse the pun). This involves moving the various sections of the song around.

All in all, there are eight parts to this song, the intro, verse, 'quiet' verse, chorus, 'loud' chorus, guitar solo and the outro.

After a long while having gone through stages of making the song very short and only using each section once, we decided to go for a slightly longer version which repeats some of the sections but in unexpected places such as having the quiet verse come immediately after the guitar solo which is unusual... but sounds great.....

Steve again gets the take within three, and is very happy with his playing.

So he should be it has a great feel, and I'm sure this song will be one of the stand out tracks and quite possibly be one of those songs that stay in the 'live' set forever......

After a break for a photo session with Jules, the sun is shining and we want to get some shots before the full on set of winter.

We set about recording 'All' which is the first joint composition by James Stevenson and myself. Once again the twelve string electric guitar is out. The song is a kind of Dylan/Lennon kind of thing, very catchy, I will probably change the lyrics now as during the rehearsals, I came up with some slightly different vacl phrasing which will suit, again the debate was all about keeping the song short and we worked for quite a while on finding the right way to introduce some middle eight chords.

We didn't really want to have a middle eight, but the shords work as a great diversion to the song, we solved this problem by going to the middle eight chords after the guitar solo but singing the chors over the top. It has the effect of being the same but different, if you know what I mean.......

Mike and Steve want to use the same drum sound as 'Poppy Fields' as the song have an affinity to each other, and so Steve gets the take at the first attemp but does a couple more to see if he can better it. Around midnight, we decide to head for home and make the final decision on the best performance in the morning.

Mike Peters


Day Twenty Eight: Thursday October 4 2001

Location: Kinmel Hall, St. George, North Wales.

Today I went to the funeral of Richard O'Malley Jones who was the singer of The Toilets. I first met Richard in school when he came over from Coleraine, Northern Ireland around 1970. He earned his nickname 'O'Malley' after we all went to see the disney film 'The AristoCats'. He was a real character and always lived life on the edge. At the funeral two songs were played Bob Dylans 'Don't Think Twice It's Alright' and David Bowie's 'Ziggy Stardust'. A very moving eulogy was delivered by another of our school friends Robert 'Hutcho' Hutchison. The church was packed with all my old school friends and it was a fitting tribute to the love everyone had for Richard 'O'Malley' Jones.

During the service, I was reminded of the great times we had in our first punk band and I think I will dedicate the 'In The Poppy Fields' song to O'Malley as there are a couple of lyric references to those times in the song.

We have arranged a band photo session for the afternoon at the hall as it will be the last chance we have to be together for some time.

Jules takes a ton of shots outside

Kinmel Hall and

above the hall on the

side of the hill.

At night we all go for a drink and a curry, we all raise a glass in honour of Richard 'O'Malley' Jones.

Mike Peters

Next day


Day Thirty: Friday Octo 5 2001

Location: Kinmel Hall, St. George, North Wales.

Steve spends most of the day compiling his drums with Mark O'Grady. It is a very time consuming job and there is not a lot James, Richard and myself can do except to hang about. nd sometime in the outer room working on some other songs and lyrics. Steve needs to get it all done as he has to leave to play with SLF on Saturday.

Steve gets the job done but very late at night another 2 -3 in the morning for him and Mike Jones.

Mike Peters


Day ThirtyOne: Saturday October 6 2001

Location: Kinmel Hall, St. George, North Wales.

I get into the studio early to continue working on the songs for 'Fun In The Sun', I lay down guides for 'Height Of The Summer', 'A Place In The Sun', 'Lazy Days', 'Hit The Town', and 'Golden Sands'.

Richard Llewellyn arrives around 11 o'clock and finally gets a day to himself to

record bass guitar on the tracks recorded by Steve on his own. the day flys by in a

blur of bass and all that remains by the evening is to record 'Festival Of Light'.

Richard decides to tackle that track in the morning and so I bring in

James, the drummer of The Black Swans to record drums on the BBC 'Fun In The Sun' session.

Mike Peters


Day ThirtyTwo: Sunday October 7 2001

Location: Kinmel Hall, George, North Wales.

Came in early with Richard so that he could finish the bass playing on 'Festival Of Light'. By lunch time all the bass parts were done for now and Richard headed back to Aberteifi.

I then took the rest of the day to finish the soundtrack to 'Fun In The Sun'. It was a massive job, playing all the guitars and bass etc. Steve from X-ell came up to add some more keyboards and by midnight, I had a pretty good set of songs to send off to the BBC.

