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Old 15-05-2018, 02:41 PM
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Default Latest on the Noel/Amorphous shenanigans

Now then ........NOEL GALLAGHER

Since the NME ' Amorphous Androgynous HIT BACK ' debacle is coming up on my feed again today ( celebrating its 2 year anniversary )
🍸🍹🍾 yayyyy cheers ! And since people are asking about it again with that loveable ( haven't actually got a clue what really happened ) knowingness like they DO know ( some people actually try and tell ME what happened cos they heard Noel broke the only CD which they read about in the NME ( I'm not kidding )😀😀😀🎸

.....Well I just had to laugh cos I'm IN the photograph .......

its perhaps understandable that it's stirring up some personal stuff for me today and since I only ever mentioned it in passing to one journalist at the end of an interview talking about FSOL 's ' Papua New Guinea

' our demographic readership ain't interested in Noel !'

were his exact words , little did I know he would then present this 1 minute conversation as the whole story and subsequently, sell it to a major newspaper !

Lesson learnt - I then tried to put it's host of inaccuracies to rights by agreeing to talk to the NME ( yeh - I know 🙄as seen below 2 years ago ) who then proceeded to cut out all irksome detail and turn it into a faux copy of a GALLAGHERzzzzzz infighting episode which I suppose is proven to be beneficial all round ( to both careers and magazine sales ) but did little good for the truth OR my sanity ....

I tried one more time to set the story straight , I was only interested in what had actually happened from our side ( & more as damage limitation to the complete misinformation coming from Noel's side but yet again , it got reduced without context , this time to 'he was too feared to be weird ' which was a good one liner but honestly , really yet again missed the point .. It was never about being
' weird ', who cares about that ? It was simply about him having the integrity and responsibility to see through a creative process with us ....

At that stage , Noel ( no doubt extremely irritated by it all ) decided to hold a ritualistic ' breaking of the only CD of the album in existence ' 😀😀🙄 in an attempt to finally put it all to bed .... the NME ( sensing a fight brewing ) were extremely interested in my response ( again they weren't interested in the actual full detail ( as before ) just in one liner
' fight club ' stuff that would incite things further ....I declined and bowed out at this stage realizing things had clearly gotten a little silly and I'd failed in my attempt to get our side of the story out there in its correct voice ......

I'd given up on these rags ever being a suitable medium for telling this story straight and without misinterpretation or editing it and using it simply as clickbait ......
So ........ the time feels right
I'll attempt some final dis( closure ) on this ..... directly ...

The 18 months we spent working on the album with/ for (?) Noel Gallagher ( since only one month was spent with Noel himself in the studio , the rest we were alone, solely responsible for conducting ALL proceedings
( including budgets and sessions) ) was generally a very enjoyable one . Noel loved what we were doing and so did we ! We're very different cats in the studio , him ' unless I say it's shit then I love it !' requires a shift of mindset from me all effusive hand waving and ' play that like its molten heat 😀 or ' pretend you're an actor for a moment '
' don't ever ask me to be a foookin actor again ! '

Despite intentionally finding and gently pushing and trying to inspire him to go beyond his comfort zones producing some interesting ( and heated ) exchanges on occasion, generally it was fun , and we simply wanted the best possible version of him for his first solo album . We wanted him to have fun exploring his various sides and talents . He loved great music , loved our Monstrous Psych Bubble series of compilations and had done some great collaborations so we wanted ( and thought ) we could inspire and achieve all of this in one great and varied album ...

Let's start at the end ....

