Thanks list from “In the Realm of the Senseless”

I was just cleaning up my old website today which contains the thankyou list from the first album. I thought I’d better sling it in here, so there’s a record of it somewhere in the universe. Also it’s kinda funny to see the names that crop up, and how sometimes things have changed in the last five years. I’ll be doing another thankyou list for ‘The Floating World’. It will be much shorter.

 

I have decided to part with tradition and not have the usual massive death-metal thankyou list in the liner notes of my CD. This is for all sorts of reasons. I don’t want a booklet in the CD, just a cover insert with the bare goods in there – should save on printing costs. Besides, I ran out of money buying photos for the artwork. And I’ve always found the whole thanks list thing a bit awkward, like dudes were parading how many names they can drop. I know that’s not the case! – it’s just how it feels sometimes. There’s only one way I reckon I could justify it in my case and that is if I actually explained WHY people are on my thanks list…and by god, mine are there for a bloody good reason!
So, decision’s made – instead of a booklet thanks list, there’s a link pointing to this page. Everyone on the list’s role in the production of this CD is outlined, and you may gather some insight into why bands have so many names to thank in their liner notes. Did they bring beer to the recording? Loan money? Write music? Here’s where you find out.
In no particular order:

Luke Kenny – aka Berzerker… Apart from producing and mixing this, he actually encouraged me to get off my arse and record the CD and push it to the public. People ask if Luke is pissed with me for recording my own CD instead of keeping all my effort to Berzerker. Are you kidding? If I went into all the ways Luke helped me record this stuff, we’d have an essay here. It could all be summed up with a chef metaphor – if Luke’s Gordon Ramsay, then I’m Marcus Wareing. I think only Tony from madman will get that, but anyway.

Marcus Hankey/Grant Cummin – when these flatmates told me years ago “why do you sit around here all day playing guitar? Why don’t you join a band?” they probably had the ulterior motive of getting me to grind elsewhere. In any case, those words were all it took to put me on the long road to here

Russ Russell – the realest man in metal…., Russ mastered the CD. By rights, one would ordinarily have to swim through a sea of caviar, champagne, and minders to even speak to the likes of him. He’s recorded Napalm Death and Dimmu, for god’s sake. On the contrary, when I bumped into him on tour he not only happily agreed to master the CD for me, he invited me around for the mastering and treated me to dinner at the table with him and his awesome family. A gem of a dude.

Manami Shima – it is traditional to thank your girlfriend in the liner notes of the CD. “This CD is called Death By Blood by the Graveshitters, I would like to thank my sweetie pie for her love and support”. But Manami’s contribution is a bit more concrete than that. I never had a name for this project, and when Anticulture offered to licence it, I suddenly needed one. I had no idea what to call it. Manami came up with the name The Senseless, so thank her. Plus she did a top job of keeping my sanity in check leading up to the recording, no small task. Cheers, babe.

Craig – I don’t even know his last name. All I know is I borrowed a guitar off him two years ago which I used for practice for the rerecording and he hasn’t asked for it back yet. I suck

Ol Drake from EVILE – he did the last solo in Promise…the one that actually sounds like a real solo, instead of my unco widdling. I bullied him into it by relentlessly pursuing him online and over the phone, and finally managed to extract the needed solo out of him two days before my plane left for the recording in Australia.

Matt Wilcock – my fellow Berzerkerer. He helped me with the recording of the rhythm guitar tracks back in 2004 by working the desk and offered much helpful advice (“That sounds gay. Learn to solo. There is no place for acoustic parts in metal. You suck” etc). He also performed a tapping part on Crippled Trash when he lost patience with my primitive and feeble efforts at playing the part myself. When it comes to recording, Matt knows the deal. He didn’t even blink when Luke and I called him from Melbourne in a mild panic on the 2nd or 3rd day of recording as he was waking up in London, trying to find out if he still had said rhythm guitar tracks two years later on a hard drive at his parent’s house in Australia. He did, lucky us.

Charles Provost of Anticulture Europe Office and HIM Media  – this is the dude directly responsible for signing the project. I was trying to send some CDs through to french band Happy Face who he managed, and one of them was the demo for this project. Charles got his hands on it, liked it, and before I knew what was happening had Anticulture records offering me a licencing deal. Without Charles it’s a sure thing this recording would not have been released and without his promo push I’d have nowhere near the coverage in Europe I have now

Steev Anticulture – took a chance where all other labels feared to take a chance. A one man powerhouse.