I also had to do instrumental mixes and send them lots of incidental pices of music extracted from within the songs.

Mike Peters


Day ThirtyThree: Monday October 8 2001

Location: Kinmel Hall, St. George, North Wales.

Today is the day we can finally get down to doing some guitars. Mike Jones decides to relocate the studio to the other end of the room so that we can leave some of the speakers in the hall way and have the amplifiers near James in the control room part of the studio.

We spend most of the day working on the relocate and finally get down to some recording by mid-afternoon. The first track we tackle is 'In the Poppy Fields'.

I lay down an acoustic guitar pass using James black Gibson J200 which sounds amazing. James then adds all his parts using a

Fender Telecaster put through some vintage amplification including a fender amplifier from the 1960's which gives the effect of playing through a hammond organ lesley cabinet. It sounds great on the intros and bridges.

James uses hisGibson Les Paul for the solo which sounds fantastic. James gets a fantastic solo first take and although we tried out several others, we know that the first one is the one.

Later we try out a double acoustic guitar pass with myself and James playing together using only one microphone. It is a technique pioneered by Phil Specter. It works really well and gives the song a nice layer of warmth.

Mike Peters


Day ThirtyFour: Tuesday October 9 2001

Location: Kinmel Hall, St. George, North Wales.

A beautiful day greets us as we arrive at

Kinmel Hall. The first thing we did was play back 'In The Poppy Fields' and we are all pleasantly surprised that it sounds as good as we had thought it did the night before.

We then move onto 'Free Inside' which we want to sound like something 'the Cure' might do. We bring out the fender Electric Twelve String and get down to the job at hand.

The best sound comes from plugging the guitar directly into the mixing desk and adding the effects from the guitar pedals. A little bit of Ibanez Flanger and the sounds are all there. It takes awhile to get the guitar part done as it has to be quite precise as the twelve string is a tough guitar to play and you have to be constantly tuning it to stay in tune with the rest of the track. We decide to double track and again it is quite a time consuming job.

We then add some more guitar in the shape of the Epiphone acoustic 6-string with a Dearmond pick up. This guitar was bought to recreate the sound of the early Alarm records ala The Stand, Lie Of The Land etc. It sounds amazing and we even plug it into the Roland JC120 and it is instant Alarm circa 1982.

I play this guitar all the way through the song and with the twelve string on top it sounds as we hoped it would.

James tries a few experiments with tremoloes and delays etc. which sound like they could be good in certain parts and then as I am listening I get an idea for another riff to be played over the end of the song.

James tries the riff out and it sounds great but we decide that we need another sound altogether to make it sing so we decide to use an original 1963 Fender Stratocastor which has the right contrasting sound and characteristic to stand out against all the other guitars. We even double track the part and it sounds superb.

Last thing-we decided to try the Phil Spector acoustic technique and we both played through the song using acoustic guitars which was great fun hearing the song in the headphones and playing along together.

By this time it has become apparent that we are not going to get all the guitars done during this session and we don't want to rush it so we decide that another session is needed after the 'Dead Men Walking' tour wich is coming up fast.

We decide to record 'Innocent Party' but

James main Gibson Les Paul guitar seems a little out of tune everytime we get into the song so we decide to call it a night and get the guitar down to Gordon Markendale who lives in Meliden to look at the intonation.

Gordon has looked after my guitars for many years and he actually specialises in making ukele's ( he actually made one for george Harrison). Gordon agrees to do a rush job over night for us.

Mike Peters


Day ThirtyFive: Wednesday October 10 2001

Location: Kinmel Hall, St. George, North Wales.

Today we picked up the guitar from Gordon Markendale and we get up to the hall for the afternoon.

Decided to have a look back at 'Free Inside' and while listening, we decided to have a look for one more guitar part and we spent most of the day trying different things.

In actual fact we wasted most of the day going backwards and forwards over various sounds and combinations of guitars and effects, but a day like today can be very valuable when it comes to future tracks.

James came up with some great sounds and although they might not have been right for the particular track, they will stand us in good stead on some of the others. Also because we know that we won't be able to get all the guitars done now it seems like a good idea to have some fun and experiment.

Finish in time to go for a pint and we agree to record at some time before The Gathering when we have got all the touring out of the way.

Mike Peters


Day ThirtySix: Thursday October 11 2001

Location: Kinmel Hall, St. George, North Wales.

Mike Jones and I had to break down all the studio and pack it all away until the next session. It is a time consuming day as some of the equipment has to go to the container, some goes into storage.

