Kevin on Doomcloud.
Song by Song.
I don't know who actually needs this album.I only know it exists and that the time has come for it to be heard in all its raw angsty glory.
It has waited long enough - up to 8 years plus in a jumbled up pile of CD's dating from November 2000 to April 2003.
It got underway with a good kick start session that yielded 5 of the tracks heard on this 12 song collection.It ended with a last gasp attempt to revive it 17 months later.
And then it was shelved.
I'd moved on from the person I was a year and a half before and I wanted to express another side of myself. I was being reborn on the internet, reveling in my new found cult artist status. These so-called 'Doomcloud' songs seemed just that, doomed.
One evening in March 2008 I was sifting through some old burned CD's of my demos over the last few years and started listening to the 'Doomcloud' ones - and found them so compelling that I couldn't stop listening.I sifted through over 3 hours of different versions (8 full takes of 'Ultrapissed'!), false starts ,incomplete takes, half realised ideas / sketches and alternate mixes.
Much to his bemusement I bunged the whole lot onto 3 CD's to top Hewickologist Gary Knight in London.He agreed with me that there was 'something there' after all - the ghost of a KH album maybe...
It so happened that Gemma Upton of the great Nottingham band O'lovely Lie had sent me a superb CD compilation of her work through this decade. I said I'd send her some of my stuff back and with that I compiled a 40 odd minute long version of 'DC' - Gemma liked it and so did I.
Months have a habit of flying by and following on from a traumatic 2007 2008 soon bought some very tough ones - boy, I thought I'd got it bad in 2000 - you have to laugh - or cry!??
With all that this going on this rather ill-starred set once again got itself sidelined.But by the end of 2008 the idea became active to put it up as free download via kevinhewick.co.uk
And after further examination and a tidying up / editing session at Neil Segrott's studio 'Doomcloud' was ready to be set free on Valentines Day 2009.Who said romance was dead?
I got to know him again, the punchdrunk (and sometimes drunk drunk) 43 - 45 year old who was single again after spending most of the 90s as a partner and family man.One thing endured, fatherhood was still upheld with commitment and love and hope, I got a house and enjoyed a whole new side to my relationship with my wonderful daughter as she turned 5,6,7.. that side was me, my mum and my dad, we were all flawed human beings with good hearts and we made good of things.My 'Doomcloud' persona is pretty self absorbed and selfish but I had something in my life that pulled me away from being just that, I gave that damn about our kid and was all the richer a human being for that.
But in those initial long days and nights back on my own I crumbled a bit, a lot even at times - and i wrote these unflinching and starkly honest lyrics about it.
It was high time for a follow up to 'Helpline' but funds and the will to face my nemesis the recording studio were at a low down low.
Dan Britton, a fair old songsmith himself, invited me to stay at his house in Melton Mowbray for an overnight stay in October 2000.He set up a mini disc recorder and a mixing desk in his lounge and we slapped down versions of various things, I often using his excellent Yairi guitar, so good I went and got my own in the end.
After every successful take Dan would fire a pellet from his air rifle across the room - not at me thankfully!
I remember us finally calling it a night and drinking beers and watching 'The People vrs Larry Flynt' on Dan's TV..
He went out horseriding and left me to it for a bit the next morning, I mostly playing around with my 'American Pie' the great lost Hewick epic 'The Groupies Ball'..
Jock of my friends The Freed Unit burned the MD's to CD for me - it was early days for such digital transfers.I called it 'Lo-FI Stopgap' but maybe it was TOO 'lo-fi' lol..
Dan told me to try recording the songs in better quality with Robbie Murphy at his home studio so in November that's what I did and from those time's at Robbies place comes this album.
Robbie, Irish as Irish can be, a very perceptive and patient man, was going through his own trials at this time. For me he was a constant source of wisdom, philosophy, and musical passion. He also shared my eclectic musical tastes - The Sugababes debut 'One touch' was often given a spin during recording breaks.
After a flying start on November 6th I lost momentum, by December I was panicing about 'not being done by Christmas'. The January 2001 sessions make pretty dismal listening.I stopped the project dead in its tracks until April and much the same happened - a terrific opening salvo on April 9th that is represented by 5 songs on this virtual platter then a tailing off thereafter.
So 'in the bin' was 'Doomcloud' that I even began a whole new album project with Gary Birtles at his Yellowbelly Studio in 2002 but that never got past two pretty fruitless sessions.
Through all this I was banging away for three hours a time at The Shed in Leicester every Wednesday night but recording was another ball game.
