Age, youth, beauty…
…guess which one comes first.
Bit of a stupid question really, it’s quite clear, ummm… that would be the first one?
OK, I need to take a couple of steps back here and then you’ll see where I’m coming from. Now, I can’t remember the context, so let’s say, for the sake of brevity – which is not one of my strong points; in fact – I think it’s notable that– [ed. stop that!] ah, yes… out of nowhere, Ruth suggested that I revive ‘Small Corner’ from the Bernie Hot Hot era.
The guitar riff had been bouncing around in my head for years; I’d even used it before in Ever After (c’mon, you haven’t read the bio?), but ‘Small Corner’ came out of the year during which my first marriage was breaking up. Thing is, the guitar riff is one of those ‘free your mind and your ass will follow’ grooves, whilst the lyrics are all about shyness and restraint and reserve.
So, what happens when you hand a song like that to a funky bunch of musicians? They groove with it – that’s what! Of course, I’ll admit to being first in the queue here – I’ve always enjoyed the sensuous physicality of rock and soul music first – but, when Pete and I were jamming on some inititial backing tracks (Yup, Pete – keep up!) and we dug out some old Bernie Hot Hot live performance tapes to see how we used to do it, I was struck by how differently I would produce the song now.
For a start, I ought to be singing the song an octave lower. The arrangement needs to be funky and sexy, yes – but it also needs to be restrained. It needs to be dramatic, but the band version verged on the melodramatic. Maybe the drum part should be deliberately quantised and machine-like instead? And as for the enormous guitar solo in the middle… Well, I don’t really know what to do about that yet…
Hmmm… Somewhere, a balance needs to be struck. Age and the perception which (sometimes) comes with it, demands the cool and distanced judgement of a producer who hears the whole thing, while youth insists on the passion and excitement which comes straight from the loins (can I get the word ‘visceral’ in there somewhere?).
And beauty? Surely beauty just becomes more refined with age. I’m over here girls!