So, it's about time we all had a think about the music. The demo tape known as Spit Tree Dog Love was our first go at professionally recording the stuff we'd been working on in the caravan shop. The idea was we could sell the tapes at gigs, and that is what we did. In fact, before long we all became very good at demanding money without menaces, after gigs, during gigs, before gigs, whenever.
Snips, who is an astonishingly talented artist, drew the cover. We photocopied it onto coloured paper and cut and folded each one lovingly by hand. Mine was blue. We then made T-shirts based on the design, and even ended up making huge polystyrene letters of that beautiful logo. They all broke, of course.
The tape consisted of four songs:
Made Of Spit
My Favourite Tree
Every Dog Has His Day
How I Love You Now
As grown ups who've not really thought much about these songs in nearly 20 years, it's a little shocking to hear them. So I felt a little sorry for Steve and Paul. At least I'd acclimatised myself by digitising them. They had to listen to everything in one big spurt (a very Roger's Trout Farm word, that).
I sent the songs over yesterday, with a warning: "Oh Steve...OH STEVE...what joys await in this little link here. What pleasure, what pain!"
His reply was swift and incredulous: "Ruddy Nora! Did we really play that fast? Were our voices really that squeaky? How, how I say – HOW?"
At this point Snips joined in with a review: "Just listened to the demos in full and louder. SpitTreeDogLove sounds great particularly Every Dog Has His Day. I'd forgotten how lively that sounded.
Made Of Spit too, the accapella bits, great. and there were whole chunks of My Favourite Tree, in fact the demo in general that I had forgotten. It's in a world of its own, a strange fun world.
That bloody FLANGER has GOT to go though!"
Snipsy had a flanger - it's a guitar effects pedal - which he used quite unlike anyone I've ever heard before or since. He used it to make his guitar wobble and jangle and hiss and swoop. You can hear it most on the barking bits of Every Dog Has His Day, that's how most people use them. But it's used more subtly on other bits. I can't tell you where, it's subtle.
Steve and Paul returned fire soon after.
Steve: "He he – that flanger! You were also pretty partial to the wah-wah pedal by the sounds of it. The production, lack of any discernible subtlety etc were all pretty much of the time and haven’t aged that well. However, it’s a really mind-bending collection of songs and it’s getting better again with every listen as my ears get used to shock. What the hell was going through our adolescent minds?"
Paul: Steve and I listened to Spit Tree Dog Love in the car on the way to a soundcheck earlier and were amazed by the helium-based performances. I think these songs have stood the test of time very well - purely because we didn't seem to be influenced by anything at the time that would date it! James is right about that Flanger though. Why James, why?"
James Agnew was unavailable for comment.