The Day The Music Died
Why Doesn’t Anyone Buy Singles? Technology Invasion of the Pop Snatchers The Chinese Ghost of Christmas Look At My Bum Teenagers of the Revolution The Cowboy Astronaut of Mother’s Day Goodbye 2003
album Sex Dummy 2003 song Ballerina 2002 video Ballerina Edinburgh 2003
CAST & CREW Presented by Andrew Collins With roving reporters Jon Holmes and Robin Ince And studio guest Gary Le Strange Additional material by Paul Putner, Rob Heeney and Joel Morris Packages written and performed by Steve Brown Production Team: Jonathan Robins, Elaine Wigley, Colin Anderson Devised and produced by Will Saunders BROADCAST DETAILS BBC Radio 2 - Saturday lunchtimes, just after the news (1.03 - 1.30 pm) Show 1: November 8, 2003 Show 2: November 15, 2003 Show 3: November 22, 2003 Show 4: November 29, 2003 Show 5: December 6, 2003 Show 6: December 13, 2003 Show 7: December 20, 2003 Show 8: December 27, 2003 RECORDING INFO The shows were all recorded on successive Friday mornings at Wise Buddah, Great Titchfield Street, London (a couple of streets away from Broadcasting House). Usually the day before broadcast (though my diary says we recorded the last two eps on the same day, December 19). All the songs were recorded at the flat I lived in on Maude Terrace, Walthamstow, between October 14 and December 17, 2003. BACKGROUND After winning the Perrier Newcomer Award, I was presented with a number of interesting offers from several production companies wanting to work with me. This had never happened to me before, so naturally I wanted to work with all of them. But because these deals were usually exclusive, I could only choose one. The BBC’s offer was looser, but that gave me more flexibility to do the odd thing here and there with someone else if it arose. And it also offered some genuine hands-on work experience in the form of The Day The Music Died. The producer, Will Saunders, had gravitated towards radio from a previous life in the music industry and thought I’d be a great fit for this new show he was making with Andrew Collins - a satirical take on the music industry and music radio in general. All I had to do was come up with a new comedy song every week for eight weeks, and be ready in the studio to improvise some funny chat about it. Oh and the comedy song had to be about the music industry. It scared the shit out of me, to be honest. It had taken me the best part of two years to write the eight songs on my one album, and only six of them were good enough to go in the live show. Writing another eight in two months sounded like the sort of thing a madman would do if he wanted to find the quickest road to Hell on Earth. But obviously, I couldn’t let that ruin my chances, so I said yes please, then quickly tried to work out the easiest way to avoid losing my mind. As I’ve discovered over the years, the best thing to do in these situations is to get pragmatic about it. It didn’t matter if I reused old backing tracks, so long as the lyrics were new and relevant to whatever we wanted to talk about. I was also in the early stages of writing stuff for the second album, so I thought a mixture of new and old tunes would work out fine. It took me a few goes to get into the swing of it. The first song I wrote was just an intro to Gary and didn’t feel relevant enough, so we ditched it. The second was an awful, bog-standard comedy song about falling singles sales, which didn’t suit Gary at all, but in the absence of anything else, that got broadcast anyway, and I still feel the shame. But by Show 2 I was starting to understand it a bit better, working out how to connect the chat to the music, how to put Gary’s personality into the stuff I was writing, how to make them work both as proper Gary Le Strange songs and as proper comedy songs with jokes in that speak to a lunchtime radio audience. It wasn’t all plain sailing, but over the course of eight weeks, we made three or four half-decent songs, and I’d learned the basics of a whole new craft. Of course the show wasn’t just me. The bulk of the show was Andrew, Robin and Jon talking about music, intercut with brilliant little sonic packages - jingles, fake ads and silly music-related ideas (like the Living in a Box ‘Living in a Box’ Box Set). Jon and Robin would each do a solo ‘roving reporter’ package each week. But I’ll talk more about that when I make my in-depth ‘Jon Holmes and Robin Ince’ website. THE RECORDING PROCESS The songs were all recorded with my usual crappy, over-complicated home set-up, with the PlayStation, the MiniDiscs and the SM58: see here for a more thorough explanation. The rest of the show was made properly, by actual professionals in a real recording studio. Just a small team on a Friday morning. I only really interacted with Andrew on the show, but there were usually at least five of us - Andrew, Jon, Robin and myself, plus Will. Sometimes Colin Anderson. Maybe others, but it was nearly 20 years ago and that’s more than enough time for the memory to have fallen completely out of my head. THOUGHTS & FEELINGS My main memory is that it was a lot of fun - it was a bright, sunny environment and we all had exciting things going on, we all felt really good about the show and we were all very glad to be in it. Happy to be working with such brilliant, creative people. Happy to be in a genuinely funny show that people genuinely tried to do their best