We eventually finish around midnight after having run around in the van for most of the night dropping equipment off at various locations.

We still have lots to do in the morning as we are all leaving for Italy to play with Dead Men Walking. What a life.... still wouldn't have it any other way.

Mike Peters


Day ThirtySeven: Wednesday November 7 2001

Location: Mark Taylor's Studio, Eastbourne, England.

Mike Jones and I drove through the night after the Dead Men Walking show in Kings Lynne last night. We stopped at a hotel around 2 A.M. and travelled the rest of the way in the morning to visit Mark Taylor who played keyboards with The Alarm from 1985-1990.

We have come here to record some keyboards on 'Free Inside'. Mark has his own studio and we set up our computer and interfaces and Mark brought out some of the old keyboards we used to use back in the day like a Yamaha DX7.

After a few run throughs of the song mark quickly got into what we were after and within an hour we had the track in the bag. It was a good thing to hear the track again after so long and it still sounded good. Especially nice to hear it in another environment altogether.

Mark had also been sent in advance all the songs for 'Fun In The Sun' and he had added some keyboards to most of them which all sounded good. I had sent him my demo mixes and he had added keys which I could take back to wales as indivisual files and 'fly' into the main masters. A very modern approach to working but it gets the job done. I had also asked Mark to create a track called 'The Cocktail Party' which he had done and that sounded great for one of the 'Fun In The Sun' sequences.

Job done we headed back across England to arrive at Swindon in time for the Dead Men Walking show.


Mike Peters


Day ThirtyEight: Saturday December 1 2001

Location: Black Swans Rehearsal Room, Rhuddlan, Wales.

Decided to get down to some guitar overdubs so we set up the computer and pre-amps. James Stevenson came up from London and we were ready to get recording by the evening.

The first track up is 'It Happens'. We are trying to achieve a very 'Dave Sharp' guitar sound on this one as the riff is very 'Rain In the Summertime'.

We fired up the blue Fender Stratocastor which is from a similar era as Dave's old cream 'Strat' and plugged into the Marshall. It worked a treat straight away and James came up with a superb 'solo' part.

We even tried out an e-bow part - not sure if that really works but you never know.

Mike Peters


Day Thirty Nine: Sunday December 2 2001

Location: Black Swans Rehearsal Room, Rhuddlan, Wales.

Spent most of the day working on 'It Happens' again. Tried to incorporate a the Fender Electric 12 which seems to work just playing spread patterns through the chord sequences.

I'm still not certain what I am going to be singing over the middle eight at this point so it is a little difficult working out how much intensity to apply to the guitars.

One of the things that made 'Rain In The Summertime' special was all the extra guitar parts producer John Porter added underneath the main track. James and I tried to do some similar sonic tricks with some harmonised 'slide' guitar. Spent ages on this and then decided that we were really overcooking the whole thing.

Mike Peters


Day Forty: Monday December 3 2001

Location: Black Swans Rehearsal Room, Rhuddlan, Wales.

'Kaleidoscope'. First part to go down a Gibson Les Paul straight into the Marshall. The basic James Stevenson stage sound. Sounded good but did not truly reflect the 'psychedelic' nature of the song so we then tried using the Epiphone Texan with the DeArmond pick-up.

Again sounded good but not quite. Then we decided to go Fender Electric Twelve and immediately it captured the essence of the track. James came up with a great way of playing the main chord - 'very psychedelic' indeed - which worked as a great melodic counterpoint to the 'riff'.

We tried lots of other things as the day wore on into evening with James attempting some 'radiohead' style guitar solos which were all interesting and one in particluar was superb. We break off quite late and feel we need to live with the solos to se of they suite the track or not. A good days work.

Mike Peters


Day Forty One: Wednesday January 2 2002

Location: Black Swans Rehearsal Room, Rhuddlan, Wales.

A new year and it's back to what we enjoy doing the most.....

Mike Jones and I have been chomping at the bit all through the Christmas break we have been dying to get on with the recording and so here we are...

I wanted to break the back of all the acoustic guitar work that has to be done before James arrives to carry on with the electric parts so the first track we tackle is 'The Innocent Party'. At first we cut the part with a black Gibson J200 6-string acoustic which sounded good but a bit clean. We then decidedto go for a classic Mike Peters acoustic stage sound which involved plugging the electric pick-up of the 'acoustic' guitar into the mixing desk and then for added extra quality we put a 414 microphone in front of it aswell. Straight away it sounded very 'Alarm'.