Last I saw Noel was dj'ing his Roundhouse aftershow party as the HIgh Flying Birds first album came out . He hugged me , said

' I fookin love everything about you man '

& then rightly apologized for the deceit of not telling us there was another album he'd created in parallel to ours when for 18 months we'd been expressly told we were working on his main album . To apologize was decent but it could never compensate for the enormity of what a fuck up this deceit was . I don't have the time to elucidate how many ways in which this compromised the work we'd done but suffice to say it pretty much consigned it to the rubbish bin in one stupid stroke, not least cos it basically meant he wouldn't be round to do his part & help finish it but also importantly , contrary to what got reported , we were NEVER instructed to work on way out alternative remixes ( as later everyone made out / envisaged ) no , if that had been the directive it would have been a doddle and would have been polished off within 6 months ( we did FALLING DOWN our 22 minutes OASIS rework employing 7 additional musicians in a week ! ) and I wouldn't be writing this , no , we were working on the main versions of these songs , a responsibility we took incredibly seriously. ( like never seeing our families 14 hours /day - 7 days a week for over a year - seriously ! )
Because of this directive there would be NO needless abstraction, his songs were firmly at centre , the challenge being to imaginatively & sonically colour and arrange them .

He'd also ( unknown to us until that cinema press conference (right at the end of the 18 months ) where he announced the release of not just ours BUT 2 albums! ) 'miraculously' pretty much adopted the exact same track list / order that we'd configured & had been working to for the last 18 months for this ' other ' ( secret ) album and when you consider we therefore unknowingly were working on an album of 70% the same tracks , in the same order ......the fault lines had already pretty much been rendered ( yes they were certainly very differently produced but same structure pretty much cos why would we gratuitously restructure his songs if it was his main album ? ( in fact whenever we changed anything like missed out the 7 th verse to allow a musical interlude we'd be snapped back with ' where's my verse gone ?'
Or when trying to inject some groove ' I'm not having that , the drums go like THIS !'
I'm not critical of this I welcomed it since it showed we were collaborating , I expected it , lots of it and they were his tracks and his solo album but the point I'm making is these were not the actions or words of a man who was encouraging RADICAL REWORKINGS .
So since these were THE VERSIONS it's pretty obvious that It would be commercial suicide for everyone if we weren't respectful of the songs , so this was the job of an alchemist , requiring us at the top of our game ,to be far out but perfectly far in , contained , streamlined , coherent but very imaginative , to accept the language of the greatest sonic pop , to add character but the voice and song still had to be centre ! There was little room for instrumentals or 4 minute intros here but still a good 2/3 tracks could be extended epics .... Stop the Clocks and Everybody Is On The Run in particular .
Don't get me wrong they weren't straight either , far from it , we just had to be much cleverer about where the bendzzz and twists occurred was all song led and therefore every sound and section was reactive to lyrics . We weren't simply dropping out the vocals ( or needlessly abstracting the vocals ) so we could wank around psychedelically .... no ... no . ... no

Now , I say '70% of the same tracks' cos luckily we'd inspired him to write new tracks spontaneously in the studio with us by bringing several original backing tracks to the table ( it was the first time he'd ever worked like that so he was the happiest I ever saw him in the studio on the days when that worked !! ) .

The problem with both these tracks ( later they became ' the Right Stuff' & 'the Mexican ') is they were both brilliant demos but certainly both needed refining in terms of the actual song and yet it was us who were left to finish them without the vocalist since after the month we were told he wasn't further available !!!! ie an impossible task but we persevered and used the old technique of GIMME SHELTER / the Stones not to mention Primals / Monday's / and even rap 😀where the female ' diva ' provides the chorus / counterpoint on occasion ... Worked a treat but obviously Noel would have to refine his songs regardless at a later date .

When the bombshell hit that ours wasn't the main ( or only ) album, that the track order of ours had been co-opted on this other album there was nothing left but to be reassured by the mighty mouth himself saying how ' far out ' ours was and how it would in fact follow as the second release to this other album ( y'know the one we knew nothing about 🤕🙄 ) all of this revealed for the first time ( even to us his ' collaborators ') at the infamous 'Noel announces not one but two albums ! ' cinema press conference that we watched online aghast . We were left with no choice other than to hastily rearrange our album into a different order at the last minute elevating the new ( remember - unfinished ) material to pole position to try and present it not in the form we'd conceptualized and loved as our ultimate art piece but now simply as a 'radical alternatives' / remixes companion album that it had suddenly been presented ( and shortly would be marketed ) as . It's sole purpose had changed overnight from a great work of art , in progress 'to simply 'be as different and as way out as possible compared to the other one ' oh ...... holy crap .... that's a seismic shift !

