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  CHRIS DALE'S METAL MELTDOWN
EPISODE TWO: RECORDING BASS AT STEVE HARRIS' HOUSE
February 2011


chris dale

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So right, where in the whole wide world would you want to record Heavy Metal bass? At Steve Harris' house, right?

That's where we did the drums and bass for the new Tank album! It's called War Machine... plug, plug (it's really good, you'll love it!)... anyway, we got a chance to go there 'cos Grav, our drummer, also plays in Voodoo Six with Tony Newton on bass, and Tony is a man of many talents...

I'd known Tony over the years, as a top chap who liked a beer at the Royal George every now and then. I'd seen him rock out with Dirty Deeds and stuff. It turns out he's also a top recording engineer. I'm not just saying that 'cos he's a mate and he did us a good job. He's proper pro! He's been recording Maiden and Kiss live for their instant live CDs! He never told me this stuff!!

tony newton
Tony Newton, Voodoo Six and Tank recording engineer.

Anyway so we're in this studio of Steve's, and its really relaxed. I've been in some posh studios in my time, wasting record company money on plush sofas and French menus but Steve's place is basically a barn for a live room with a recording suite stuck above. It totally reminded me of jamming with school bands in outhouses in Wales, very earthy and natural. A great place to record.

This is the room that Maiden have rehearsed and recorded albums in and it's awesome. I thought there'd be Maiden gold discs on the wall and tour posters about but no, very low key.

There was one of Steve's precision basses hanging around, not in a glass case, but actually just there, leaning against a PA speaker, about to fall over. Was it the blue one from the Powerslave tour repainted? No, I'm getting in way too deep here... I'm here to do a job.

steve harris
Steve Harris. God.

Well, sort of... there's a Mötley Crüe plectrum on the floor. How did that get there? Was that from the Shout at the Devil or Theatre of Pain supporting Piece of Mind or Powerslave in Europe? No, must have been a more recent festival. No, no... you're right, I'm here to do a job...

So, Grav lays down the drums, we all play along live, it's rocking.... Mick's telling us stupid stories, Cliff's supping an ale, Doogie mentions he's been here before.

grav
Tank drummer Grav lays down his parts

I don't know if you know but our singer, Doogie White was up for the Maiden job when Bruce left. He auditioned in this very room. Shit! He's played with Maiden in this very room. What songs did you do?

"I had to learn tons of them," he said. He laughed about how he messed up the beginning of Number of the Beast with them... in this very room! With Steve and Dave and Jannick and Nicko... in this very room!

So then I've got to do some bass playing. It's OK. Stay focussed. It's not Steve's room, it's my room now. I'm here to rock out on bass.

steve harris chris dale bass
Steve's bass and my bass

What song shall we do first? Judgement Day? Why not. Let's rock... Tank 2010! Come on!

That's when I saw, out of the corner of my eye, a bit of laminated A4 paper.

No worries, Judgement Day...

What's on the paper..?


Tank. Cliff, Chris, Doogie, Mick, Grav

Count in, two three four...rocking! "You love yet you loathe me, I am divine". C'mon Doogie! C'mon Tank! "Judgement Dayeee-yeah!" F*ck yeah! what's on that bit of paper?... oh it's a Maiden setlist... wonder what's on it..? Wrathchild? oh, cool... Fear of the Dark... yeah hehehe... Number of the Beast, shit that's the song Doogie did in this very room!

SHIIIITE! I've just dropped a big clanger of a bass pooper in verse three, not like "uh-oh, no-one will notice" but like the chain coming off your push-bike uphill...

OK, Judgement Day, take two!

Maybe this isn't the best place to record bass.

Too many distractions....
iron maiden setlist

Click here for Tank Official

MORE CHRIS DALE'S METAL MELTDOWN COLUMNS HERE...

April 2015: Undiscovered Kisstory: The Kiss Drummer Auditions Of 1980
March 2015: Matthew Trippe RIP - The strange case of the man who would be Nikki Sixx
November 2014: Kiss: 'Love Gun' Deluxe Edition
October 2014: Mr. Big – Live Review at Koko, London
September 2014: Mr. Big: 'The Stories We Could Tell' album review
September 2013: Intensive Bass Course with Billy Sheehan
August 2013: Booking Agents vs Promoters
July 2013: Rock and Metal Pub Quiz
June 2013: Communication Tips For European Festivals, Or How To Learn A Language In An Evening
May 2013: Storm Thorgerson (1944-2013) RIP
April 2013: Daily Mail Columnist Richard Littlejohn Sinks To New Low With Anti-Heavy Metal Article
April 2013: The Future Of Classic Bands
March 2013: Smashing Pumpkins Video Shoot
Febuary 2013: Ten Years On Total Rock
January 2013: Kiss Follow Up To Monster 2013
December 2012: Kiss Reformation Magick
November 2012: Exclusive Interview With Geoff Tate
November 2012: Morally Worrying Session
October 2012: Kiss 'Monster' Review
October 2012: The Best Invention Of All Time
September 2012: A Conversation With Rudy Sarzo
August 2012: Scream For Me Sarajevo Part 3
July 2012: Scream For Me Sarajevo Part 2
June 2012: Scream For Me Sarajevo Part 1
May 2012: Managers v Producers
April 2012: Kiss 'Monster' Album Preview
March 2012: London Venue's Nazi Past?
February 2012: How Not to Join the Ozzy Osbourne Band
January 2012: Metal Evilution
December 2011: Take Your Pick Competition
November 2011: The Pandora's Box Of Pop
October 2011: Tank Tour Diary 2011
September 2011: Festival Stage Collapses
August 2011: Bruce Air, The Early Days
July 2011: European Festival Round-Up
June 2011: Bernie Torme Proud To Be Part Of MT Ozzy Article
June 2011: Who's Your Favourite Ozzy Guitarist?
May 2011: Japanese Tsunami Disaster
April 2011: 10,000 Tank Albums!
March 2011: Death Metal Session!
6th February 2011: Gary Moore (4th April 1952 - 6th February 2011)
February 2011: Recording Bass at Steve Harris'
January 2011: A Column About Columns



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