- Dee Long - February 1996.
A1) No. The first Klaatu album was done over a period of 3 years (to the day) and during that time there were a few singles released. I don't remember all the details, but "For you girl" and the original "Hanus of Uranus" never made it to an album. I believe the rest ended up on the first album.
A2) None of the singles really sold very well. On the day that "True Life Hero" was released as a single, the record company folded. The intention was always to finish an album but without a specific deadline. It's rare that you get a chance like that in the music business! We only started to sell a lot of records when the "Steve Smith" article came out.
A3) Originally we were signed to Daffodil with Frank Davies, but when the album was ready, Daffodil no longer existed. Terry Brown and his lawyer, along with Frank Davies managed to get us signed to Capitol in the U.S. for a 3 album deal, with escalating advances, without ever meeting the band or even knowing our real names! I don't think that has ever happened before and will probably never happen again.
A4) Oh yes. There were quite a few. I beleive "A Foot in Cold Water", (great band!) and "King Biscuit Boy" were among them. Mostly Canadian acts, that were only popular in Canada. "Tom Cochrane and Red Rider" may have been part of that scene. I recall Klaatu was the back up band for "Tom Cochrane" on a tune called "Sail Away" around the time of the second Klaatu album.
A5) Dino never played on the records, I don't think he plays an instrument. He and John wrote together and I suspect Dino's input was mostly with lyrics and general concepts. They wrote some great tunes together. I've always found it difficult to collaberate with other people on song writing.
A6) I think it was John and Dino. We had a lot of help from a lot of friends in the recording of that tune. It was great fun, but I have to say, it's my least favourite tune on that record. Too complicated and tricky for my taste.
A7) The first 3 albums were produced by the 3 band members and Terry Brown, who handled most of the engineering. On the first album, Terry Brown mixed all the tunes, (with us leaning over the console madly adjusting levels and effects) except for "Sub Rosa Subway" which was mixed by Steve Vaughn. He managed to get a tougher sound which I personally like.
To give you some idea of the sessions, I recall one night at 1 in the morning I answered a knock on the back door of the studio. It was Mick Jagger asking if he could come in and check out the place! I was just about to say we were busy (I just thought it was some guy off the street!) when Steve Vaughn saved me by inviting him in. He spent several hours in the control room listening to what we were doing. He was very nice (but much shorter than I expected!). During this time we had the 2 inch tape of "Little Neutrino" on the machine backwards, while Terry Draper crashed cymbals and made other strange noises. I was madly adjusting the vari-speed on the muti- track while Terry Brown and John Woloschuck were adjusting levels and effects.
You can imagine the bizarre noise coming from the monitors, (which were cranked), the lights were down low, and the place had a unique but familiar odour:-).
He never said a word, and to this day I wonder what the hell he must have thought!
By the 3rd album, we were starting to run in to a lot of disagreements mostly between John W and Terry Brown. I was also unhappy with the lack of balls in my tracks, and a lot of the engineering on that album was done by myself or whoever happened to be around. A lot of the recording was done without Terry Brown and I think the album suffered because of it.
The "Endangered Species" record was done in L.A. with Chris Bond producing. All the drums and bass were played by studio musicians, (payed triple scale!), and I think they did an extremely boring job! We weren't able to stay for the mix, because the money ran out, and Chris did a terrible job of completing that record, (sorry Chris). Add that to the fact that the songs were really bad, (we should never have listened to the record company!), and you get one pretty sorry excuse for a Klaatu album, in my humble opinion.
The 5th album "Magentalane" was done on a small budget with Capitol Canada, and was produced by the 3 band members. We had a lot of fun again, and although we never regained the magic of years before, at least we made our own record. The songs could have been better, but it's a heck of a lot better than "Endangered Species" and cost one fifth as much to make.
A8) You are hearing things! John would never have said such a thing on purpose! Shame on you!
A9) That's us. Amazing what you can do with a Vari-speed on your tape machine!
A10) I am (Dee). The idea for "Little Neutrino" came from "Issac Asimov's Guide to Science" which I knew inside out. "Around the Universe" was your basic faster than light "Warp Speed" concept, which some scientists are starting to believe might be possible. After all, the Integrated Circuit was predicted in the early "Star Trek" shows.