It was an unholy deception , oversight , whatever you want to call it on their account not to tell us & it was practically immediately fucked , we knew it , these weren't remixes ( only Shoot a Hole was a remix and we did that specifically to get something really more 'out there ' on the album because despite all our sonic coloring it was hard to transform that first bunch of guitar originated songs from the mid paced insular strum-a-thon that they were ( this had dramatically stepped up as a pre requisite too since all the time he was insisting in the press that our album was sounding like Dark Side Of The Moon which .........with all due respect ...... still , we were in the game , it was certainly rock n roll and sometimes you just gotta ( sausage ) roll with it 😀 SO WE DID ! We presented what we had and we waited knowing further opinion , certainly further work on the new songs and maybe even further remixing ( to meet its new purpose ( as a ' far out ' companion album ! ) ) and certainly final mix was needed .

The agreement ( especially now we'd written new tracks for / with him ) was that he was gonna need to listen to the all the work , oversee final mix and be able to refine the new songs and as we stood in the bar at the aftershow with the apology fresh from his mouth he continued

' you've done great work , all the arrangements , sounds , everything is brilliant and the new tracks are the best things on there . This albums gonna be great but the next one will be in the top 5 albums of all time cos we'll do the whole thing like those new tracks !'

( N.B / meaning him to write spontaneously in the studio to our ideas rather than his guitar based songs - take good note of this because this becomes particularly relevant regarding his new album )

He continued
' but I'm gonna finish mixing it in between my tour dates , we've got a plan , trust me '

I left excited , faith partially renewed .
I excitedly recounted the conversation to Brian on the phone from the hotel the next morning .

As Noel's arena tour rolled out the initial lukewarm reception for his HFB album ( no doubt partly inspired by the high anticipation for ours ) warmed slightly and his initial mildly apologetic air from the press conference

' the first album is what you'd expect from me BUT the second one , well , that's the furthest out I've EVER been I can tell you , space jazz , vaudeville rock and cosmic pop ... and that's only on the first track !!) )

gradually transformed back into the caricature everyone knows so well as he appeared on numerous chat shows where talk was always about the oasis split and fights with his brother & gradually it all resulted in album sales totting up and gradually ( through the media only but never to us directly ) the tone he adopted when talking of our album changed from the
' furthest out I've ever been ' to ' 'the mixes ain't right , I'm all about the mixes ' or
' they're busy sending me mixes but I don't like them ' ( ???? Eh ? )
into ominously ' I can't be arsed cos my album is great '

and these started appearing in the media in increasing frequency until finally after about a 9 months we learnt from someone reading it in the Sun that it had been axed !

Going back to his pledge of responsibility to do his part and oversee the final mixes , It was certainly a big task ( for someone who didn't know the work inside out ) but they started with SHOOT A HOLE INTO THE SUN and were suitably blown away with their good but subtle touch up on the mix to release it as a B side pretty quickly )
( albeit conveniently losing our written recording credits for all ten musicians who we'd employed in its making - presumably this didn't fit the picture of the solo brother striking out alone ? I had to personally ring round and apologize to them all , Terry the drummer who Noel had brought in as a 'friend ' just groaned and told me it wasn't the first time !)

the tracks were certainly complex and maybe Noel simply never anticipated how big the job was .... but one way or another the work never got completed . Maybe the initial fear he had about his solo album needing to be different to satisfy critics and fans had abated somewhat , maybe he just didn't need to extend himself anymore now the other album was gaining acceptance ? Whatever happened , the fact remains within the next six months our album died by media ie we were told nothing directly but saw a mounting shitstorm of negativity created in order to finally sack it off .

