Fastway Working On New CD With Former Little Angels Vocalist
February 17, 2011
The New Fastway Album: The Story So Far
Back In August 2010 after failing to put the 2007 Fastway line up together for some summer shows, Fast Eddie Clarke approached former Little Angels and Gun vocalist Toby Jepson about recording the material they had written in 2008 for a Fastway album which never reached the studio due to circumstances beyond their control.
Eddie set about the task of digging out the demos from 2008 and started sending them to Toby. As they were uncovered they both quickly realised that not only was the material sounding great but they had enough for an album. So they set about organizing the project.
Toby had played the bass on the demos and done an amazing job so why not use him on the album…. sorted. Toby had been producing the Virgin Mary’s earlier in the summer so Eddie suggested he took the helm at the proposed recording session. Toby also had a good relationship with a drummer called Matt Eldridge and suggested he drummed on the session. Eddie agreed to give him a try and took Toby’s word that Matt was the man for the job. He was not dissapointed.
Of course the next thing on the agenda was rehearsals. Matt hailed from Portsmouth so they decided to do rehearsals down there. So all was set for an interesting couple of weeks to see if the material could be made to work in a live situation. All went better than expected, everyone got on great and the music was starting to really make sense. In Eddies words; “We were steaming”.
Time to book the studio. Toby had been working at a place Eddie knew very well from the old days, The Chapel in Lincolnshire. Well it was perfect. Eddie had fond memories of the studio and the people who ran it and Toby had just been working there with the Mary’s. It was perfect! Toby also had a great relationship with the engineer Ewan Davies who Eddie says “has x-ray hearing!”
The studio was booked for two weeks at the end of September. The guys arrived, set up and had a day’s rehearsal and then got down to making a red hot album. The good thing about Chapel, Eddie recalls, is “the fact you are there 24/7 so you eat sleep and shit the recording.”
Eddie recalls how they tried to stick to the demo’s as much as possible. “There were some great moments that we really did not want to lose. We did not want encounter like that well known head fuck Demo Fever, which is where you re-record the tracks and they never sound quite as good as the demo. The songs didn’t dissapoint. ‘Deliver Me’ was sounding awesome and the end of ‘Fade Out’ blew us away. The new songs, which on the demo had no final arrangement, were sounding better than we could have hoped for. The rehearsals had really paid off. Toby’s vocals were really working well with the new guitar parts and the worries we had about the unknown tracks washed away as they were played back at 1000 watts…”
During one of the few breaks Toby was looking through a magazine and he came across some illustrations by an artist he was a bit of a fan of – James Flames – and after showing Eddie some of his work they decided to contact him and see if he would be interested in doing something for the cover. To our surprise he was a fan of the first Fastway album and he got very excited at the prospect of doing the artwork for the sleeve.
During recording the issue of what to call the album came up, so a list was posted on the control room wall and anyone could put their suggestions on the list. Not all were great but one stuck in Eddie and Toby’s mind. It was Dog Eat Dog… Well they thought “no, we can’t use that, it’s a bit, you know… but as time went on it was the only title they could see. They recall; “We didn’t have much choice in the end. ‘Dog Eat Dog’ would not go away, so we went with it.
Eddie recalls the actual recording process; “No recording is trouble free. I think in reality you do not want it to be. We had our moments but as recordings go this one went pretty smoothly. Toby’s voice held up well and his bass playing was spot on.”
Eddie was in his element – after all it had been 17 years since he last made an album – apart from his favourite amp blowing up! But fortunately it was quickly repaired. No as sessions go this was a GREAT ONE… Time to pack up and go home. The mixing was still to be done and would be completed in ten day’s time at the Chapel in the mixing suite with Ewan at the helm…
Eddie added; “Coming back from the studio was like coming back off tour. You really don’t know what to do with yourself. You just want to be back there doing it. I have to say the rough mixes were sounding incredible, which is rare. Normally you get home and you’re not sure. ‘Maybe this could be better’ and ‘that’s not right’. The kind of self doubt creeps in. Well not this time. The tracks sounded great – yes, there were some things that definitely could have been done different and some things maybe could have been better but the overall thing was rocking and that’s what we wanted.”
Now the time had come to head back to Lincoln and start the mixing. Eddie continues; “Unfortunately, due to some people’s other commitments we only had eight days but we were hoping this would be enough.
“Trouble greeted us when we arrived. Ewan had been working on a Don Airey session and it had over-run which meant his mood was somewhat negative but after a couple of short days he had recovered sufficiently to soldier on at full speed. All in all we got through the mixing OK and came away with everything mixed, even though there were a few question marks over a couple of the tracks. The main worry was ‘Deliver Me’, which was to be the first track on the album and one we felt needed to be spot on. I contacted an old friend of mine, Matt Howe, who had helped me put my ‘Anthology’ Album together and asked him to remix ‘Deliver Me’. Well the results were brilliant he got on board with the essence of the track and did us proud. After this the talk was of remixing some other tracks but when Toby and I discussed it we could not decide which ones to do. That says to me ‘leave well alone’. That’s the story so far and here’s hoping we find someone to put the album out who gets from it the buzz we get every time we listen to it.”