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The Making Of LOTGA - Studio Timeline

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12 hours ago, Millstone said:

Hi John

Does there exist any masters of Euphony or 15 Hours still? All the copies out there are from a shitty cassette. 

Yes I do have the full digital master of Euphony. At this point it is in the vault. If there was a desire to release it digitally, that process could be done. The 15 hours material I am unaware of any digital media that was kept. It may have just been a cassette, given we were using the studio as part of an award. I know the Sony DASH tapes were provided free of charge and likely reused later by students. It was a studio used by either Trebas or Columbia Academy at the time. It's likely my assistants on that session were all students as well. 

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12 minutes ago, Shepp said:

Yes I do have the full digital master of Euphony. At this point it is in the vault. If there was a desire to release it digitally, that process could be done. The 15 hours material I am unaware of any digital media that was kept. It may have just been a cassette, given we were using the studio as part of an award. I know the Sony DASH tapes were provided free of charge and likely reused later by students. It was a studio used by either Trebas or Columbia Academy at the time. It's likely my assistants on that session were all students as well. 

Matt would have to give the green light. I doubt he would, as it doesn't contribute to the goal of wiping all traces of it off the earth very well. Thanks for all the insight to everything... Was LOTGA an all digital affair or what kind of consoles and media were being used?

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You're welcome, Millstone, yes I would tend to agree, but you never know, with age sometimes you get sentimental. Yes, it was recorded on linear digital tape. The studio had a good compliment of decent tube preamps, and the console was english (an Allen and Heath with VCA automation) 

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On 6/22/2020 at 11:40 AM, Shepp said:

Here it is kids! Be advised no audio in this video for legal reasons, and it should generate a few questions.

Wow, thank you so much for making this and posting it here John!  This is legendary.  I've never heard of a lot of this info.

Minority opinion but LOTGA is my favorite MGB album. 

Edited by Moonlight_Graham
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John, really enjoyed your interview you did with Daniel and Ian, I posted my thoughts on that in a much more long winded form in that thread, but thank you you again for hanging around and answering some of our questions, it gives such a much appreciated insight into the creation of Last Of The Ghetto Astronauts and the timeline prior to that album that so many of us knew very little about previously.  A few things I was wondering: 

1. You've listed a number of songs from the Lost Album and Last of the Ghetto Astronauts that were outtakes, or just not released.  I understand some of these were with the old band and some were with Ian, Geoff and Dave.  Do you have a list of which ones were performed by which band? Obviously Revenge was by the Genn, Lloyd, Browne version of the band, but what about the others? Also in the interview you did with Daniel, Ian mentioned that he thought they performed "Leaving on a Hijacked Jetplane" (great title by the way) at some of their earliest shows.  Since the band was writing, rehearsing, performing and recording at the same time, do you know if anyone taped any of those shows off the soundboard, or if any setlists survive? Those early days in concert are a complete mystery for us fans as the earliest live bootlegs we have are from 1998.  Other than a couple TV performances on Demovision and MUCH we really have no confirmation of what their live sets were.  

2.  One thing I've always wondered, and you might not even know the answer to this, but there are several CD releases of both Last of the Ghetto Astronauts and Raygun.  With Ghetto it seems like it was released originally with the cover that just says MGB and Last of the Ghetto Astronauts in white script on EMI which seem to be quite rare.  It then was released again a second time by EMI with the updated cover with red block letters and then again by Darktown with the same cover.  I'm assuming these three releases were because the first pressing with the original cover ran out and then a second pressing with the more common cover was released by EMI and finally when Matt signed with Darktown they rereleased the album in 1997 under their label.  That seems pretty straight forward, but with Raygun it also has three releases: one in a cardboard sleeve with a black and white disc on the EMI label, one in a jewel case with a black and blue disc on no label and a third with a jewel case on a black and blue disc on Darktown.  So what I'm wondering is what happened with the Raygun releases?  Was the band originally still signed to EMI where they released Raygun, but then at some point broke off their deal with them and then while unsigned rereleased Raygun under no label before being signed to Darktown who rereleased it along with Ghetto Astronauts in 1997? Or was there a different order of events there to explain the 3 releases of Raygun on three different labels? 

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Hi Adam, I'm glad this whole topic has been well received by the fans of MGB. The great thing about the interview was the stuff that was uncovered that perhaps had forgotten. I think given the timeline, the new line up (power trio or with Dave Genn) had a good period of time to gel and define a style. At first the reference points rhythmically were far from the more progressive folk of the previous incarnation of the band, throwing a lot more Police and Pixies into the mix. With Dave in there, this was glued. 

