35 The Further In We Go

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35. The Further In We Go

S Rhatigan

I’ve no one else to blame really. I think back to me circa 1991-1993 I can see why it didn’t really work out. I’m ok with it now but I was all over the place then…

It was a long time coming, my 1st record deal. Having sung backing vocals on so many hit records for other artists and served my time as the support act, I was starting to think I would always be the bridesmaid and never the bride! Until that fateful day my friend Neville Farmer asked me to put him + 1 on the guest list for a gig I was playing at the Borderline in London. After my set he came bounding over with his friend Kate Hyman.

Kate is a force of nature, she has as much if not more charisma than the many artists and bands she has signed and nurtured over the years. She was so different from any A&R (mostly) men I had encountered in London and I was blown away. She was full of energy and unbridled enthusiasm telling me I reminded her of an old school friend who was always in trouble. We hit it off straight away and happily for me she had just taken the job as head of A&R at a brand new American label and she was determined to sign me up despite the fact that I had been either overlooked or turned down flat by most major labels in the UK. She had a vision for me and for Imago and that was that.

The Imago Recording Company, to give it its full title, was based in New York and so was I for the duration. I should have been thrilled about that, the opportunity to live all expenses paid in NYC is quite something, but alas instead of embracing the whole experience, I was mired in anxiety. I felt a bit of a sham really, there I was hobnobbing with the crème de la crème of hip NY musicians and producers and I was overwhelmed. I wasn’t able to join in the banter with the lads, chuck around cool references. I couldn’t name the nose flute player on every obscure alternative release since 1962 and such. I hadn’t heard of half the records and bands that I apparently should have known. I wasn’t able to communicate in their language use references they could understand and instead of holding my hands up and letting go of the reins I held tight to my vision, which I couldn’t properly articulate. I bluffed my way through the recording sessions believing that if I let on I didn’t know what I was doing, which of course I didn’t, it would be a disaster, which if you think of it in terms of – the record cost quarter of a million to make and recouped a miniscule fraction of that- it probably was!

To Hell With Love was a mish mash of styles and influences. Alternative rock attitude coming from producer Fred Maher (Lou Reed, Scritti Polotti) and the musicians he brought in Mathew Sweet, Drew Vogleman and Robert Quine, along side legendary funk master Bernie Worrell and my old friends from London guitarist Matt Backer and drummer Martyn Barker who contributed a r& b element. Then of course me with my mainly pop background dragging everything into the centre and over singing in way I hardly recognise today.

I know I know, I’m probably committing a cardinal sin now confessing that I didn’t really think the record worked, even then. I certainly don’t wish to alienate or offend the people who worked on To Hell With Love or those who bought and enjoyed it, in fact it is as a result of some recent correspondence I’ve had from people around the world who want to get hold of copies to replace lost ones, that prompted me to give it another listen and upload this song.

The Further In We Go is without a doubt my favourite song on the album. It’s a straight ahead R&B ballad. No harm there. I still love the feel of the track and the dry vocal sound which I still favour, also some very expensive but rather nice string arrangements. Yeah I think it holds up pretty well.

You know, despite the many terrible decisions I made professionally and personally at that time, my only real regret is that I should have been having the time of my life, and instead I spent most of my time crying into answerphones thousands of miles away. I was pretending to be someone I wasn’t to impress people who were pretty much indifferent to me and I was trying too hard, and ultimately failing so hard to make the record I had dreamed of making for so long. Thing is, if I had it all to do again would it be any different?

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Ok, searching for a pic to upload for this tune I found this, a still taken from the 1st Video shoot to promote the song. Yes the 1st! Some crazy decisions were made, mostly by me and stupid money spent after stupid money. The 1st video was a typically ludicrous over ambitious idea (I had) of doing a mock time lapse ageing process from childhood to old age complete with full prosthetic makeup. This shot was one of the few in the video where I looked like myself. Well I say looked like myself I mean an expensively coiffed and made up version of myself. The haircut cost $500 alone! The rest of the video I look ridiculous. Thankfully I don’t have a copy of it to show you!

I assume the generally unflattering 1st video prompted the making of a second which also proved overly ambitious relying on my bad acting skills to carry off a pretty weak narrative, (my idea again!) performed directly to camera ala Peep Show, though more than a decade earlier and not funny! Cringe… No copies to hand of that either thankfully. Do let me know if you have any, before you put them in a bin and set fire to them. X

Suzanne Rhatigan Vocals
Mathew Sweet Bass
Matt Backer Guitar
Martyn Barker Drums
Howie Wyeth Hammond organ
Biti and Suzanne Backing Vocal