The riff is played in the style of 'Shelter' from 'Hurricane'. I also use very heavy bronze strings with a wound 'G' which helps to emphasise the percussive attack and because the Takamine acoustic I am using is strictly a 12 string with only 6 string on which is very characteristic of Mike Peters it is the perfect sound for the track.

It's a pleasure to play over Steve's drums at this point which are amazing. Both Mike and I are quietly pleased with the way the track is sounding after not hearing it for some time, very exciting.

Mike Peters


Day Forty Two: Tuesday January 3 2002

Location: Black Swans Rehearsal Room, Rhuddlan, Wales.

Using the Gibson J200 I laid down the acoustic strumming on 'It Happens' and 'Kaleidoscope' . On the latter I happened to come up with a very percussive acoustic part which works almost as an addirtional drum fill.

Then moved onto some picking parts and recorded 'Normal Rules' which took quite some time. Due to the exposed nature of the piece it has to be played without any glitches whatsoever and the the picking has to be very precise.

Finally changed over to a Gibson J200 12 string acoustic and recorded the intro parts to 'In The Poppy Fields'. All the tracks are sounding as good as we hoped they would do.

Mike Peters


Day Forty Three: Sunday January 5 2002

Location: Black Swans Rehearsal Room, Rhuddlan, Wales.

James Stevenson arrived from London ahead of the band so that we could record some guitars before we get into rehearsals for The Gathering.

Got stuck into 'Trafficking'. We want to get a Led Zep kind of guitar sound and so we go for the classic Gibson Les Paul and Marshall combination.

The demo of this track sounded good but now it has real drums underneath it has added even more excitement and James plays simple but superb guitar.

Tried a few experimental solo type of bits but the simplicity of the part is the key. Double tracked the 'glam' riff at the end and then got the Fender Telecaster out to add a little bite and colour as a contrast to the Les Paul.

Tried a little bit of singing on 'Poppy Fields' but not really in good voice so decided to carry on with guitars.

'True Life' is next and we all feel that the demo is so good that we have to try and recreate what was initially a sketch of potential guitars.

James has quite a difficult job trying to work out the parts he played instictively on first hearing the song as a demo. This happens a lot in the recording process - when you first play something it is always important to record as the 'magic' often happens when your subconcious leads and directs you to good things without thinking too hard.

The thing we like about the demo is that it sounds almost unfinished and therefore allows the listener to project themselves into the recording. A quality that I think is most associated with U2 who are always working out of magic musical 'moments' which they build up into finished songs. Always striving to keep the moment of conception at the heart of the finished recording.

Using the Fender Electric 12 again, James does a great job and manages to recreate and add to the original parts without losing the 'feel' of the early version.

We tried out some e-bow parts for the end and even some heavier Gibson Les Paul guitar chords for the choruses. Job done.

Mike Peters


Day Forty Four: Sunday January 6 2002

Location: Black Swans Rehearsal Room, Rhuddlan, Wales.

Recorded the main guitars on 'Normal Rules'. James played all the usual suspects - Fender Electric 12, Gibson Les Paul, E-Bow and some tremolo guitar chords for added effect.

We then got into doing some work on 'Few And Far Between' again with this track and others we have been working on top of the demos to preserve those special moments of discovery.

Now, try as we might we find it impossible to recreate the intro guitar sound Mike Jones and I achieved for the demo. So we decided to use the sound and the playing from the demo. To do so we had to import the original part back into the master recording, line it up and there it is. Superb.

This is something we could never do back in the eighties.

Mike Peters


Day Forty Five: Monday January 7 2002

Location: Black Swans Rehearsal Room, Rhuddlan, Wales.

Carried on with 'Few And Far' adding new power chords on the choruses and strengthening the build up before the chorus with heavy chugging guitars and James playing the chorus riffs with his guitar fed into a phaser pedal, he also came up with a great little lick just before the chorus.

At this point, the whole guitar rig was picking up some very interesting 'religious' radio signals which sounded very strange and other worldly, we even recorded them for posterity as they added to the atmosphere in a very subliminal way. We also added some more parts using the 'Fuzz Face' pedal which was made famous by James Stevenson's guitar hero, the late but great David Bowie sideman Mick Ronson.

It was then my turn to add some acoustic struming to 'Festibval Of Light'. Used the Gibson J200 12 string acoustic which sounded superb. Got a great 'Pink Floyd' spread chord into the middle eight.


Day Forty Six: Tuesday January 8 2002

Location: Black Swans Rehearsal Room, Rhuddlan, Wales.