work for. It was a damn sight more fun than sitting in a dark, creaking, lopsided bedroom in Walthamstow at any rate. I was worried I might not be up to the task, but in the end, it worked out much better than I’d hoped, and gave me at least one song I still feel really, desperately happy about. They’re not all great, but who cares? It was the whole show that counted - if my bits worked for the show, that was good enough for me. And of course it was the run-up to Christmas. Whenever I think about this show, it feels Christmassy to me. I’m writing this now at the end of November, nineteen years later, thinking properly about this show for the first time since we did it, having been through all sorts of shit and all kinds of different jobs. And the more I think about it, the more I feel that weird, Christmassy excitement. It was a brilliant time in my life - I’d just won this award after years of getting absolutely nowhere, I was gigging frequently and actually getting paid for it, doing interviews and little bits of telly. But being in a weekly lunchtime show on Radio 2 - actually having a proper paid job on radio, in the industry I loved, working with such brilliantly funny, creative, interesting people - was the crowning glory. Mix that with the run-up to Christmas and I can safely say it was one of the best professional experiences of my life. Absolutely loved every second. BEST TRACK The Chinese Ghost of Christmas (and its manic twin sister, The Cowboy Astronaut of Mother’s Day). EXTRA FOOTAGE We also recorded a one-off 60-minute pilot, between Series 1 and 2, just to see if the format would stretch to an hour. I think the consensus was that it didn’t, and it was back to the half-hour format for the second series. We repeated The Cowboy Astronaut of Mother’s Day from Show 7 for Gary’s slot, with newly-recorded studio chatter.
album notes Polaroid Suitcase 2012
THE DAY THE MUSIC DIED: SERIES 1
CD INLAYS
The production teams at BBC Radio always kindly furnished cast members with CD recordings of the shows they were in, with the credits all uniformly typed out in Comic Sans. These are the inlay covers for the Series 1 discs:
The Day The Music Died: Series 1 Show 1 The Day The Music Died: Series 1 Show 2 The Day The Music Died: Series 1 Show 3 The Day The Music Died: Series 1 Show 4 The Day The Music Died: Series 1 Show 5 The Day The Music Died: Series 1 Show 6 The Day The Music Died: Series 1 Show 7 The Day The Music Died: Series 1 Show 8 The Day The Music Died: 60 minute pilot The Day The Music Died: 60 minute pilot (back) video The Chinese Ghost of Christmas  London 2014 song The Chinese Ghost of Christmas 2003 radio Out To Lunch 2006 song Photocopier 2004 pictures Face Academy Andy Hollingworth  2004 lyrics Chinese Ghost 2003
album Face Academy video Loose Lips song The Chinese Ghost of Christmas video The Chinese Ghost of Christmas lyrics The Chinese Ghost of Christmas radio Out To Lunch The Day The Music Died
Why Doesn’t Anyone Buy Singles? Technology Invasion of the Pop Snatchers The Chinese Ghost of Christmas Look At My Bum Teenagers of the Revolution The Cowboy Astronaut of Mother’s Day Goodbye 2003
CAST & CREW Presented by Andrew Collins With roving reporters Jon Holmes and Robin Ince And studio guest Gary Le Strange Additional material by Paul Putner, Rob Heeney and Joel Morris Packages written and performed by Steve Brown Production Team: Jonathan Robins, Elaine Wigley, Colin Anderson Devised and produced by Will Saunders BROADCAST DETAILS BBC Radio 2 - Saturday lunchtimes, just after the news (1.03 - 1.30 pm) Show 1: November 8, 2003 Show 2: November 15, 2003 Show 3: November 22, 2003 Show 4: November 29, 2003 Show 5: December 6, 2003 Show 6: December 13, 2003 Show 7: December 20, 2003 Show 8: December 27, 2003 RECORDING INFO The shows were all recorded on successive Friday mornings at Wise Buddah, Great Titchfield Street, London (a couple of streets away from Broadcasting House). Usually the day before broadcast (though my diary says we recorded the last two eps on the same day, December 19). All the songs were recorded at the flat I lived in on Maude Terrace, Walthamstow, between October 14 and December 17, 2003. BACKGROUND After winning the Perrier Newcomer Award, I was presented with a number of interesting offers from several production companies wanting to work with me. This had never happened to me before, so naturally I wanted to work with all of them. But because these deals were usually exclusive, I could only choose one. The BBC’s offer was looser, but that gave me more flexibility to do the odd thing here and there with someone else if it arose. And it also offered some genuine hands-on work experience in the form of The Day The Music Died. The producer, Will Saunders, had gravitated towards radio from a previous life in the music industry and thought I’d be a great fit for this new show he was making with Andrew Collins - a satirical take on the music industry and music radio in general. All I had to do was come up with a new comedy song every week for eight weeks, and be ready in the studio to improvise some funny chat about it. Oh and the comedy song had to be about the music industry. It scared the shit out of me, to be honest. It had taken me the best part of two years to write the eight songs on my one album, and only six of them were good enough to go in the live show. Writing