With typical baffling KH logic I suddenly decided to revamp 'Doomcloud' in 2003 and returned to Robbies on April 13th to lay down a striking three guitar/vocal reading of the then new 'An Object She's Left Behind'. That and a few bits from 2000/01 would be rushed out on CD for my impending trip to perform in Holland. But I missed my own deadline yet again and that WAS it... until now.
It brings back long walks down the Kingsway in Braunstone Town, guitar case in hand, then going past Winstanley School, kids on the street taking the mickey doing the twangy strummy mickey take they always do.. on a meaner note the odd stone thrown too..
Love WAS tearing me apart, you'll hear that in every strum n' wail but as I said at the start of this ramble who need's to hear it now?
Maybe you do my friend, back in those long lost dazed days Robbie Murphy might have just coaxed me into pulling off communicating something universal as well as personal, something of worth, something honest and direct.
AN OBJECT SHE'S LEFT BEHIND
I had fantasies of Johnny Cash singing this, I wrote it with him in mind, I saw it as a real 21st century Country and Western song.
The protagonist as aware that he himself is part of his troubles. He doesn't seek revenge, he is too defeated to fight any more battles.All is lost.
By the standards of the other tracks this is, the final item we actually recorded for 'DC' is more 'produced' with its lovely harmony leads but the song it itself is bare, barely there.
It was called just plain 'Left Behind' but then Slipknot came out with a single of the same name so I changed it to the full title of 'An Object She's Left Behind' .For the record I quite liked the Slipknot 'Left behind'!
One very rainy day I was early to pick up my daughter from school and one sole figure stood in the playground looking like it was all pouring down on her head, literally as if she were under a cloud and there and then I got this kind of old fashioned folky line in my head 'For how long had that doomy cloud/ followed her'.
It's her side of the story, in contrast with his side in 'An Object..' , a couple who can't communicate, both in pain but both unable to help the other.
I've always tut tutted at my fingerpicking but I got a bit of a Nick Drake feel here I hope, Nick was the inspiration for it that's for sure.
The title confuses people because it's a made up word pronounced like 'Reservation' but with a D,.
Wet as it may seem it's a 'someday my prince(ss) will come' number.
There's no easy way to say this but it leaves me nothing to hide behind. If that's pathetic then yes its pathetic. There's even an expression of the fear that I'll die without ever finding the love I so crave, that I'm always overlooked and left alone.I do see that as something to fear, I have sought a John and Yoko soulmate relationship in my life, in fact come to think of it I don't mind being Yoko ok?
DAY TO DAY, LONELY
I think this is a beautiful song but harrowing to perform live, it gives too much away.
It's very direct in what it's saying, again it leaves me nowhere to hide.The line I always tense up singing is 'Lonely women/Lonely men/I'm proud to say I'm one of them' as if its some badge of honour to be a romantic reject!The next line does suggest that such 'lonely's' get it together mind and be lonesome no more.
'Your silence is my sweet agony' is a reference to my friend Helen Swann's band Sweet Agony, I was briefly on the bass in Helen's earlier band The Scottish Polis Inspectors (!) and did some lead guitar with her in her line up after Sweet Agony too, it was a great exeprience to not be up front and back another singer songwriter.
HOW FAR OFF THE TARGET WAS I?
Even writing about these songs 8 odd years later makes me squirm a bit.
Deep breath.. this is about the then brave new world of chatting up a woman in a pub, the now long gone alas Royal Mail in Leciester - but months before I was a total family man and would have never dreamt of such a thing - but here I was, single again, doing just that.
That it's a competition is so damn hard. I almost felt like i was beating other men off with a stick while trying to be charming and interesting to the lady in question!
Footnote: I wasn't SO off target - she was a very good sport and we did go out a few times for meals /drinks, nothing else, just platonic but some nice times.
Or 'Kevins Drinking Song'.
Again, a true incident shameful to say, 1.00am on a 'mid-week lost weekend' at The Shed in Leicester, a drunken pass that went very, very wrong.
In that state you think she knows me she goes out with other men who are boring twats why not me, I'm not a boring twat. Very egotistical, very me me me but in this case as er fellow aristes we had previously had a kind of platonic affinity that I misconstrued on this occasion.
I kept going back to this and re-doing it and re-doing with Robbie, the 8 complete versions that still exist sound bafflingly similar to my ear now.
Another version of this was recorded with Gary Birtles in October 2000 and included on Sorted records compliation 'Havock Junction'.
I returned to it on April 9th at Woodland Studios AKA Murphy's lounge. It's a sister song to 'Deservation', says much the same thing about craving LOVE, to be a lover but the object of desire saying NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO etc etc
I think I can laugh at myself more these days.