Conor – worked for Earache. He asked me at a show about the project when it had only been available online, and encouraged me to send it through to them. Earache knocked it back but that was enough encouragement for me to keeping sending the demo to all and sundry. I bumped into him online only but a week or two ago and it now seems he is working for Plastichead distribution, so he’ll be looking after all the electronic distribution for the Senseless CD. I’ve offered to set myself on fire if it will help his sales. He’s currently considering the offer.

Leon Macey of Mithras, Zero Tolerance magazine – provided me with a little bit of sample assistance, and much industry and legal advice. For a bloke who runs his own magazine, plays for a famed band, shreds guitar like Azagthoth, and drums over 300bpm, he sure is humble and helpful. And when I was stuck for someone to master a demo so it could make an appearance on a magazine cover last year, Leon came through and ripped me up a mastering job in a matter of days. Legend.

Gareth Holmes – when I left Australia, I left my computer with my buddy Gareth and barely took any backups of the music I’d made with me. Suddenly when I was required to rerecord the album, the shit hit the fan. I trawled through all my backups and found half the drum tracks, half the solos, and half the samples. Gareth has lost count of the amount of times I called or sent a panicked email asking if he could run a full computer search for some random .fla file. He came through with the goods, and even managed to change a few of the file formats to suit my ever-changing purposes. Come to think of it, I pulled him off a holiday to do this, twice.

William McCulloch – so, the recording of the album had nearly finished except for the final track ‘After Happy Ever’. I had got kick samples mailed from Luke. Gareth had found me my missing drum tracks. Now all I had to do was pull a hundred samples off a CD for the cubase song which I had created years back. Only problem, the CD was fucked and there was no way my computer was reading it. Matt Wilcock’s solution would have been, well, the song’s fucking gay anyway, leave it off the CD. My solution was to take the CD to Willy McCulloch for some data recovery. The CD seriously couldn’t have been any more screwed than if I had skatedboarded down the road on top of it. When Willy saw the CD, he winced and went ‘jesus, Sam’, like I’d brought him a jar of herpes. He managed to recover every single file except one.

Rob and Mike from Woodslap – have lent me basses and amps respectively

Jamie Hooper – from Fingercuff productions. He shot and edited the filmclip for Vacation and pulled off our multimillion dollar effects on a £0 budget. He also suffered the indignity of having me reject the first edit of the video, then worked through a bout of tonsilitis to finish it on deadline to my ever shifting satisfaction.

Tom Cordery – my double for the video, a buddy from work. When he heard I was recording a video he was immediately like “Oooh! Can I be in it? Pick me! Pick me!”. I don’t think he seriously thought I would until I called him the day before shooting, demanding that he drive across town to be my body double. As things turned out, couldn’t have done it without him.

Simon – loaned me a red BC rich Warlock guitar for the filmclip. It is occurring to me about now that perhaps I should buy some musical instruments of my own

Caroline Jones – I’d never owned a PC before and one day she just gave me one. Just like that! There is no way any of this stuff would have even made it to demo form if that had never happened. It was a pentium 3 with about 100mb of memory spare, but it was enough to write and record ‘After Happy Ever’ and a bunch of other songs on. I had no interest in computers or plans to buy a PC. Talk about a gift from the gods.

Ryan – drummer for the european Berzerker tour. I was going to buy one of those dumb boss 8 track things with a built-in drum machine cause I was desperate to somehow record my own stuff. Ryan was like, “why don’t you just buy a PC? You can record on those, and do much more than you could ever do with a 8 track”. Quite a seed you planted there, Ryan.

James DaCosta – this guy writes better than almost everyone I know. In year 8 at high school, he spontaneously wrote some piece on my folder. It was the adolescent angst thing done except in a knowing cynical adult voice with more brilliant lines per paragraph than anything I’ve seen anywhere else. I reminded him about it when coming up with lyrics for the album. He said “What?” I quoted a few lines for him and he rewrote a decent version of it for the song ‘Promise’.

Kevin – took all the promo shots, indoors and outdoors, and did a damn fine job. I owe you either money or a website dude, contact me.

