Q – I’ve always been curious as to why you have produced so many B sides of such outstanding quality. Unless you’ve been a devotee hoovering up all your releases I’d say you’d have missed out on some absolute gems. Wild orphan child, Witching hour, Blame Mary Jane, Millionaire, Radio City Music Hall, Mannish girl, Don’t get weird on me..(Maybe not “Eat your greens”!!)etc. Were all these tracks bound for the albums at that time or always intended to pad out the singles? They’d certainly make for an almighty compilation.
Again, the “From the hip” single contains some fine tracks with a different sound to the band.”Love your wife” being one of my all time Commotion faves (wish the guitar solo didn’t fade so quick at the end!).
Was that a deliberate decision to go for a more live and raw sound for the 3 extra tracks?
A – I don’t know if you got the missive, but hopefully all of these tracks will be available in a box set soon(ish). I should probably have waited to answer this to coincide with the release ‘Great Coincidence!’
Anyhow – thanks, and agreed re ‘Eat Your Greens’. Mostly b-sides were songs which didn’t make the albums. This doesn’t necessarily make them bad (with a few exceptions – see above), it just means that they didn’t ‘sit’ on the record. In a couple of ways I’m a little annoyed with myself that I put so many of these songs out as b-sides; I could have kept them for a record that they would have worked on. Apparently Bruce Springsteen used to do this – ‘Point Blank’ was supposedly recorded years before The River came out. The other point is one about which I’m a little bitter, I suppose – The record company paid me by the album, so to speak, there was nothing in my contract about delivering b-sides. By the mid 90’s the industry in the UK was intent upon giving away as much material as possible to sell singles that I think if you look at the ‘Love Story’ singles, there were three of them, there are maybe 10 songs included as b-sides. These could have been the essence of a next record, but the pressure to give the record company what they insisted that they needed was intense, and it was always frenzied around a release so, in retrospect, it is understandable that we maybe didn’t think straight. In truth I had two options – give them the songs for b-sides or tell them to go to hell and lose my album promotion. I think I can forgive myself for succumbing to this pressure once, but not the second and third times.
Regarding the final Commotions session which was released on the From The Hip EP – I guess we were interested in being more of a rock band, yes. We had no keyboard player – that’s a start!
My personal favourites from the Commotions are the Easy Pieces b-sides – recorded in the studio next to the one we were mixing the album in and produced by the band and the engineer. I think that the sound of Her Last Fling and Nevers End hint a path that we could have taken for the 3rd record. Personally, I suspect it might have been a better path, but there is little point in wondering about that sort of thing now.
By the way – Regarding the missive – Thanks so much to all of you who sent in catalogue numbers. I think I have them all now.