Perhpas my vocal is 'overcooked' but it's a tremendous passionate song and I give it the full Jeff Buckley. Amazingly my voice has held out, I can still hit these notes at will and it seems silly not to when you can. Of course I was doing it before Jeff. And during. And after.
THE LOVE PHANTOM
I did an A Cappella song for 1983's 'Such Hunger For Love' the somewhat blunt and ungracious 'Make'. At last I felt I had another in 'The Love Phantom'.
One thing I liked about 'LP' was it was totally about someone else but it did relate to the difficult 'singles' world I was now struggling in where people hurt each other so. Me, I never meant to hurt anybody but I guess we all do somewhere down our respective lines.
There are NINE complete takes of this including an April 2001 guitar intro outro one which was whipped off this set at the 11th hour 59th minute for this 'echoey' vocally demanding run through of a then totally new idea on November 9th 2000.
Other than on this song I'd mostly shunned ANY effects whatsoever, I see it now as my dogme album ,very bleak, very honest. I very reluctantly trimmed off all of Robbie's 'GO' and 'YOU'RE ON' signals to start each pass but it was felt that though 'Doomcloud' IS about Robbie, a PC and me and a black Ovation guitar in a room in a house in Braunstone Town it's also about these songs getting a chance to shine at last and carry the listener along with nothing in the way.
I'M NOT INVOLVED
Having said that, we left a few seconds on here that capture in a nutshell me and Robbie on either side of a take - 'We're rolling" says RM , I gently foot-stamping and mumbled a melody preview at the start and, oddly my outburst about the "SUCKING ENDING' referring to the fact that though it's a very good version the 6th string on the guitar loses it's low D tuning a few seconds from the conclusion.
But.. "SUCKING"?????? Oh well it got us a PG rather than an 18 Certificate!
Another song not about me screwing up, it's about other folk screwing up.The words are not judgemental, they accept people for being people, that people do these things and can't help themselves doing them.. but in this case don't drag me into it!
ON YOUR TERMS
This slightly gives away its vintage as one line in it refers to the turn of the millennium but then again that means somebody in 3000 can have a hit with a cover version of it - or I'll revamp it myself if I'm still around.
To quote my good friends Girls Aloud it's about the eternal 'call the shots' type woman and the always somehows somehow under her spell semi-powerless Hewickesque bloke.
It's exactly the kind of thing that sometimes bothers me about my writing, I look around and see people living the lives they live and think a certain thought - WHO needs THIS stuff? In the roles they perform in life, in their relationships, does anybody really go through anything that makes my wailings connect to their reality?
I'm not just doing this for myself, it's me trying communicate through song, I do it because it feels like it's what I was put on this earth to do.
I'm being a bit hard on myself because you could ask the same of Jeff Buckley or Take That, does anybody actually feel those emotions, live in that heightened state of drama and passion.
The folks sat on the bus look blank regardless of age race culture.
It might all be going on in their mp3/iPod headphones though.
MAKE THAT CALL
A little bit of hope, a number scribbled on a piece of paper, that's the way it can start can it not?
So it's that moment before calling, a call that could be just a hi or the first move toward a life chaging relationship 'How I first met my wife' is a line I'm fond of saying though I've never been married doh so..
'Make That Call' has also perhaps got a wee bit dated because it's clearly not of todays world of instant texts and mobiles in every pocket.
I did some nice lead guitars over this but you can hear the fret wear buzzing badly - in fact the Ovation guitar gave up on me as I came close to finishing the third overdub and had to go off to Sheehans in Leicester to be re-fretted straight after, adding yet another jinx to the 'DC' sessions.
Despite that the improvisations were so good, there were unrepeatable moments of magic on there, one bit even coming over like an acoustic version of the dual leads on Def Leppard's 'Hysteria' a song I played over and over at this time - so that was it for 'Make That Call' fret buzz and all.
KISS HER UNDER NAKED TREES
This was the only song from another era, having been written back in the early 1990s.I was on a roll during the productive November 6th 2000 session at Robbie's and happened to pull off a take of it, the one here.
This is a sweet lament from my mid 30s in my Queen's Road flat, a Victoria Park Autumnal fantasia, containing much of the schoolboyish longing expressed on 'Deservation' or 'Day to Day, Lonely' but between 'Kiss Her' and those was my time as part of a couple and becoming a dad.
So just as 'Doomcloud' begins with it's last recorded piece it seems apt that it ends with the earliest of it's songs, its circle unbroken - where I was at in 1991 or 2000 or 2009 is all connected by the music and lyrics.
Kevin Hewick February 5th 2009