James has been using a White Gibson Les Paul from the seventies which he brought back from a recent trip to the US. It sounds great on 'The Innocent Party' but it seemes to lose it's tuning after each guitar chord we play so we rushed it down to Gordon Markendale a local guitar and ukele specialist who spends an afternoon on it for us sorting out the intonation and some other tuning aspects of the instrument. He also 'stones' the frets to make them more even and stop any string 'buzzing'.

When we try the guitar on the song later that evening, what a difference! The guitar stays in tune all the way through the song and James pulls off an amazing performance.

James adds some Fender Telecaster which sounds perfect in the bridge before the chorus and I add the acoustic coda in the middle section of the song which is quite tricky. To resolve it I actually tune the guitar to the melody of the piece enabling me to play as many open strings as possible which enhances the part wonderfully.

It is now time to stop recording and begin work on reherasals for The Gathering especially if we want t perform a lot of these songs live.



Day Forty Seven: Friday January 11 2002

Location: The Gathering.



Day Forty Eight: Saturday January 12 2002

Location: The Gathering.


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Day Forty Nine: Monday January 14 2002

Location: Location: Black Swans Rehearsal Room, Rhuddlan, Wales.

Back in the studio after what turned out to be an amazing Gathering. It was nice to have played some of the new sonngs and see how they were recieved. It has given us all a lot of confidence in what we are creating here. Especially nice to get the thumbs up from Billy Duffy for the quality of the guitar riffs. I have learnt a lot from BD about the approach to a guitar and I'm sure the influence of Billy more than permeates this album.

It's also been great to have James Stevenson on board who as guitarist has worked closely with Billy in The Cult, but also has a deep understanding of what makes the Alarm work from a guitar point of view.

With all this in mind we get settled back in to recording mode and begin with 'Festival Of Light'.

We have great fun messing with all of the effects that James has in his bag of tricks. Phasers, Lesley cabinets, Fuzz wah pedals and more are all tried out to create the intended soundscape.

Try a few 'Velvet Underground' styles on the ascending riff which work extremely well. Have a little trouble deciding on a style for the solo but settle for a complete 'freak out' of noise and choas which James delivers beautifully.


Day Fifty: Tuesday January 15 2002

Location: Location: Black Swans Rehearsal Room, Rhuddlan, Wales.

Add more guitars to 'Trafficking'. During reherasals for the Gathering James came up with an additional part played via a phaser pedal which he wants to add to the song - sounds great aswell.

Also tried out another approach to the solo on 'Festival Of Light' which only made us all a little confused.It will come in time. I wish we had been able to play this song at G10.


Day Fifty One: Wednesday January 16 2002

Location: Black Swans Rehearsal Room, Rhuddlan, Wales.

Had a playback through all the guitars which are all sounding good.

James wants to try out some extra guitar parts on the 'fly' especially as he is more familiar with the songs having played some of them live so we go through a lot of the tracks just playing around and seeing if there is more to be had or not as the case may be.

By the end of the day we are both really pleased with our achievemnets. Overall, the album still needs a little work but it is all moving in the right direction.


Day Fifty Two: Saturday February 16 2002

Location: Ynys Castell, Menai Bridge, Anglesey, Wales.

Decided to relocate further down the coast of North Wales to

Ynys Castell.

Ynys Castell is a house literally situated on it's very own island in the middle of the Menai Straits. The Menai Straits is a stretch of water which separates Anglesey from the main body of Wales. There are two Bridges which span the waters and they are The Brittania Bridge which is the extension of the A55 which runs from London to Holyhead and the other bridge is the

Menai Bridge itself which was built by Thomas Telford many, many years ago.

The house itself is in a very dramatic location, twice a day the house gets cut off from the road when the

tide comes in and

covers the



house was originally built in the 1930's and added to in the seventies. We decide to house the main computers and mixing console in the downstairs dining room area. The view out of the window is very calm and peaceful and looks directly across the garden onto the waters of the Menai Straits.

The main living room upstairs is where we set up to do vocals etc. and this is the most spectacular part of the house, enjoying a huge picture window looking up to the splendour of the Snowdonia mountains to the south and caostal views looking east back

towards Bangor and Rhyl and west out towards the Irish sea.

All in all a very inspiring place to put the finishing touches to the album.

Most of today is spent ferrying equipment from Rhyl and setting up the house for our two week stay.

By the evening Martin Wilding who has come into the project to provide a fresh set of ears has set up the equipment and has been having a listen to the work in progress. Martin feels that we need to re-record some parts and also tidy up some of the ideas which we have deliberately left 'floating'.