I don't think there are any words to describe how this feels when you've put 18 months of your life and heart into a project to the exclusion of all else ( and further to that you know how good it would be if he'd fulfilled his part of the creative process , a relatively small commitment he'd made to us to honour the huge commitment we'd made to him . All great albums have an artistic process with several ( at least ) stages and certainly communication to work through difficult stages is key for any album but there was simply none of that ! Did he honestly expect it all to land on a plate without fulfilling his part or working through any opinion together ? Yes that would have been easily possible if it was just a remix album like the OASIS - FALLING DOWN remix but not possible with the writing of new unfinished material and the deceit of the other 'secret ' album and what I've detailed as some of its many repercussions !

We'd taken 18 months to get it to the stage where it needed his involvement , for him to step up to his side of the process but he was off to tour another album we knew nothing about 😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀
I'd been advised to not stop AA activity in this time but that's exactly what we did at a time we were going strong , Monstrous Psych Bubble was picking up awards and plenty of plaudits , we had offers for a club night , our own festival ( after the success of our Green Man 12 hr Monstrous Bubble happening ) and our own album was in progress plus we were picking up lots of remix / production work and gigs too .

We'd been paid a reasonable advance for all this work sure , but beyond covering our mortgages for the 18 months there was no gain or profit , it was merely living expenses , the gain would solely be in a great album selling worldwide . Producers know the game ....

So yes , words can't describe how we felt and yet this was simply the beginning ....

Once I'd alchemized my anger at some of the short sighted fuck ups of this and tried to divorce from what we personally ( and career wise ) stood to lose by the album never appearing, I sent Noel ' the Cartel ' our imaginary psychsploitation film soundtrack album which had sampled a few bits from sessions from our ' axed ' album with him - I didn't need to ask really ( he would never have recognized the bits anyway ) but yeh why not ? I like the chaos and honesty of sampling and I always like to tell and credit the musicians , it benefits all , hopefully the music is cool plus from my perspective I like the story of where the sounds come from , it's part of it . He loved the album and seemed delighted to be credited for his parts / loops / samples

' not surprisingly it's fuckin brilliant ! '

came the text reply.

We then started talking via text and I mentioned the new tracks that we'd initially provided which had inspired two new songs for our 'aborted ' album project and he said

' funny enough I've just been working on them and yes they're sounding fuckin ace '

I was delighted artistically to know that all had not been lost & that some of what we'd pioneered was ongoing but also assumed he'd rightly credit us for our writing and that somehow something positive would come out of it all . I'd also sent him an unholy rant telling him all the ways in which his deceit / oversight ( call it what you will ) / lack of communication ( not giving us the benefit of working with his opinions ) & not simply fulfilling his part of the creative process to finish the work had cost us personally and artistically and how utterly disrespectful it was to anything approaching the artistic process and to us who'd given everything to try and do the best for him and the album . He took it all in his stride, knowing it was justified anger and we pretty much reached a new balance within several emails / texts .

Several days later I received a new text saying

' maybe you'd like to do some remixes this time of some of the tracks on the new album, & do what we should have done last time - let's start out knowing these are alternative versions , remixes , do an alternative ep kinda thing to accompany the main album '

Knowing our joint ( co written ) tracks were on the album this seemed a great idea and I enthused and the album duly arrived for our inspection . ' Chasing Yesterday ' was good , the sound had character and honesty and he'd finally employed StrangeBoy on lead guitar which we'd also done ( despite them going back years this had never happened before ). To our ears he was one of the greatest guitarists we'd recorded and we've worked with some greats , so over 2/3 days we used him on everything under the sun . This had helped free up the wall of guitar strum very effectively and altogether created more feeling and honesty .

We loved ' chasing yesterday ' or more accurately ( I am a producer after all !)
I loved what I could immediately hear as its potential , I dropped the 'Noel by numbers' cliche tracks reordered those remaining and listened & imagined our version of the album and absolutely loved it !!!! This was gonna put right all the unresolved shit from the first album . I was happy . I just wanted people to hear how good some of this material was and here was a chance to salvage at least the two tracks we'd co written !

