We were pretty happy with Here Comes Tomorrow, so I continued to write songs and had about 10 to 12 new songs, as well as a few from the past that we had either not completed or had only done as 4 track demos.
I approached Ric Arboit to see if he wanted to record and produce us again.
In another crushing bad career move Ric decided as much as he really wanted to spend a couple of hundred hours late at night recording guitar solos until 5am in the morning, that he was too busy as President at Nettwerk to quit and record us.
Talk about wanting a do over, huh Ric? Ric did say he really wanted to do it. Ric suggested Vincent Jones, former keyboardist for Grapes of Wrath and Sarah McLaughlin.
Vince had a home studio and was an up and comer. I thought this could be a good challenge to see if I could kill another career.
We did several demos with the Here Comes Tomorrow line up, most of which are on the Anchors Away! release. We were going to shop them once again to the major labels, but at the end of the day we decided to do a full-length album. We went into Mushroom Studios, where we had originally recorded both the Go Four EP and Six Friends. Pat Stewart and Doug Elliott, the drummer and bassist for the Odds respectively, were brought in, I handled the guitars, and Vince added some guitars when I wasn’t looking, as well as keyboards.
The opening track What’s Gonna Happen Now was my looking back at our career as if we were backstage, the fading world-weary actor trying to put on his make up one more time before going on stage to do a performance. Think Alan Rickman’s character in Galaxy Quest. “By Grabthar's hammer, by the suns of Worvan, you shall be avenged.” I think Vince said that after every guitar take, though it was hard to tell as he was saying it under his breath whilst looking at me and shaking his head. Vince added tons of colour to this song. The song is a wistful look at not knowing whether to quit or go on. Oh, you wanted to vote on that? Sorry, the telephone lines are now closed. Thanks for playing along though.
Perfect Boyfriend was a song I’d written when we were living in Toronto in the early 90’s. The original demo version had a ska feel like Message For You Rudi by The Specials. Seriously. Vince reworked it so it was more like the Las “There She Goes”. Lots of jangly guitar work. The picking part is pretty similar to the guitar picking in Someone, except it is descending rather than ascending. Hey, if it almost worked once why not keep beating it to death? Vince put a lot of work on all the songs, but put extra work in to this one. Great vocals. We named the album Not Good In Bed from the lyrics in this song. “She’s got a perfect boyfriend, but he’ll drop her in the end. Cause she throws a real great party, but she’s not good in bed.”
I’m That Fool – we wanted to make it sound like a cross between Queen’s “You’re My Best Friend”, Burt Bacharach’s “Rain Drops Keep Fallin’ On My Head”, and a Proclaimer’s song. When I wrote it I heard the Charlie and Craig Reid singing it in my head. They’re from Auchtermauchty, so Fifers like me. When we were recording it in studio it wasn’t quite coming together, Vince thought the instrumentation in the chorus wasn’t enough, and we were about to drop it from the album. However, I “borrowed” (or legally “heavily influenced by, but not enough to be sued”) the picking part from The Sweet’s Solid Gold Brass song to fill it out. Pat was all over that as he’s a huge Sweet fan as well. And now you know the rest of the story. I also wanted this to sound a bit like the discordance that’s in the Beatles “Good Day Sunshine”. I love this tune. Plus I convinced Roxanne to sing the lyric: “And everybody knows that I’m that fool”.
Lo-Fi Girl was a good-natured jab at all the girl bands that seemed to sing deliberately out of tune and were proud about it. Hey, quit muscling in on our territory. If you read NME every week from the mid 70’s you can spot the bands that are built up weekly. Vince added some Nashville tuning guitar work on this one. I got to work in some Andy Scott Teenage Rampage guitar bends. Fun song to play live.
I Cry I Sleep was a lovely lush song with an early Pretenders feel. Vince, the lucky bastard, got to meet Chrissie Hynde. I know because he has a backstage photo of the two of them on his fridge, right underneath a huge sign that says: Look at this photo of me and Chrissie Hynde. Roxanne really nailed the vocals on this one. The guitar picking is me for once, I think it’s some odd time signature. I just play them how I hear them! Great production on this one, Vince earned his money on this one. This was another old demo from the early 90’s. Got lots more of those babies kicking around just waiting to be recorded. Pat and Doug took the song to another level during the outro. Is it just me or does it scream for a piccolo trumpet solo at the end? That was voted down yet again.
Say You Want Me was just a straight up loads of fun to play guitar riff song where once again I got Roxanne to sing embarrassing lyrics that I wrote. “I’m a loser to the end.” Roxanne’s a great sport, if not a little bit gullible, unfortunately for her.
The most downloaded song from the album, and Vince’s favorite was “Friends”. It too was a song I’d written from way back in the Toronto era. Very Beatle-ish, I wrote my part of the lyrics about Roxanne. I think Roxanne wrote her part of the lyrics about our friend Stephanie. Who knows? Vince did a fabulous job on this one too. No piccolo trumpet, but lots of backwards guitars at the end. You know why it was downloaded the most? Because people probably thought it was the Rembrandts’ song from the tv show Friends. Seriously – CD Baby, the indie online distributor tells bands that’s one way to get exposure and downloads. Have a song with the same name as a more famous song, such as Stairway to Heaven, or Smells Like Teen Spirit. Which funnily enough are the first two songs on my next album, Appetite for Destruction.
Vince also loved Loneliness. When he heard my demo he asked me if It was heavily influenced by the Bowie song Moonage Daydream. I’d never heard of the song. Sure enough, when I listened to it the chord progression and rhythm for the first part of the song they were eerily similar. The song was about Richie Edwards from the Manic Street Preachers who disappeared in 1995 and has not been seen since.
If I Was A Boy was originally way more T-Rex/Sweet/Nick Gilder, a real Mike Chapman Nicky Chinn sort of song, very heavy guitars and upbeat. Vince moved it to more of a Beatles Tomorrow Never Knows sort of feel. Instead of more cowbell I was always more backwards guitars. And piccolo trumpets.
The last song on the album is Betty’s On Parade. The song was originally called Dougie’s Coming Back. I had played the lead role in a small 15-minute independent movie from Stiff Films called Terrorbaum II, about a toy Christmas tree that kills people. I also did the soundtrack for the movie. The movie is a hidden classic that deserves to have the rights purchased for a massive sum and played along side It’s A Wonderful Life and the Alastair Sim version of A Christmas Carol every year ensure ongoing revenue streams for all involved. Roxanne changed the lyrics and the rest is rock and roll history.
Produced and mixed by Vince Jones
All songs Quinn/Heichert © 2002, Go Four 3 Music
Recorded at Mushroom Studios
Mixed at Greenhouse Studios
Roxanne Heichert – Vocals
Stephen Quinn – Guitars
Vince Jones – Keyboards
Doug Elliott – Bass
Pat Steward – Drums
If you enjoyed these notes look forward to The Day Nobody Came – my autobiography on Culture Shock, Go Four 3, Thrill Squad, and The Irises. Stay tuned for releases of Six Friends and Anchors Away – all unreleased tracks and demos from Go Four 3.