In 1982, I am working for the Crown Court by day and slinging hot metal for Sounds Magazine at night. I’d been doing this for 6 years, so I knew nearly every musician of note in the whole Wales and South West region. And as our hospitality is legendary, quite a few have passed through our portals, to sample our fine food and wine (and those little rock n roll extras), and to find that the lady of the house is a pretty damn fine musician herself, on keyboards and vocals.
So I got this call from a Sax playing friend, Tony Wrafter, saying he’s blagged his way onto a Compilation album but he hasn’t got a band, just the name for one… Vital Excursions. He has to get his track recorded in the next 24 hours, or he loses the contract. Can he borrow Vanessa (Ness) ?
Well Ness, in those days, was painfully shy, so when I put the proposition to her, she was scared shitless; not because of her uncertainty of her own talent (she knows how good she is) but for being a bit bland or not living up to expectations. But she finally agreed.
We picked up a bloke in the car who was going to play Bass, but in fact what he played was a cello, and headed for some dark dank basement Studio in a Georgian House in City Road, it may have been Mushroom studios, I don’t remember. What I do remember is getting the beers and the Takeaway in.
All improvised, well except for Tony’s overdubs, and frankly there are a lot. The intro for instance… Nobody starts out with a riff like that in his pocket, he listened to Ness and layered over it, then picked up on her every mood and tempo change. No harm in that mind, except Ness never saw a red cent in royalties or even got a writing credit, and 80% of the heavy lifting is down to her.
Wrafter was a complete shit, who still owes me money and married a friend of mine, Gabby. Everybody at the wedding were taking bets as to how long it would last… 3,6,9 months? Because we knew our Wrafters from our beams of sunshine, didn’t we? It lasted 9 months actually. But he is a bloody good Sax player!