At this stage , the plan for an ep changed to an alternative version of the whole album since there were at least 7 tracks we wanted to remix . These included both of the tracks I've mentioned that we initially presented and instigated . They were now called ' the Right Stuff ' and ' the Mexican '.
He'd finally refined , resolved his initial writing on these , and on 'the Right Stuff' in particular , had done a great job . 'The Mexican' we were less enamored with since he had stripped all the GIMME SHELTER groovy hipness and towering diva counterpoints out and most of our sampling & reduced it to a ( clean sounding ) but rather plodding lackluster rocker .
Still , all was good since we obviously chose both of them in our 7 tracks and we'd bring all that stuff back in ! Sweet sweet Jane , this was gonna be good ! Both he and I shared our excitement .

His management suggested
' the current market rate for remixing was ?500/ track' (!!!!! ) ' so ignoring the fact this was an album (!!!) we should receive a fee of 4K for this work in total and we looked at the 2 months work ( we'd been given that as a deadline so we were gonna bust ass ) and it was quite obviously taking the piss so I just went straight to Noel and said as much . It was raised to 8 k and then we politely enquired what writing splits we'd be given for both ' the Mexican ' and ' the Right Stuff ' to which we were told we'd just co produced so no publishing as writers but solely a royalty of ONE point for co production which would be cross collateralized against our advance for the first 'axed ' album ( meaning that 'Chasing Yesterday ' would need to sell about 4 + million ( I kid you not !!) copies for us to receive a single penny !

I tried discussing writing versus production & differences of interpretation with Noel via email - he didn't even know the months of writing and plotting on one of the two tracks that we'd spent let alone countless hundreds of hours working and collaging and conducting sessions with musicians to put it together in preparation for him but he still dismissed it as ' just production '.and seemed to assume it was his absolute right to simply pick up and run with the proceeds of all that work .
I will say this , I find it incredibly arrogant that strumming chords and singing some lyrics be considered by anyone as 100 % the song when it's written against such an already strong , structured and melodically formed ' hooky ' backing . It's very much the outlook of a guitar man and conveniently misses out the last 30 years of songwriting evolution . Where would Donna Summer be without Georgio's backing or Morrissey without MARR ( but then that's guitars innit so maybe in his world only guitar backing counts as ' writing ' ?? Kinda figures but it ain't right )

I must point out that we work similarly with countless other musicians and not one of them upholds this ( his ) view and in every instance we are credited and included as writers ( i.e.share publishing splits which means we share the revenue when the song is used or played anywhere - this is our very bread and butter especially when figures like 4K /8k are being bandied about for a good two solid months work when we're both in our forties & both with children and families ??!!!! ) so this was particularly hurtful especially in light of how ( initially ) reluctant he was to even try this approach or in fact , to even work on them or to see how important these two tracks were to provide him with something a little bit different to pepper his album . This was solely our initiative to do this and went well outside of our commitments/ responsibilities as producer ( we could have just worked solely on his material and volunteered nothing and we'd have received the same fee and he'd never have these two tracks which now occupied 2 of the 11 or so tracks on his new album and reviewers were quick to identify that the Right Stuff in particular marked a progressive step in his writing ???? So there was obviously acknowledgement that he was directly getting value from that work .

I gently persisted in asserting our rights and justifying we receive publishing in an email over the weekend and on the Monday without warning the remix album was axed and all plans dropped ( for a SECOND TIME !!!!) and we were left with the challenge to take him to court which I don't think I would ever do ( time and money plus emotionally what a drain of resource right there ! )

I have to stress at this point that those continually focusing on the album and whether or not it was any good or will ever see the light of day miss an important point . By focusing on this issue you miss the point that Noel has continued to cherry pick ideas , tracks , mixes and directly ,our writing and benefit from it over all his albums . In a way with an iota of respect and acknowledgement of that work or even presenting it in a favorable light in the media it could be portrayed as a success in certain respects even without an actual bespoke album . The covert use without credit and simultaneous dismissal and discredit of us and the album is a complete insult to injury .

I haven't spoken to him since .
I've heard him mention that the main innovation on his next album is that it's all spontaneously written in the studio ? Sound familiar ?

NB / I probably won't respond to further questions unless I think it's useful to do so since ' I have nothing further to add at this point ' 🙏🏼❤️❤️🤕

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