another eight in two months sounded like the sort of thing a madman would do if he wanted to find the quickest road to Hell on Earth. But obviously, I couldn’t let that ruin my chances, so I said yes please, then quickly tried to work out the easiest way to avoid losing my mind. As I’ve discovered over the years, the best thing to do in these situations is to get pragmatic about it. It didn’t matter if I reused old backing tracks, so long as the lyrics were new and relevant to whatever we wanted to talk about. I was also in the early stages of writing stuff for the second album, so I thought a mixture of new and old tunes would work out fine. It took me a few goes to get into the swing of it. The first song I wrote was just an intro to Gary and didn’t feel relevant enough, so we ditched it. The second was an awful, bog-standard comedy song about falling singles sales, which didn’t suit Gary at all, but in the absence of anything else, that got broadcast anyway, and I still feel the shame. But by Show 2 I was starting to understand it a bit better, working out how to connect the chat to the music, how to put Gary’s personality into the stuff I was writing, how to make them work both as proper Gary Le Strange songs and as proper comedy songs with jokes in that speak to a lunchtime radio audience. It wasn’t all plain sailing, but over the course of eight weeks, we made three or four half- decent songs, and I’d learned the basics of a whole new craft. Of course the show wasn’t just me. The bulk of the show was Andrew, Robin and Jon talking about music, intercut with brilliant little sonic packages - jingles, fake ads and silly music-related ideas (like the Living in a Box ‘Living in a Box’ Box Set). Jon and Robin would each do a solo ‘roving reporter’ package each week. But I’ll talk more about that when I make my in-depth ‘Jon Holmes and Robin Ince’ website. THE RECORDING PROCESS The songs were all recorded with my usual crappy, over-complicated home set-up, with the PlayStation, the MiniDiscs and the SM58: see here for a more thorough explanation. The rest of the show was made properly, by actual professionals in a real recording studio. Just a small team on a Friday morning. I only really interacted with Andrew on the show, but there were usually at least five of us - Andrew, Jon, Robin and myself, plus Will. Sometimes Colin Anderson. Maybe others, but it was nearly 20 years ago and that’s more than enough time for the memory to have fallen completely out of my head. THOUGHTS & FEELINGS My main memory is that it was a lot of fun - it was a bright, sunny environment and we all had exciting things going on, we all felt really good about the show and we were all very glad to be in it. Happy to be working with such brilliant, creative people. Happy to be in a genuinely funny show that people genuinely tried to do their best work for. It was a damn sight more fun than sitting in a dark, creaking, lopsided bedroom in Walthamstow at any rate. I was worried I might not be up to the task, but in the end, it worked out much better than I’d hoped, and gave me at least one song I still feel really, desperately happy about. They’re not all great, but who cares? It was the whole show that counted - if my bits worked for the show, that was good enough for me. And of course it was the run-up to Christmas. Whenever I think about this show, it feels Christmassy to me. I’m writing this now at the end of November, nineteen years later, thinking properly about this show for the first time since we did it, having been through all sorts of shit and all kinds of different jobs. And the more I think about it, the more I feel that weird, Christmassy excitement. It was a brilliant time in my life - I’d just won this award after years of getting absolutely nowhere, I was gigging frequently and actually getting paid for it, doing interviews and little bits of telly. But being in a weekly lunchtime show on Radio 2 - actually having a proper paid job on radio, in the industry I loved, working with such brilliantly funny, creative, interesting people - was the crowning glory. Mix that with the run-up to Christmas and I can safely say it was one of the best professional experiences of my life. Absolutely loved every second. BEST TRACK The Chinese Ghost of Christmas (and its manic twin sister, The Cowboy Astronaut of Mother’s Day). EXTRA FOOTAGE We also recorded a one-off 60-minute pilot, between Series 1 and 2, just to see if the format would stretch to an hour. I think the consensus was that it didn’t, and it was back to the half-hour format for the second series. We repeated The Cowboy Astronaut of Mother’s Day from Show 7 for Gary’s slot, with newly-recorded studio chatter.
CD INLAYS
The production teams at BBC Radio always kindly furnished cast members with CD recordings of the shows they were in, with the credits all uniformly typed out in Comic Sans. These are the inlay covers for the Series 1 discs:
The Day The Music Died: Series 1 Show 1 The Day The Music Died: Series 1 Show 2 The Day The Music Died: Series 1 Show 3 The Day The Music Died: Series 1 Show 4 The Day The Music Died: Series 1 Show 5 The Day The Music Died: Series 1 Show 6 The Day The Music Died: Series 1 Show 7 The Day The Music Died: Series 1 Show 8 The Day The Music Died: 60 minute pilot The Day The Music Died: 60 minute pilot (back)
THE DAY THE MUSIC
DIED: SERIES 1