So here it is months later and our Kate Bush track is finally seeing the light of day. We’ll be celebrating in the studio with the usual beer and booze while recording KISS’s “She” for another anthology and stepping out between breaks to see CJ Boyd (who just happens to be in Houston performing) just down the street at Cardoza Art (Here is the event link on Facebook). It’s a free show and BLACKIE is playing too so it’s gonna be some serious whoop-up!
Now, folks, if you’d told me when we started this band that we’d be recording a Kate Bush cover, I’d have laughed in your face but here we are on the 4th of February 2014 and Running Up That Hill: Kate Bush Covers for Reproductive Rights is out today and yes, we are right there in 0s and 1s doing just that.
I’m sure Steve will be happy if I go on the record here and state that Steve (the most Rock and Roll member of the LP4) hates Kate Bush’s music. Others in the band may not care for her work but Steve really, really cannot stand it on every level – her voice, her composition, the recordings, you name it. I’m sure if I even gave him a tosser like “But dude she’s Kate Bush, CBE!” Steve would not even acknowledge that “Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire!” is a badass title to have.
So, how do you approach a cover if you are the only person in the band who is a fan? I mean, yes, of course, I knew if everyone voted to do it, Steve would put his grumbling aside and take to the task like a pro but that didn’t mean that I could discount his distaste entirely and walk on eggshells I did. I picked 4 songs which I felt could be adapted but eventually, with some help from Larry, chose “Watching You Without Me” from Hounds of Love because it would be the most wide-open of all the songs for adaptation. The final approach I took was to only have Larry and Mlee hear the original song and let Steve, Clinton, and Charlie wing it. Giving people only the barest of direction can be pretty annoying for musicians in a recording session but by doing this, not only would I not torture them with music they didn’t care for but more importantly they could approach it with a clean slate and not have any preconceptions of the track. It was just a lot of booze, here are two notes and “Larry, hit that beat!” Steve ended up inverting the bass line, Clinton channelled Black Sabbath’s “Planet Caravan,” and Charlie heard echoes of Nick Cave’s “Red Right Hand.” I had a ton of reverb so I just kind of went all Will Sargent on my open-tuned guitar and the ever brilliant Mlee brought it all together. I thought her drunky drunk live scratch track was pretty awesome as they were but Mlee came in the week after and redubbed that track with all these layers of vocals to get that cool etherial vocal thing she does so well and just nailed it perfectly. Honestly, while the jam was pretty cool, without her vocals, the track just wouldn’t have held together as well as it does. In the end, everyone was pretty happy with the results and we were all pretty thrilled to be able to contribute.
It’s a very cool and thoughtful project to be sure and we are very grateful to C.J. Boyd, Molly McDermott, and Daena Lower spearheading this idea. As we mentioned in the last post, the anthology is a fundraising tool for reproductive rights organizations, low-cost abortion clinics, and other pro-choice advocates. For a mere $20 you get 28 tracks from diverse artists and the beneficiaries of this project will include places like Kentucky Support Network in Louisville, KY; The Richmond Reproductive Freedom Project in Richmond, VA; WV FREE in Charleston, WV; Texas Equal Access Fund in Dallas, TX; The Body is Not An Apology in Oakland, CA; and The National Network of Abortion Funds. Cool comp, good cause, so go check it out.
Oh and one last thing. GIMP Master Clinton, felt he didn’t get enough mileage out of this visual malapropism in the band e-mails, so I’ll go ahead and post it here…