“In 1989, I took a step back to focus on writing and production for other artists. After all, I’d done it quite successfully for myself for the previous few years, how difficult could it be?
Spectacularly difficult, as it turned out.
I equipped my home studio with highest tech known to mankind (later to be thrown in a skip), grabbed a rhyming dictionary and set off on my new adventure. Such was my ardour, it soon became apparent that I was going to need a bigger shelf for my rapidly expanding collection of DATs (Digital Audio Tapes – a nineties thing – you had to be there).
DATs full of songs. Some completed, some not.
Some I’d written on my own, some I’d written with others; Some with established artists, some with the next big thing; Some for major label projects, some just for the Hell of it; Some good, some not so good (some shockingly bad).
A few made it into the public domain in some form or other. Most did not.
By 1998, the shelf was heaving.
And so, tired of attending endless (and, in the most part, pointless) A&R meetings; bored of trying to please everybody (me, the artist, the artist’s manager, the artist’s mum, the record label, the record label’s mum); frustrated at 90% of my creative endeavours never seeing the light of day and finding it increasingly difficult to force my words into other people’s mouths, I decided to draw a veil over the whole songwriter/producer thing and start making my own records again.
I have never looked back (until now).
Fast forward to 2020 (and 3 house moves later), the smell was so bad, I was sure a medium sized mammal had died. It turned out to be an abandoned pot noodle a youth had left in the attic. Fortuitously, on searching for the source of the troubling stench, I stumbled across two cardboard boxes with words “studio/shelf” scrawled upon them. Therein languished the afore mentioned DATs from the previously touched upon shelf.
I managed to locate a functioning DAT player and, armed with a bottle of Malbec, settled down to re-acquaint myself with the contents of the tapes. Halfway through the second bottle, I decided I was a genius and the world couldn’t possibly survive another day without hearing every one of these lost masterpieces.
On more sober reflection, a few days later, I concluded that maybe some of the songs were pretty good and might, at some point in the future, be worth recording properly and maybe made available to those members of the general public possessed of any interest, if I could be arsed.
Thus was born “Songs From The Shelf”.
Just me trying to validate nine years spent banging my head against a wall.
This is “Part 1”.
I’m thinking of calling the next one “Part 2”.
Do you see where I’m going with this?”