Rabi – from Fluidzone. He was the first link in my epic expedition trying to get the covershot for the CD. I had a copy of Riptide magazine from the early 90s with the most brutal wipeout ever on the cover, and I wanted that shot. I didn’t care what it took, and thank god for that cause it took a lot. I didn’t have any contacts for Riptide so I found Rabi’s details online. He looked like someone who knew shit in the Australian bodyboarding industry. I asked him if he had contact details for Riptide. He did and immediately passed them on, no fuss, helpful as could be.

Nick, editor for Riptide magazine – next on my mission to find the photographer. I swarmed him with emails asking for details for Who Shot That Wipeout Picture, and didn’t get a response for months. One month before the artwork deadline (when I was contemplating running down to Bournemouth Beach and taking a photo myself), he replied – and was more helpful than I ever could have hoped. Not only was he able to give me all the details for the photographer who had shot that cover, but he said he had another photographer who had shot a near-identical snap and he gave me those details too. That ended up saving my skin.

John Bilderback – John was the first photographer I chased, and the one who had provided the Riptide cover. Although I didn’t end up using his photo, his correspondence was full of a gracious aloha spirit that – considering he’s a top world-travelling surf photographer – was totally humbling. I couldn’t go with his picture because…

Ted Grambeau – was the alternative photographer Nick Riptide suggested and the one I ended up using. Ted took a while getting back to me, and when I saw the sample of the shot Nick had told me about, my jaw dropped. It was the same surfer, from the same wave, on the same day John had taken HIS photo. Same angle and everything. I analysed the wave – foam was the same on it, little jutting bits of wave were poking out the same. Only the lighting, framing, and the angle of the doomed surfer differ. It must have been snapped like .03 of a second after John took his shot. This is from a day’s surf somewhere in the early 1990’s. I have no idea as to the odds, but they’d be pretty ridiculous.  Ted’s price was lower than John’s so I ended up running with him. The licence for the pic ‘frogman’ just arrived today, and there’s some substance smeared on the envelope. It looks a little like blood. Ted is another travel-the-world surf-photographer-pirate like John, and it was an honour to correspond with both.

Brock Lewin – a mate of mine from Oz who took the peaceful pier shot from the back of the CD. Fortunately this photo did not entail anywhere near the amount of drama getting the covershot did.

James Caygill – well, y’know, I’ve got my design degree, I could have done all the artwork myself. Except I didn’t have the time. That, and James is like a thousand times more talented than myself. He did the layouts for the CD and ran with my images to do up the awesome business cards, stickers, and merch for the project. Dude, the business cards look AWESOME.

Rich – got me my first copies of fruity loops and cubase, tools which I still use to this day

Bill Hicks – this isn’t the bit of the thanks list where I start naming every influence under the sun. I reference the great comedian because I used quotes of his in two sets of the lyrics, You Are Nothing (I quote a couple of lines from his ‘marketing’ speech) and No Bomb Is Big Enough (the ‘freebird’ show where he starts screaming at the audience). Anyone who has ever performed for an audience will relate to some of the things he said to his.

Tony Robbins – while listening to powertalk it suddenly struck me how insane Tony would sound completely taken out of context. I recorded myself screaming a line of his “Nooo! NOOO! EXPRESS HOW YOU REALLY FEEL! LET IT OUT THERE! YEAH, YEAH YEAH!!” and with some studio trickery managed to get it sounding like the giant himself.

Jim Cardiac Arrest and Jesse – two buddies who have been fully supportive of the senseless right from the get-go. If these two dudes were my only audience that would be enough to do another three CDs.

John Flower – my buddy who taught me how to play guitar. Everything you hear on the CD is a reflection of the sense of timing, melody, and rhythm he imparted to me. It’s one of the great injustices of the world that he doesn’t have a CD of his own

Troy’s House of Music, Melbourne – these guys set up both my bass and guitar in A standard tuning and did a brilliant job of it. I didn’t realise what a great job they did until I tried using other people. When technicians hear what I want them to do with my guitar these days they usually look at me like I’ve dragged a dead body into their shop.

Adam Sagir – five years ago we fled the Gorbals in Glasgow, denied both prostitutes and crack. Now you pimp my hot metal to the UK, my English promotions Superfly. Cheers.

Machinochrist – cheers for the brilliant mashup which features on the e-card and website. I can’t believe you did something that awesome in less than three days

That’s it for the thanks. There may be additions to this list.

 

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