Stumbling 33 steps down memory lane
It’s the 16th anniversary of the release-week of Fizzy Fuzzy Big and Buzzy. Almost unbelievable.
Before my own memory further fades, here for posterity and fun, are 33 things (a randomly-chosen number) about the recording of that album I think I recall:
• At “The Riot Hyatt,” in Hollywood, CA at around 1:30 in the morning, The Refreshments finally inked our recording contract.
• A few hours later, we loaded our gear into the illustrious Ocean Way Studio on Sunset Blvd.
• We rented a house in LA.
• PH took the couch (he was “the new guy”), rest of us got bedrooms.
• Recording took 4 weeks.
• It was punctuated ecstasy and monotony.
• I spent most of my advance money on a Custom Shop Telecaster.
• We started every day of the week at 10.
• We usually cut off around 2 or 3 a.m.
• We recorded all our takes standing up (except, of course, PH…)
• And always live to tape.
• Clif Norrell was our producer, engineer and mixer; he slept the least and drove us hard.
• “Feeling” became a b-side.
• “Psychosis” got on to a soundtrack of a movie no-one saw.
• I had daily panic attacks, cold hands and feet, chest pains, dizzy spells, a lot of denial and an unopened bottle of anti-depressants.
• I recall long nights of interminable takes in front of the mic, the smell of the tubes burning in the amps, standing in our sweltering iso-booths, sweating from the heat the amps generated from cranking out take after take after take after take….
• We all enjoyed relaxing in the studio lounge with the simple thrill of flying the slot cars around the track.
• We killed hours playing Risk.
• “The Blush-ians” proved the most irritating scourge.
• I discovered why they call meditation a practice.
• We consumed urns of coffee, kegs of beer, and gallons green tea, semi-loads of “Double-doubles,” columns of biscuits and gravy.
• I disappeared on long bike rides along Mulholland Drive and I never did find a pick up soccer game in Hollywood.
• I read in a pre-release review that I was too old to pen a “meaningful debut album.” I was 26. So glad they said that.
• Brian and I sat for sat hours on acoustic guitar and harmonica trying to get the intro to “Nada” right.
• “Interstate” is the only fade-out on the record; it was originally written with an ending that mirrored the intro.
• Somebody said, “f**k it,” drove across the desert, got halfway home to AZ, and then came back.
• No one said a word.
• The record company let us pick the first single!
• We flipped a coin between “Blue” and “Banditos.”
• There was no internet, all movies were VHS, we sent letters in the mail and bummed each other’s calling cards, and were never interrupted by cell phones or e-mail.
• There was some hysterical blindness at some point, but that was near the end.
• I remember pouring everything we had into it.
• Fizzy is what came out.