Hawkwind’s Nik Turner & Nicky Garratt

 2013 diary   

    3/3/2013 - Part II  


Old punks Geoff Myles (Jeff Piccinini), and Nicky Garratt - click image to enlargeThe second day of rehearsals started late. A few extra pieces of equipment needed to be hunted down, but it all went smoothly enough during the evening run through of the live set. The two keyboard players, Lana and Kyrsten, from my San Francisco Prog band Hedersleben dropped into the studio for a while. We all hung out at a restaurant on Sunset until the early hours.

Poster for the show at the Echoplex on the 10th  - Click to enlargeWednesday we rolled up our sleeves and got to work on the new material for the album slated to start on Friday. It seems to be falling into place, we are rehearsing both new songs and the classic Hawkwind tunes for the show at the Echoplex on the 10th (see poster left).

Jürgen Engler and Nicky Garratt - click image to enlargeWe have ten new songs written by various members of the band and Lana has agreed to work on stage ideas as well as dance in the grand old Hawkwind tradition with another woman at the show. Thursday followed suit and the final rehearsal day closed with a rough set list and a road map for the album.  

The first day of recording is always a little frustrating waiting for mics to be set up and sounds conditioned. Drums can take hours with changing heads and tuning. The studio is strewn with vintage organs and a few guitars line one wall. It is not truly isolated and one can, at times, hear the more than slight muffled rumble from the over 100 rehearsal spaces in the complex. However we are hoping that the distant moan wouldn't emerge from under the heaps of Wah Wah, fuzz and tone generators to be added on the tracks.

The whole crew. Back row, Brian (Cleopatra records), Jason Willer, Jeff Piccinini (Geoff Myles), Jürgen Engler. Front row: Big Jay McNeely, Nicky Garratt and Nik Turner. Click image to enlarge.Jürgen is now at the helm so I have some free time to check on the rest of my life through email. Dealing with the editing of my cookbook like this is stressful but unfortunately the scheduling has collided. Still, by the end of the session we had the first two backing tracks completed and the rest of the band went off with the label head to eat. I stayed at the studio dealing with problems online.

Today was one of those great days to remember. We started tracking as normal until the label entourage escorted Big Jay McNeely into the studio.

Big Jay McNeely, Nicky Garratt and Nik Turner - click image to enlargeBig Jay, now 86, has some trouble walking but settled down in the control room and engaged in friendly chit chat. Then Brian, owner of Cleopatra, coaxed us into recording an old Little Willie John song called I'm Shaking. Imagine, Jürgen and I on guitars, Jeff on Bass, Jason on drums, Nik on Sax and Big Jay on Vocals and Sax. It was a lot of fun...

After tracking the song with both Nik and Big Jay swapping sax solos, we got back to work on backing tracks.

The last thing we put down was a piece called Eternity. I had written a piece for Brainticket a few months ago and rejected it. Nik had found some unreleased lyrics. We put the second part of the piece together with the words and it came together very nicely.
Recording with a blues legend and collaborating on a song with Nik Turner on the same day: Wow!