Some time 94/95 Bass and Skets hooked up again for evenings of booze and inevitably instruments were unsheathed, plecs buffed and some exploratory sounds ventured upon. Initially just acoustic doodlings, old songs dusted off and some rather good jamming…the intervening years hadn’t been entirely wasted. It’s 1995 and Willo decided upon a domestic restructuring which allowed him back on the scene for evenings of wine and song. All strictly unserious we met up perhaps every 6-8weeks played all the old songs, learnt a few newbies and got back in the groove. Skets now often on 12 string or mandolin, Willo on whistle, mouth harp and occasional 6 string, Bass, lacking imagination, still on 6 string but had acquired an ancient banjo which needed an outing.
Willo had been moaning on about the need to get loud, go electric and start writing our own material. This coincided with the big 4-oh…Bass got new acoustic, electric and amp…Skets had recently invested in keyboards…Willo splashed out on a tres ( Cuban gitar) we woz cookin’.
We also decided to get away for an extended sojourn in the country, a week of music with no women, children, pets etc when we could be totally self indulgent and see what transpired. October 2000…and it’s off to a half timbered house in Cratfield, Suffolk, and the Transient Groovers were born.
First off we recorded using the then brilliant Sony digital minidisk system – a single mic carefully placed to pick up all sounds. Worked pretty well with acoustic music though the mic tended to get overwhelmed if we pushed up the intensity. On the other hand it was single take music with no overdubs and all depended on capturing a good performance. We then gradually started combining acoustic with say electric guitars, using drum machines and mics for the vox.
Musically we started out covering all the old songs and bringing in new bluegrass, country, folk, blues, psychedelia, rock, trance…any old shit was OK if we liked it. We also got back into jamming….massive jams of a humungous nature.
The first two TG’s disks from Cratfield and Transwellow Express (West Wellow) were about preserving the past and playing enough to get the accumulated dust out of our systems – covers and experimentation.
Next we went back to Suffolk: Blaxhall, and Willo kept nagging on about writing our own material. Before he’d arrived on the first evening Skets and Bass had written the first ever TG song: Long Road Home. By the end of that week we’d written 8 new songs and covered another 5 that became It’s Only A Sketch Pad.The next album, Golden Dawn, also compiled at Blaxhall, the next year, followed the same format, recorded on minidisk and blending original songs with covers and featured Willo’s move on the electric bass – we could now be a legit electric band …give or take some talent, technique and tumescence…..
Third time at Blaxhall was an odd affair. Death and unemployment hovered over the band…in various ways….but we’d had the smarts to invest in a fantastic Zoom HD 8 track recording thingamajig so proper home recording could commence. Out of this technology came a new iteration of the TG’s with original material and covers. Benchstrength was a step up in quality as we also hooked up with our production maestro Nick who took the basic tracks, polished them up, mixed them properly and put a professional gloss on them that was way beyond our nascent recording skills.
2006 and its time for a change of location and we find Keepers Cottage, Oxnead, in deepest Norfolk. This time the covers take on a new character as we use cover lyrics but generate our own music which often bears no relation to the originals. We also manage to dredge up 7 originals lifting a phrase from one of the more Jungian tracks for the cd title: Transcendental Emanation. Alongside sending of the tracks for Nicks’ quality knob twiddling Bass was rightly outvoted and a drummer, Mike, enlisted to overdub rhythm tracks…backwards yes but typical of our working methods. No question Mikes’ contribution made all the difference, new depth and dynamic was added…our first political song was allowed past the bullshit sensors – all was rosy in the jardin.
It’s a no brainer …back to Oxnead for another week, late’07 and we hit a rich vein of Americana that all hangs together and we deliver some decent performance’s, accept that we need to use some overdubs, especially of vocals which really ups the quality of the final sound. Again we follow the formula of using cover lyrics but do some straight covers and a handful of originals as well. Hard Cash seems to be the most completely realised of TG output…and has the best artwork! As before Mike and Nick have quality input and we’re chuffed as the proverbial canines’ cojones.