Martin is very much taken with 'Trafficking' and when James Stevenson arrives in the late evening, the two get straight down to recording some guitars.

Myself, Jules, James, Martin and Mike Jones eventually stay up very late getting into the whole vibe of the house, the music and the atmosphere generated by this strange yet beautiful house on the island. It is going to be a magical couple of weeks.

Mike Peters


Day Fifty Three: Sunday February 17 2002

Location: Ynys Castell, Menai Bridge, Anglesey, Wales.

Mike Jones and Martin Wilding continue to work on 'Trafficking'.

Mike is a little aprehensive as he has recorded everything so far and is very relieved as the further they get into the project the better it is sounding and Martin is getting more and more excited about the recordings.

Have a communal dinner in the evening.

Mike Peters


Day Fifty Four: Monday February 18 2002

Location: Ynys Castell, Menai Bridge, Anglesey, Wales.

Spend most of today singing vocals. Begin with Trafficking at around 3.00 p.m.

At first we experiment with some vocal sounds using a variety of microphones. My voice is actually very loud when it gets going and as the years have gone by working with various engineers it seems to record best with a combination of mics.

I like to use a Neumman U87 which is a veryu expensive valve microphone for the quieter sections and something more robust like a Sure SM 58 for the loder sections. The SM 58 is the microphone that you always see used on stage at concerts. It is not usually intended for use in the studio but if used correctgly can be very effective.

The only problem with using two mics is attaining a consistency of performance. So I tend to blast through the songs a few times giving complete performances on each mic and then choose the best sections of performance in the track.

There are no hard and fast rules and perfomance always wins over the actuallu nuances of quality.

It is very vibey singing with the all manner of boats crusing by on the tide. As the day develops, we get into Kaleidoscope around 5.00 and Free Inside around 7.00 p.m.

In the evening we go through all the various vocal takes so far and compile all the best bits into a take that conveys the sense of the lyric that most importantly is believable to the listener and manages to sound like me.

Mike Peters


Day Fifty Five: Tuesday February 19 2002

Location: Ynys Castell, Menai Bridge, Anglesey, Wales.

Steve Grantley arrives today. He has driven up from London and wants to put the finishing touches to the rhythm section. This involves all sorts of percussion from tambourines to shakers to plastic eggs full of rice!

Obviously, to celebrate Steve's arrival we all go out for a pint or two....

Mike Peters


Day Fifty Six: Wednesday February 20 2002

Location: Ynys Castell, Menai Bridge, Anglesey, Wales.

Percussion, percussion and more percussion.

Steve takes up most of the day with all these small but very important parts of the recording process.

Job done, Steve heads off into the night to rehearse with Stiff Little Fingers for their upcoming tour.

Mike Peters


Day Fifty Seven: Thursday February 21 2002

Location: Ynys Castell, Menai Bridge, Anglesey, Wales.

Spent most of the day working on 'The Innocent Party'. James felt that the acoustic guitars could do with some beefing up.

We got our

James GIbson J200 and recorded it in what we now refer to as the control room.

James parts are good and certainly add to the rhythm during the bridges and choruses.

Martin gets a great sound from the J200.

At around 5.oo p.m. I decide to have a go at singing the track. I love singing in this room. It is very vibey although Martin feels that there is not quite enough head room in the ceiling. What he really means is that the ceiling is a bit low down and creates a bit of a boxy effect.

The performance is great though and that's what counts.

James and I try out lots of backing vocals, call and response style. They sound pretty good too. It is also time for me to add in the

harmonica solo. the first take comes up great, always hard to beat a first take if it has 'the vibe'. Try a few others out but they are not the same.

During all of this recording, James and Martin feel that the bass guitar part is not quite driving the track enough. This is something that happens quite often when you are working on new material.

Sometimes when all the top line parts are on i.e. vocals, guitars and solos etc. they can reveal something that is not quite right further back in the track. James decides to have a go at rerecording the bass during the Bridges and Choruses and replace Richards part with a more straight ahead driving 'eights' bass part. It has to be said at this point that James is also, like Richard, a fantastic bass player.

All of a sudden the track has that air of completion about it. The straight bass part on the bridge and chorus seems to give the guitars room to breathe.

Can't wait to play this track live.....

Mike Peters


Day Fifty Eight: Friday February 22 2002

Location: Ynys Castell, Menai Bridge, Anglesey, Wales.



Mike Peters