S.Rhatigan/J.F Morrison © 1997
I was dropping the young fella to school the other day and got chatting, as you do, to one of the dad’s who was looking a little the worse for wear, having been out the night before to see Roger Waters doing ‘The Wall’ and apparently celebrated that fact into the night. Any way I found myself telling him about one of the most embarrassing days of my life!
When I got the call to come and do a vocal session for Roger Waters on his Radio Kaos Album I was over the dark side of the moon, so to speak (am I going to leave that in?…naff I know but yes I am!). Producer Ian Ritchie had used me on a few records and he was quite sure I was up to the job even if I had my doubts! The night before the session I was working in a studio in East London and between takes I was gaily chatting away to a gorgeous young tape op, as was my want from time to time, and I told him with great relish about the job I had coming up.. “Oh man you should ask him where his head was at when he did live at Pompei” suggested my young friend.. “ No I won’t” I immediately and very sensibly replied “what kind of eejit do you think I am?”.
The next day I arrived and after brief introductions, I found myself standing at a microphone in Roger’s studio, surrounded by some of the instruments I was reliably informed had featured on many of Pink Floyd’s albums. I started attempting to sing. Ian had particularly wanted me to do banks of bv’s which he planned to spin in to the track in the mix so while recording them they didn’t sound like much and with Roger sitting listening in the control room I was having a good deal of difficulty getting it right. “ One more” Ian said for the 40th time when Roger sensing his presence may be unnerving me a little bid farewell and left us to it. We met up with him later in the local pub for lunch.
Well shit, there I am sitting having lunch with Roger Waters, like that’s completely normal! I was happily listening to Ian and Roger discussing oh I don’t know, the merits of one compressor over another or dog racing, when there was a brief lull in the conversation.. Now I don’t know about you but lulls make me nervous and I was nervous enough when suddenly and without warning my mouth opened and out the words came… “So Roger, where was your head at when you did Live at Pompei?” I squeaked and kind of wheezed almost like a vacuum trying to suck the words back in before they had gone too far but too no avail. Roger turned a stone cold eye on me conveying in a glance his utter contempt and then simply continued discussing stock markets or tree surgery or whatever with Ian and I wanted to die… I wished I was dead..
It was some weeks before the tracks were mixed and Roger could hear the effect of the bv’s and amazingly I was asked back finish the album but I can promise you I never even tried to speak to him again so utterly embarrassed I was. It’s like you are in such a complete state of self consciousness that you cease to exist, really… A year or so later I had another call to come and appear in the videos for the record and by then I had begun to realise that the moment hadn’t affected Roger nearly as much as it had me and even if he did think me a stupid pointless excuse for a human being it was nothing compared to my own self loathing which was almost a relief…
So happily after 50 odd years living, I’ve come to the conclusion that no one quite dislikes me as much as I do. ‘Don’t’ is simply an acknowledgement of that fact and gives me some relief when sung out loud, well 2 minutes 55 seconds of relief anyway… It also has one of my favourite lyrics of all time.. ‘Without my make up I’m such an ugly cow’… now who doesn’t feel like that sometimes?
I loved playing this song with Bryn, he is the master of sharp tight scatter gun snare fills. The confines of the flat couldn’t contain him, the whole house vibrated when he played so we only ever had one opportunity to record per session. We would routine the songs using brushes and blankets on the drums and when we were ready we’d unleash him. Whether we got the take in one or not that would have to be it.. I loved that man but my neighbours didn’t…
PS: I’m over it now, I think…