A11) What you hear is a tape loop of me saying you blew it, feeding back through a tape delay. I think it's also fed through a flanger to make it change as it decays.
A12) Mostly John Woloschuk. He often used to layer vocals using different vari-speed settings on the Multi-track to make it sound like a lot of different people. I think we all contributed.
A13) We recorded a short epilogue to end that album, but when we heard the final cut, we decided it wasn't needed. It took away from the ending of the "Lighthouse Keeper". The music was left out, but we decided to keep the lyrics. It could be include on a rarities disk!
A14) I guess you could say it is. JW wrote "Routine Day", and I wrote "Move to Mars" but the sentiment we were expressing was identical! Sort of a "Let me out of the Rat Race!" scenario.
A15) That would be John Woloschuck.
A16) Could be. All I'm sure of is that I turned on the TV and flipped through the channels looking for a preacher and recorded the first couple of relevant bits I found. I thought the preacher saying "Am I not God Almighty?" applied well to Manson's image of himself. I know John W always hated that part of the song. At the time I thought it was hip, but now it seems a bit silly.
A17) I don't think so. I have not heard that CD, but if I do, I'll let you know!
A18) I think John intended it to be an amalgam of the words "toke" and "more". A bit like "Strawberry Fields" I guess. Can't smoke Strawberries though!
A19) That was my idea. We used to always look for new and different ways to record music.
On "Madman" I soldered a couple of patch cords to a doorbell push button, then I played sustained organ chords all the way through the song. We then transfered the track while I "played" the push button to create the "gated" effect you hear on that song. That sort of clipped gate effect became very popular about 10 years later.
Some of the "Digital Delay" effects on the first album were done with an old Ampex 2 track tape deck. I broke open an old 8 track tape cartridge and took out the rubber drive wheel. With a bit of work, I got it to fit over the capstan of the old Ampex machine. The studio technician built a vari-speed device using an oscillator and a powerful amplifier to drive the motor in the tape deck. Using this combination we could get the thing to run at outrageously fast tape speeds! It would eat up a 30 minute roll of tape in less than a minute, but the resulting (very short) tape delays produced the coolest sounding "tight" delays that are done today with digital technology.
George Martin once said to me that no matter how advanced digital technology gets, it never seems to be able to do a good job of re-producing some of the old sounds like true "Tape Flange" or tape slap echo effects. He was right. I could go on for hours listing some of the strange and bizarre things we used to do to achieve something a little different.
A20) He new exactly what he was doing. We just asked him to repeat what he said during his "Pep talk" before recording started. He was quite pleased with his performance!
A21) Rupert Perry changed his position at Capitol, and the new guy, didn't like the record, and decided to cut his losses. On the day we heard the news we also heard the single from the album on L.A.'s biggest radio station at prime time! Go figure.
A22) I believe the mouse trap is followed by the mouse scurrying away, after ALMOST getting caught in the mouse trap!
The mouse trap was "Capitol" and the "Music Business", and we were the mouse.
A23) As you know, it's out. Sorry to take so long answering your Kuestions.
A24) Last I heard, the studio is doing the odd demo and pushing the "Gut Sonic" album I engineered there a year ago. Terry is working in several studios, doing his kids record, and his own album, which I hear is going to feature a re-mix of one of his old Klaatu songs that never made it to an album, called "Winter in Peru".
A25) I record a fair bit with my band "Psychich Mambo" in the basement of Ken and Michele Worth. Ken and Michele have a Neve console and a 24 track plus lots of midi gear. We've done a lot of commercials and TV work and have an un-released albums worth of material that I intend to collect soon and at least make a few CDs. We turned down several offers to release our stuff because everyone wants way too much. The Music Business ain't what she used to be!
JW recently asked me to work on a tune with him and I know he has a home studio.
A26) Never! But we have discussed doing a rarities album with a few new tunes on it. I have at least a dozen tunes of my own that would fit nicely on a Klaatu album. I'd love to do it, but it's hard to find time these days.
A27) I have a few and the other guys have some but as far as I know they are not commercially available.
A28) I think Terry Draper and John have them.
A couple of copies exist, and that could be done if enough people wanted copies.
A30) Only the ones on the album were recorded, but there were demos of all the tunes. I doubt they still exist.