So the song titles in the vault are as follows:

Last of the Ghetto Astronauts:

1. Revenge (very radio friendly uptempo track with Charlie on the drums)
2. Not What You wanted (slacker anthem, laid back and loose)
3. Leaving On A Hijack Jet Plane (Similar to Radio Bomb, a lot of humor and silliness, great drum groove, definitely a b-side)
4. If The Desert Was The Ocean (another downtempo song, the lyrics start with the line "Dolphins don't go the Heaven, they're not allowed")
5. Endless Slow Poison (Total Power trio rocker, sounds like the offspring of Alabama Motel Room and Haven't Slept In Years) No Dave on this one, just loads of guitars. 

======================

The Lost Album:

1. Black Penny (Very dark and brooding, progressive song about Social Inequity, dense lyrics)
2. Awkward (the heaviest song on the record, some Alabama in there as well, but the bridge becomes a platform for Steve Codlings piano)
3. The Navigator (Amazing lyrical folk pop song, loads of cello, was intended to lead in to Joe's in Trouble from Euphony reused. We even had a seperate multitrack reel to do this)
4. Ceiling Song (Tongue in cheek song about the thoughts of a "Sunday bored little kid" with a Chorus that's just "Yeah Yeah Yeah" Given the way alot of Milenial music uses this type of hook, it was way ahead of it's time)
5. Wherever We May Go (Change of Season, Apparitions, Symbolistic, etc. Total power ballad)
6. Twelve Second Tour (Similar to Black Penny, heavy, progressive, lyrically dense)
7. Never Let Me Down Again (Depeche Mode cover, big guitar solo section at the end)
8. Healers and Saints (Dylanesque guitar and vocal, lovely lyrics and sentiment

Those are the studio recordings/masters that I retain that fall outside of the releases. I don't recall any recordings of any live dates the band did, in effect I was present at only a few shows as it was, including the Gate (Underdogs), Town Pump and Gastown Music Hall.That said, I know that when I was playing at local venues with my bands, we would always try to record the show, but that question would be better put to any members of the tour production crew the band used, rather than me. I think it likely they would be recordings. 
=========================

The Ghetto release does have several incantations. That's because at first it was an indie release distributed by Outside Music. Yes there were two version, or rather three, as the first had a misprint of the work Ghetto as Ghello. That release was having challenges in retail, because of the MGB title, so fans would ask for Matthew Good Band, but staff would not locate it. So, the full band name became the rejig you see on the second release, still under Outside. Eventually, the title would migrate through to A&M and UMG though I'm not sure when. When Raygun was released, it was intended for marketing in the US, but Private Music/Windham Hill ceased to exist, so it got absorbed into the Darktown label, which was the company Simkin and Co. set up to administer all aspects of the MGB and MG business, so Darktown is an indie label distributed at that point. I only have the cardboard version with the swirly grey CD art. Try not confuse EMI publishing with EMI the Record label, they are different entities. The result of all these versions is really a sign of the mergers that occurred during the 1990's and has resulted in some unique and different CD's.

E&OE

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On 7/25/2020 at 10:05 AM, Shepp said:

Hi Adam, I'm glad this whole topic has been well received by the fans of MGB. The great thing about the interview was the stuff that was uncovered that perhaps had forgotten. I think given the timeline, the new line up (power trio or with Dave Genn) had a good period of time to gel and define a style. At first the reference points rhythmically were far from the more progressive folk of the previous incarnation of the band, throwing a lot more Police and Pixies into the mix. With Dave in there, this was glued. 

So the song titles in the vault are as follows:

Last of the Ghetto Astronauts:

1. Revenge (very radio friendly uptempo track with Charlie on the drums)
2. Not What You wanted (slacker anthem, laid back and loose)
3. Leaving On A Hijack Jet Plane (Similar to Radio Bomb, a lot of humor and silliness, great drum groove, definitely a b-side)
4. If The Desert Was The Ocean (another downtempo song, the lyrics start with the line "Dolphins don't go the Heaven, they're not allowed")
5. Endless Slow Poison (Total Power trio rocker, sounds like the offspring of Alabama Motel Room and Haven't Slept In Years) No Dave on this one, just loads of guitars. 

