|JUJU - THE FILE|
Sound studios, 16th March, accompanied by Nigel Gray in his role as
The tracks: their origin and recording:-
On that first day they wasted no time, and immediately set to work on the track already chosen for release as their next single 'Spellbound'. The lyrics of the song were penned by Steve, a while back, who then took the process one step further by setting it to music on the piano. He taped the piano accompaniment and played the results to John, and they worked on it together from there; the song finally coming together with contributions from the rest of the band.
'Arabian Knights': recorded 17/03/81. It first emerged during rehearsals while Siouxsie and John were collaborating on a tune, and what emerged was a lengthy guitar track written in 3/4 time (waltz time, like 'The Staircase (Mystery). On Steve's intervention and suggestion, the timing was altered to 4/4, and reconsidering the results, John shortened his guitar part, to which Siouxsie wrote the lyrics.
'Halloween': recorded 18/03/81, this has a bit more history to it than the rest of the tracks on the album. During the days when John McKay was guitarist for the Banshees, Steve wrote a bass-line to accompany one of his tunes. At the time of it's conception, they weren't satisfied with the result of the collaboration, so it was shelved indefinitely. During rehearsals with the present band, Steve resurrected the long gone (but not forgotten) bass-line, and with the aid of the rest of the band, it received a completely new arrangement, and was set to lyrics written by Steve.
'Night Shift': recorded 18/03/81, Siouxsie already had a set of lyrics for this track, a fact which Steve and Budgie were unaware of when they created the music. Upon hearing the results of their collaboration, Siouxsie saw it as the opportunity she'd been waiting for, and coupled it with her lyrics. No longer novices in the recording studio, the band proved their prowess and precision by recording the track in one take.
'Into The Light': recorded 20/03/81 first saw the light of day on the far side of the English Channel, in the Autumn of -80 at the 'Paradiso' in Amsterdam. During the soundcheck, Steve and Budgie began playing around with ideas together. The result of their collaboration attracted the attention of Siouxsie, and compelled her to accompany them, when in a burst of pure spontaneity and inspiration she made up the lyrics as she sang.
'Monitor': recorded 20/03/81, originating from a 'jam' session involving the whole band during soundchecks on the 1980 U.K. tour it was similarly recorded (with the inclusion of Siouxsie's lyrics) in the same manner in which it was conceived - extremely 'live' in one take (and a somewhat drunken condition).
'Sin In My Heart': recorded 26/03/81, a tune which Siouxsie had written on the guitar (which accompanies Steve's bass as the introduction to the track, and continues throughout it on the album), provided the foundations around which this track was built. The version that appears on the album is a drastically edited one from the original. At one time it was going to last for ten minutes.
'Headcut': recorded 26/03/81, it's necessary to backtrack less than a month, to the soundcheck at Liverpool's 'Royal Court Theatre' (01/03/81) where Steve wrote the bass-line around which this track was written, and coupled with Siouxsie's lyrics.
'Follow The Sun': the track featured on the flip-side of the 'Spellbound' single. Prior to one of the takes of 'Voodoo Dolly' in the absence of John, observing their actions from the mixing desk, prompted Nigel to record the trio's spontaneous session. When they'd finished, they all listened to the playback, and were astonished by the results, but it still needed a guitar track and lyrics. John provided both backward and forward guitars, and Siouxsie provided the lyrics.
'Voodoo Dolly': recorded 30/03/81, one of the most ominous songs ever written by the band, it was the result of the entire band 'jamming' during the rehearsals for the 'Futurama 2' fiasco in '81, to which Siouxsie wrote the lyrics. It was recorded 'live' (the only way it could have been recorded really, in order to do it true justice), and the version on the album is the second take they recorded.
As the band had partially mixed the album as it was recorded, there was only the final mixing to be done and the album was complete!
'Slap Dash Snap': the additional track featured on the 12" (extended version) of the 'Spellbound' single. It wasn't actually recorded during the session at 'Surrey Sound', but it was rejuvenated there. Originally it was a backing track which had been gathering dust since it was recorded during the 'Kaleidoscope' album sessions, which merely consisted of a drum machine coupled with triple echoes. The rejuvenation process consisted of the addition of backward played guitar loops (played in three octaves), which were triggered by the drum machine. Steve added his lyrics to it, and the whole track was mixed 'dubwise'. Further additional tracks were recorded which don't appear on the 'Juju' album, but will be released in the near future.