A31) As I said, we could put those together for release, it's really a question of finding someone willing to do the grunt work involved. If the audience exists, I'm sure our current record company would do it. Maybe a fan blitz of Attic Records would get them interested. I'm not sure if they have a web page.
Attic Records Limited is no longer in business.
Permanent Press Recordings is no longer in business.
A32) It was wonderful.
The tour was arranged by Bruce Allen, the biggest promoter in Canada, and as you know, we opened up for his band "Prism".
Bruce Allen came to one of our rehearsals, and after listening, just let into us. He said we were going to "Die" on stage, and basically told us that we sucked.
The first night of the tour, when we came on stage, the audience went nuts. They were holding up banners, and posters of the Klaatu sun, and the place was filled with flash bulbs going off. After we finally left the stage (after several encores), the whole place emptied and Prism were left playing to an audience of about 30 people.
As we walked off Terry Draper turned to Bruce Allen and said "Well, what did you think Bruce?". All he could do was nod his head and walk away. That was a very satisfying moment. I did feel sorry for Prism but they never bothered to find out anything about our band, and they should have expected it. There were a lot of fans just waiting to see us, and the rest of the tour was pretty much a repeat of the first show.
At the last show, we not only had a lot of fans there, but all of our friends as well, and it was an experience which will never be equalled for us.
I should also mention that the musicians who came with us on that tour were the best there is. Gary McKrakin on drums, Mike Gingrich on bass, and Gerald O'brien on keyboards.
A33) We had offers to do several show in the U.S. but Capitol Canada would not pay for the trip. Touring is expensive, and needs to be re-couped through record sales. I guess they didn't think they would get their money back. Shame really. It would have been great.
A34) Yes. I am going to get them from JW. He has copies, and I'll send you whatever I can get.
A35) Except for the one time with "Tom Cochrane" I don't think we have as a band. All of us have recorded with other people many times. I've played, engineered and programmed on hundreds, maybe thousands of records over the years.
A36) No. It was in an old, but beautiful house in Buttonville, which is protected by the Canadian Government as an historical home. It was moved across the street years ago and renovated by the Government. It is now a tourist attraction. There is a Self-Serve gas bar where the studio used to be.
A37) It was the end. I had decided to pursue engineering at the E.S.P. studio. After the tour ended, the other guys wanted to keep playing so we started playing bars around the circuit. It was boring! I left and they hired a guitar player to fill in for me. I did get to see them play at a local bar, and I was sure at that point that I had made the right choice. The magic was long gone.
A38) No contract problems. Capitol refused to spend any more money. They also stopped pushing the record. We all made the choice to go our seperate ways.
A39) We did do a live radio broadcast of one of the shows, and I expect one of the fans will have a copy. I remember it wasn't a great night, and I'm not sure I personally want to hear it!
There is a video tape of the last show at the "Danforth" in Toronto, but it's dreadful quality, and will never be seen.
A40) The "Keith Hampshire Show" exists on video and could be released. Also the "Routine Day" video gets shown on Much Music once in a while as the first animated Rock Video. It's part of the "Happy New Year Planet Earth" TV special, which I am going to get for you.
A41) For me it's "Silly Boys". I just love how twisted it is and I LOVE the atmoshpere in the ending. It's a shame it didn't sound a little better.
I don't know anyone who doesn't like "Calling Occupants".
A42) You'd have to ask Hugh Symes because he created that cover with little input from us.
A43) No. But we had a few sent to us. We almost did one called "Sci Fi" but it never happened.
A44) Yes. I think most of them are at John's place. They are most likely in rough shape.
A45) John and Terry are both married. Terry has 2 Nintendo kids. I have a girlfriend in Vancouver, and I am moving out there in August. I've never been married but you never know!
A46) Yes they mostly know, but other than it gives us something to talk about, I don't think it makes a difference. Most of my friends are musicians and are curious about some of the people I've met and worked with. I've had the good fortune to have worked with most of the people in the Toronto Rock scene, and with people like Paul McCartney, George Martin, Pink Floyd, Duran Duran, Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler and many more. 99.9 % of them have been nice, normal people, believe it or not!
A47) Hmm. It's taken me about 4 hours to answer them! Ask me later.
Sure brings back some great memories though! Dee..............