Thursday, November 04, 2004

Red Factory - The Martock Sessions 1981


Ok - first things first - shout out to Kid Shirt - you were there, it was your band, you played on this session - you smoke far less than me - and for sure your memory serves you better than the sponge masquarading as a brain that I carry around in my aging skull ...... sooo please feel free to fill in the gaps where they for sure lurk ....

ok - 1981 - beginning of the decade of doom - but banging away (literally) in the depths of Somerset were a band of merry minstrals (yeah yeah) - Red Factory - stand up and take your bow sirs ...

Back in those days the Farmer here - for reasons best left alone - was a co-owner of a pretty substantial PA system - equipped as they so often are - with a mixer and big-bag of effects - many a fine afternoon and evening were spent either seriously fucking up front-of-house sounds for various bands - or as in the case in point here - recording experiments in futuristic sonics .... !!

So on the 9th Spetember 1981, we find assorted Red Factory types, myself, Graham Fallows and Weird Beard (the most un-weird beard you will ever meet)- assembled in a 300 year-old former-school building in the village of Martock, Somerset. After the normal unloading of van - setting up of various bits of recording stuff, synths, drums, amps, mics etc etc - opening of tins of beer, skinning up of spliffs, smoking of spliffs - skinning up more spliffs - smoking more spliffs - getting almost caught by care-taker smoking spliffs - drinking more beer - we finally set about recording the Red Factory sound ....

Recordings were all done live - no overdubs - straight down onto a Sony 2-track reel-to-reel - all effects and assorted mayhem played live - either by the band - or via some well fucked up engineering by afore-mentioned Mr. Weird Beard..... on the whole a rather fine day - and for sure an interesting collection of tunez...

Now for over 20 years it would seem that these sounds have been lost to man-kind (the master tape no doubt is still filed with all all manner of lost treasures in the far recess of the home-of-the-weird-beard - now as no-one either knows how or is willing to try going anywhere near those parts - it would appear the only other copy is on the Chrome TDK cassette sitting here on the desk beside me .... this being a direct dub from the master 2 track ... how I managed to not lose this sort of thing years ago amazes even me - BIG TIME ..... amazing what you find when you open doors that at other times are better left closed ....

So - being in a mode at present where I am told to do nothing (remember I Am The Man With No Appendix!!) - I have started filling my days by digitising old cassette tapes and generally with the odd tweak, cut and lick of mastering - will be releasing lost treasures via here (Kek - I have the complete sessions on CD for next time we meet) .... and if your lawyers do not advise me otherise - may well let seep into circulation other gems from this long-lost session ...

so without further ado, from 1981:
Red Factory - White Sun (The Martock Sessions)

and to fill in the picture (so to speak) - Mr. Weird Beard (and spliff - at the controls.... no less ...)

3 comments:

kek-w said...

Wow...It's pretty fucked-up. Y'know, I don't have a copy of this...not sure why...I remember listening to it in Seve Spode's old mini at least once, but don't know why I don't have a copy. Line-up would've been Ben Jefferies (gtr), Steve (bass) and me (electronics, tapes, perc)...maybe Ben's younger brother turned up and played some extra percussion to flesh it out, but for the life of me I can't even imagine who was playing drum-kit that day. This is pre Rob Ley, I think, but maybe he was in the band at that point. We had various temporary drummers incl. Adie Thompkins of The Mob who lasted a couple weeks...I think he only joined 'cause we were heavy-drinkers like him.

I remember bits and pieces of the day...drinking in the pub prior/during the session...wasn't there a problem tracking down the care-taker/keys and we were locked out and forced to go to the pub? Apart from that, my memory is pretty sketchy. Yeah, I'd love a copy of this, please. I can't even remember what we recorded that day. We never really had permanent songs as such, more a series of riffs/titles/lyrics we used to jam around, mainly 'cause apart from Ben none of us could play whatsoever. It was great fun until Ben's mental problems started dragging things down and we 'sacked' him, a fact that he's never forgiven me for, 20 years on.

After that, Bren joined. A little later Rob left as he was living in Bridgewater and it was a drag 'rehearsing'... we'd go up there or he'd come down here once a week. Martin Herring then came in on drums and the last few gigs with me, Steve, Bren and Martin were great fun too.

Sorry, this must be tedious for anyone outside the Yeovil axis (and most w/in it too....!) We were a noisy, talentless, obnoxious, pretentious bunch, but we were young and that's how you should be...we had very clear ideas/vision about what we wanted to do, but not the talent or focus to do much about it. I used to really enjoy playing live and getting up everyone's noses back then, especially the 'Punk's not Dead' faction. I really should have learned an instrument and moved things on, but I lacked the confidence, I guess.

It's interesting, but at Dave G's funeral Martin Herring (most people reading this won't realise that he's a fairly well-known TV producer now, etc) came up to me and I've not seen him for years...he'd found a Red Factory (live?) tape a couple weeks earlier too and was caning it: "It's fucking great," he said, "It sounds like a cross between PIL and Hawkwind..." I was gobsmacked; I've looked back on all that stuff with a sense of faint embarrasment, but maybe we were doing something right after all...

Roll-on the obligatory reunion.

farmer glitch said...

reunion gig for sure should be planned immediatly - will dub you a CD for our next meeting (outside Denners no doubt!) .... not too sure who was playing drums that day either - I don't tink Adie was there on this occasion however ... the track listing from the tape box here in front of me goes like this:

It's so Big
Feed the Lion / Grief of Nature
Institution
Byzantine
Albania
White Sun
Ruperts Dinner is Late
Judgement
Fragments
Outro

and fine sounding they are too !!

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