======================

The Lost Album:

1. Black Penny (Very dark and brooding, progressive song about Social Inequity, dense lyrics)
2. Awkward (the heaviest song on the record, some Alabama in there as well, but the bridge becomes a platform for Steve Codlings piano)
3. The Navigator (Amazing lyrical folk pop song, loads of cello, was intended to lead in to Joe's in Trouble from Euphony reused. We even had a seperate multitrack reel to do this)
4. Ceiling Song (Tongue in cheek song about the thoughts of a "Sunday bored little kid" with a Chorus that's just "Yeah Yeah Yeah" Given the way alot of Milenial music uses this type of hook, it was way ahead of it's time)
5. Wherever We May Go (Change of Season, Apparitions, Symbolistic, etc. Total power ballad)
6. Twelve Second Tour (Similar to Black Penny, heavy, progressive, lyrically dense)
7. Never Let Me Down Again (Depeche Mode cover, big guitar solo section at the end)
8. Healers and Saints (Dylanesque guitar and vocal, lovely lyrics and sentiment

Those are the studio recordings/masters that I retain that fall outside of the releases. I don't recall any recordings of any live dates the band did, in effect I was present at only a few shows as it was, including the Gate (Underdogs), Town Pump and Gastown Music Hall.That said, I know that when I was playing at local venues with my bands, we would always try to record the show, but that question would be better put to any members of the tour production crew the band used, rather than me. I think it likely they would be recordings. 
=========================

The Ghetto release does have several incantations. That's because at first it was an indie release distributed by Outside Music. Yes there were two version, or rather three, as the first had a misprint of the work Ghetto as Ghello. That release was having challenges in retail, because of the MGB title, so fans would ask for Matthew Good Band, but staff would not locate it. So, the full band name became the rejig you see on the second release, still under Outside. Eventually, the title would migrate through to A&M and UMG though I'm not sure when. When Raygun was released, it was intended for marketing in the US, but Private Music/Windham Hill ceased to exist, so it got absorbed into the Darktown label, which was the company Simkin and Co. set up to administer all aspects of the MGB and MG business, so Darktown is an indie label distributed at that point. I only have the cardboard version with the swirly grey CD art. Try not confuse EMI publishing with EMI the Record label, they are different entities. The result of all these versions is really a sign of the mergers that occurred during the 1990's and has resulted in some unique and different CD's.

E&OE

Thanks John, I really appreciate the extensive response to my inquiries, definitely clears up some things I was wondering.  I have all of those releases of Ghetto and Raygun, just never really understood how they came about, or what brought about their order or release.  Also thanks for the definitive listing of the songs from the Lost album and the songs that were outtakes from Last of the Ghetto Astronauts, clears up the confusion I had there and I appreciate your efforts to relate what the songs sounded like and give reference to similar sounding tunes.  It may be material we never get to hear, but it's always tantalizing to get a bit of a feel for it anyways.  Thanks again John! 

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Thanks for such an in depth description of all the unreleased stuff, John. Truly fascinating 🙂 Based on that post and the interview you did with Ian I've got a couple more questions:

-With regards to the Lost Album and the song "Awkward", you mention there's some "Alabama in there". Does that mean there were sections of AMR in Awkward before Matt actually used them in AMR? Or did you just mean the song has some similar tones and feelings to AMR? 

- Matt has a varied history with covers. Sometimes they carry the original tone and mood of the original (Enjoy the Silence) and other times he completely changes them (Moon over Marine). Either way they usually turn out pretty worthwhile. On the Depeche Mode cover for the Lost Album, is the version him and the band did similar to the original or quite different? Likewise, with regards to the solo at the end, does Matt do it or does someone else? I know different people have different opinions about Matt's lead guitar work but I've always loved it. Even the stuff he did on LOTGA is to the point, but also so unique and adds a great deal of extra feeling to each song (Radio Bomb is a favorite of mine, especially the lead guitar work at the end). 
 
Another question that I have is related to how in your interview with Ian earlier in July you mentioned that Change of Season was one of the songs you and the band had thought about recording for LOTGA and that the version that ended up on Underdogs was quite similar. To those points: 

-Were there any differences in the final version that your aware of or remember (such as any guitar solo during the bridge in version that almost made it onto LOTGA)? 
-Was it being worked on in the studio during the recording or had the band simply worked it out in the rehearsal space?
-Do any demos of that version exist that you're aware of? 

As usual my apologies for all the questions, lol. Definitely no rush on answering them. 
 

Edited by daniel_v
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Thanks Daniel, I quite enjoyed the talk with Ian and you and the stuff that came up. So with regards to the overall vibe of songs like "Awkward", it really does bare no musical comparison to AMR except being edgy and different. Lyrically and musically there no similarities. 

The Depeche cover is very close to the original in approach, notably faster though and without layered vocals. The Piano and Cello and Guitar overdubs create the spacious elements, especially in the tag, building up to a crescendo. There is a breakdown before the tag where Ariel does a cool tapping bass arpeggio and then the others slowly build the section more and more. A very inventive version. The lead guitar is a total hybrid, 1980's style sound with distortion and H3500 flanging and delays, to make it stand out. As with most of Matt's solos, they are chiefly there to add melodic support, like the ones you referenced in Radio Bomb.