Billy 'Chainsaw' Houlston
it's necessary to backtrack to the 'Juju' recording session.
Remember that I said additional material was recorded? 'But Not
Them' was one such track. It was first worked on during the
Jan/Feb rehearsals '81, and later premiered on their U.K. tour '81 -
those of you present at any of those gigs, will remember it as the song
which featured just Siouxsie's vocals, and Budgie on drums. It was
during that session that, so pleased were Siouxsie and Budgie with the
recorded results of 'But Not Them', that they first decided ob further
collaborations in a similar vein as a duo, thus taking their newly
discovered working relationship one step further. So from then on,
whenever the opportunity presented itself, they began formulating idea,
and writing material with their future project in mind.
Having written sufficient material to begin work on a record, a studio was booked, and on 25th May, Siouxsie and Budgie locked themselves away in 'Playground' studios for four days, to complete their task. As they already had 'But Not Them', 'in the can', from the 'Juju' session, they started work on 'Mad Eyed Screamer', a song specifically written for the e.p. and which features the only occasion when Siouxsie uses another instrument other than her voice, a bell. This was followed by the most unlikely version imaginable, of the old 60's classic 'Wild Thing'; the roots of which were planted way back in the days of the rescheduled 'Join Hands' tour '79, during a soundcheck 'jam' session featuring the band as they are now, with the exception of Robert Smith on guitar (instead of John McGeoch). It transpired soundcheck status, and merged as a dominant part of 'The Lord's Prayer' performed at the last gig on the tour, at Hammersmith Odeon (15/10/79). Next they recorded 'So Unreal', which developed from part of a lyric Siouxsie had written the previous year, based on the book/movie 'The Stepford Wives' - and so onto the final song 'Thumb'. The lyrics and idea for 'Thumb' emerged during the 'Juju' session, when Siouxsie intoned spontaneous words (not really lyrics) as a participant in a 'jam' featuring Steve and Budgie. It features the only effect other and Siouxsie's voice (and bell), and Budgie's percussion. The track was recorded over a backdrop of stereophonic traffic sounds, which had been recorded during the session, by using strategically positioned microphones, to capture the 'live' sound of the rush hour traffic passing the studio. With every track recorded during the first three days, the fourth and final day was spent mixing them; with which their task was completed, and ready to be unleashed on an unsuspecting public - but not yet!....
....Sometime during September '81, a four track e.p. titled 'Wild Things by the Creatures' (that's its present title anyway, though it might be changed by the time it reaches the shops), will be released. Buy it, or be forever sorry!
'But I've never heard of The Creatures...', I hear you say. Oh but you have, it's a working pseudonym for Siouxsie and Budgie.
With Siouxsie on vocals and Budgie on percussion, the strength of the combination is perfectly reflected in the overwhelming material that the duo have produced. It's a very visual experience (as are all Banshees' records), the interplay of multi-tracked vocals that instantly become characters in their own right (they all play roles in the situations present in the songs), coupled with the completely percussion, conjures up situations and imagery that demand the listeners total attention - and believe me, once your attention is captured, you'll be completely compelled to listen!
There is definitely something very ethnic about the combination of Siouxsie's voice and Budgie's percussion, that at times creates feelings and sounds reminiscent of the Orient and the Congo. What they have successfully captured and expressed on vinyl, are the raw sounds and emotions that enabled the primitives to communicate - voice and percussion as message makers, instruments capable of bridging great distances. They build up layer upon layer of rhythms that are capable of remaining constant or unexpectedly exploding in a myriad of intricacies. It's evident that their complete control and the sound it produces comes from within, an extension of themselves. That's why the entire experience is so emotive, it goes beyond being just a drummer and a vocalist, to the point where the omission of the instrumentation that is usually present on Banshees' records, isn't apparent; in fact there were instances when my subliminal thought patterns were disrupted to the degree that I was certain I was hearing instruments that I knew weren't there!!
Although Siouxsie and Budgie produced the record themselves, they were accompanied in the 'Playground' recording studios (between 25th & 28th May) by Mike Hedges, who filled the role of engineer.
Initially the record will be released as a 7" e.p. and will contain the following tracks:- 'Wild Thing', 'Mad Eyed Screamer', 'But Not Them' and 'Thumb', this will be followed by the release of a cassette version which will include the additional track 'So Unreal'. As I've already stated, the release date is scheduled for sometime during September, so don't say I didn't warn you!
Billy 'Chainsaw' Houlston