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Demon - First Class / Cold In The Air (Orig.Vinyl)

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Uploaded on Apr 5, 2011

FIRST CLASS - Hello! Steve Watts here...read on...

(C) Dave Hill/Mal Spooner (1985)

I don't remember what was more shocking...hearing of the untimely death of Demon composer and guitarist Mal Spooner, or the sight of the huge Barbie-pink penis I had just finished painting on my friend Lynn's living-room wall.

I was temporarily staying at Lynn's flat after spending a few weeks crashing out on Steve Parry-Thomas' settee. I'd finally left home after another gruelling fight with my Dad and this time, the split lip I'd received after being punched in the mouth had finally sent me packing. In return for board and lodgings, I'd agreed to decorate Lynn's flat (the shocking pink was her idea...though I have to confess, the phallus was mine, and my idea of a joke - albeit, a rather adolescent one: it also took her weeks of sanding to finally get rid of it! Sorry Lynn!).

So...I'm decorating for my lodgings in between the recording sessions of the new Demon album "British Standard Approved", when Steve P.T and Mark Grady turn up at Lynn's flat to tell me the bad news. The last thing I remember is sticking a hastily scrawled note to the still-wet tip of this enormous pink phallus and rushing off to Leek to be with Dave Hill and Mal's family.

I'd always felt very close to Mal. I felt a bond between us I didn't feel with other members of the band regardless of our nineteen year age gap. Perhaps it was purely creative, or perhaps I reminded Mal of himself in an earlier age; or perhaps he represented the older brother or father figure I sorely needed, I don't know, but both he and his wife Sue (along with Dave and family), accepted me into their respective houses. Sitting in Sues' living room on the day of the funeral (she even had the grace to offer me a couch to sleep on for the night to which I kindly refused) was a sobering experience.

That night I went back home and sat just staring at the walls for days...better the devil you know eh?

Mal had been battling with illness for a long time, and by the time I joined the band, when he emptied his pockets it often looked like some pharmaceutical company was having a clear-out.

However, we carried on with the recording of BSA regardless.

Originally in two parts, 'Prelude: 1st Class' and 'Re-Entry: 2nd Class', the opening track of the album was originally entirely instrumental except for accompanying scripted dialogue and sound effects, which were meant to represent the passengers aboard the Titanic. The dialogue in fact contained actual quotes heard on deck when the ship hit the iceberg and was slowly sinking, as recollected by survivors of the catastrophe.

This though is where any similarity ends (unless of course you wish to use Atlantic Records dropping us from their label after they heard the hastily recorded demo we recorded and sent to them as an analogy).

The dialogue recording was hilarious. Even with the serious subject matter it was impossible to keep a straight face. Take after take quickly degenerated into farce until Dave had to give up any hope of us sticking to the original script. On the original vinyl recording, Gavin Sutherland of 'Sutherland Brothers and Quiver' fame (we recorded the demo for Atlantic in their home studio), can clearly be heard asking me if I'd like "another boy vicar ?" and later states, "fuck me vicar!" to which I cheekily reply, "What again!"

At this point you can hear the sound of Mal, John Wright and the rest of us breaking down in hysterics.

The final tour-de-force was the moment when Gavin and Mal got their scripted lines completely mixed-up...

"Oh dear - I've left ma' wife in the cabin"...

"I've left me wife"...

"I've left me spectacles!"...

It's also Mal who can be heard quoting "We're dressed for the occasion - we'll go down like gentlemen" in his best posh English accent, just before the white-noise "whoosh" leads into 'Re-Entry' and John and Gavin's superb triplet rhythm section.

Originally with no vocals, Dave and Mal hastily composed new lyrics and vocal lines over one evening for 'Re-entry', the general consensus being, that the opening of the album was far too long as an instrumental. The vocals were added in the next recording session, the whole track being eventually re-named 'First Class'. The sinister, "A first class ticket to the other side" vocal section in it's poly-rhythmic 3/4//4/4 groove is one of my favourites on any Demon recording and a brilliant testimony to both Dave and Mal's writing skills...

Follow the rest of this blog from Steve Watts on the-demon.com Forum!

http://the-demon.com/index.cfm?sidoID...

and follow the link: ITS WHAT WE ALL WANT...ITS WHAT WERE ALL AFTER

DAVE HILL: Vocals
MAL SPOONER: Guitars
JOHN WATERHOUSE: Guitar
JOHN WRIGHT: Drums
STEVE WATTS: Keyboards and Synthesizers

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