I can't recall when I orginally heard Change Of Season, likely it was in preproduction or during a break at the studio. We never did anything with it. Perhaps because we already had enough material, or that is wasn't yet fully developed. 

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12 hours ago, Shepp said:

Thanks Daniel, I quite enjoyed the talk with Ian and you and the stuff that came up. So with regards to the overall vibe of songs like "Awkward", it really does bare no musical comparison to AMR except being edgy and different. Lyrically and musically there no similarities. 

The Depeche cover is very close to the original in approach, notably faster though and without layered vocals. The Piano and Cello and Guitar overdubs create the spacious elements, especially in the tag, building up to a crescendo. There is a breakdown before the tag where Ariel does a cool tapping bass arpeggio and then the others slowly build the section more and more. A very inventive version. The lead guitar is a total hybrid, 1980's style sound with distortion and H3500 flanging and delays, to make it stand out. As with most of Matt's solos, they are chiefly there to add melodic support, like the ones you referenced in Radio Bomb.

I can't recall when I orginally heard Change Of Season, likely it was in preproduction or during a break at the studio. We never did anything with it. Perhaps because we already had enough material, or that is wasn't yet fully developed. 


Never Let You Down sounds like an incredibly interesting cover. After you mentioned it was a Depeche Mode song I immediately went listened to it (it's in my iTunes library now) and I can definitely see the influence they would have on Matt's sound as he continued on, so I guess it's not a surprise he would choose to cover that one. They way you describe it sounds like a lot of thought and energy was put into its construction and with the description you've given it really does help when imagining how impressive the end product must have been. 

I made a post not too long ago talking about all the great musicians Matt has worked with over the years and Ariel really was no exception. I've always said I think his bass work was so unique and inspiring. I can see why Matt needed Geoff to replace as him because if he was going to have any new musicians join him after Ariel, Eran, Steve and Judy, they would surely have to play at an equal level. I think we're all lucky that he kept working with you and also knew Geoff, Ian and Dave afterwards.

Speaking of Dave...do you remember how he was brought into the sessions in the first place? By that I mean did Matt or one of the other band members know him from around the city, or did you happen to recommend him to the rest of the band? 

Anyways, thanks again for the in depth description 🙂 

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23 hours ago, Millstone said:

Do you have any recollection of what was going on when Matt says "press the little red button, it is pressed!" then laughs and says "just go..." before the band launches into Parable on 15 Hours?

Actually, Matt and I were always goofing around talking in Monty Python voices, and called the multitrack recorders "the big machine that goes "bing"". Probably shows you the atmosphere we had together was generally light hearted. No doubt we kept some of that stuff in just for fun, or it was such a rush job, I didn't mute it out on mixdown.

9 hours ago, daniel_v said:


Never Let You Down sounds like an incredibly interesting cover. After you mentioned it was a Depeche Mode song I immediately went listened to it (it's in my iTunes library now) and I can definitely see the influence they would have on Matt's sound as he continued on, so I guess it's not a surprise he would choose to cover that one. They way you describe it sounds like a lot of thought and energy was put into its construction and with the description you've given it really does help when imagining how impressive the end product must have been. 

I made a post not too long ago talking about all the great musicians Matt has worked with over the years and Ariel really was no exception. I've always said I think his bass work was so unique and inspiring. I can see why Matt needed Geoff to replace as him because if he was going to have any new musicians join him after Ariel, Eran, Steve and Judy, they would surely have to play at an equal level. I think we're all lucky that he kept working with you and also knew Geoff, Ian and Dave afterwards.

Speaking of Dave...do you remember how he was brought into the sessions in the first place? By that I mean did Matt or one of the other band members know him from around the city, or did you happen to recommend him to the rest of the band? 
 

The Depeche song was totally appropriate for that line up to do, I agree, it fit in with the overall sound they had perfectly, and I dedicated a whole session to mixing the final. I was starting another project the next day and another band was in the studio space rehearsing, so I was in the control room working away under a deadline, as Matt and company where on they're final tour (as it turned out). The Producer for the other band kept coming in to listen as I tweaked the mix and he was really digging it. Again it's unfortunate all I can do is describe it, but that will have to do.

My best recollection is the first time I encountered Dave Genn was at the Charlie session. Audra had been fired as manager at that point and Frank Weipert had taken the reins. At that point he was managing Big Naked, Art Bergmann, Ronnie Hawkins (Lowest Of The Low) and others. Dave was versitile and playing in Art's band and several recording acts at that time, so he was a bit more experienced. Perhaps part of it was to have him oversee was we were up to. At any rate his contributions were stellar and he filled out was then a new band at the core. I know Frank and I had many dealings after that point as he steered a lot of other acts my way. Dave and I later worked on "Hey Valerie" by Ron Hawkins, a solo EP.  

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