|JOIN HANDS - THE FILE|
into the recording studios. This time at 'Air', where on 4th May
work on the 'Join Hands' album commenced. That date is also
significant, in that it was the day on which Siouxsie made her now
infamous appearance on BBC's Radio's 'Roundtable' (which reviews the weeks
new record releases) during which she gave her honest (but not following
with either the BBC or 'Roundtable's traditions) opinions of the reviewed
records in no uncertain terms. As the programme was broadcast
'live', this left the enraged BBC with 'egg on their faces', the
subsequent outcome being that Siouxsie was banned from any future 'live'
work in connection with the BBC (a ruling which has remained ever since).
'Roundtable' having been 'written off' as experience, they continued work on the album every day for the next three weeks. The majority of the album was done really quickly, the ran as follows:-
Day(s) 1 and 2:- the recording of backing tracks for 'Placebo', 'Icon', 'Regal Zone', 'Poppy Day' and 'Mittageisen'. Towards the end of the night, if recording was going exceptionally well (as it was on that particular night), recording had a tendency of spilling over into the early hours of the morning, and it did. Spirits were so high in the band, that they went in and recorded a version of 'The Lord's Prayer', whereby the whole song developed from spontaneous improvisation.
Day 3:- they recorded the backing tracks for 'Love In A Void', 'Premature Burial' and began work on 'Infantry'.
Day 4:- they completed work on 'Infantry' and began work on 'Mother' (which proved to be something of a lengthy task), and as the days recording was drawing to a close, they burst into, and completed another 'Lord's Prayer'.
Day 5:- yet another 'Lord's Prayer' was recorded. During the period when the band laid down the backing tracks, a total of seven versions of 'The Lord's Prayer' were 'in the can', all of which were recorded under 'live' conditions, with no additional instrumental overdubs; the only exception being that additional effects (i.e. echo) were added at a later stage to the version which eventually appeared on the album. Regarding 'The Lord's Prayer' on the album, have you ever wondered what caused the temporary breakdown mid-prayer? (the section in question is, where, following Siouxsie's impersonation of a cock crowing, as she begins to song 'My little chickadee' the drums begin to dissolve eventually to a solitary drum beat, then nothing; leaving Steve and John to provide the musical backdrop, as Siouxsie repeatedly chants 'carry on, carry on!' and begins her recitation of the actual prayer, Kenny starts to resume the beat, and by the time that Siouxsie reaches the 'I'm gonna' get you in the end!' Kenny is back in full swing), well the answer is quite simple really - Kenny's headphones fell off, so he couldn't hear what the rest of the band were playing!
The majority of the backing tracks were completed in the first week, with the vocals and overdubs being recorded during the following fortnight (although the band feel that too much time was spent on doing them).
By the end of three weeks, a decision was made to mix the 'Love In A Void'/'Mittageisen' single, in order to get it into circulation before the release of the album. It was originally intended to be a German only release (hence 'Metal Postcard' was translated into German by Dave Woods, and became 'Mittageisen' - meaning midday iron) but due to Virgin records importing large quantities of the single, and selling them to the eager to buy public at rather extortionate prices. Not at all pleased by Virgins' actions, the band decided to get Polydor to rush release it in Britain, in order to make it readily available at a reasonable price. There were slight differences between the German and British releases. The British release was a slightly different cut, with the single becoming a double 'A' side, whereas 'Mittageisen' was the 'A' side in Germany (hence the British release has the titles of both tracks on the front of the sleeve). There was also another slight alteration to the sleeve (the cover being a reproduction of the John Heartfield photomontage 'Hurrah! the butter is all gone', which depicted a German family under the Nazi regime, eating guns and machinery - in relation to Goerings' Hamburg speech (during World War 2), "Iron has always made a country strong, butter and lard only make people fat"), in Heartfield's original, the wallpaper in the dining room is emblazoned with swastikas and all the swastikas were obliterated except for one. But by the time of the British release, the remaining swastika had also vanished. The remaining difference was on the labels, the German one is red whilst the British release has a grey/silver label.
Following a weeks break, two weeks were scheduled for mixing, but during the middle of the mixing process the band flew to Switzerland, where they performed 'Pure', 'Metal', 'Switch', 'Placebo effect', 'Jigsaw Feeling', 'Hong Kong Garden' and 'Suburban Relapse', as part of a two hour 'live' mixed media show (which amongst other things featured mime troupes). Then two days later (9th June) they flew to Zurich for a one off gig, then on to Munich, where they recorded one of their songs for inclusion in a 'mimed' television show. The brief but hectic European sojourn completed, they flew back to England for the last day of mixing; the completion of which meant that the only remaining task was to decide on the 'running order' of the tracks, and the album was complete.
Billy 'Chainsaw' Houlston