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ENTERTAINMENT: The Kerbcrawlers

The Kerbcrawlers Album

Released in 2005, this was the first of the three albums that were recorded by The Kerbcrawlers.
Ian Edmundson

Ian talks us through the songs and the stories behind them. as he remembers them:

"The band hadn't been together long when we recorded the first album and we were really quite astonished at the results when we were mixing the tracks. It definitely helped that we had a very good engineer / producer (Mark at Frog Studio, Warrington), who knew exactly what he was doing. We had been playing the songs quite regularly before we went into the studio and we were a really tight little unit.

Once we learned a song, we generally stuck to that arrangement of it, so we never messed them up on stage.

The tracks on all three of the albums were all basically played live in the studio with a live guide vocal and then usually, the main vocal would be re-recorded, to lose any spillage onto the vocal mic from other instruments, etc. I did the album cover in an hour."

1   Get over it

"Originally recorded by The Eagles on 'Hell Freezes Over'. I hadn't ever heard it and wasn't a particular fan of The Eagles, but Ian Hutchings was quite mad on it and Colin Scott had been to their show at Huddersfield and was a fan. We would give a song that someone liked a fair chance and this one turned out to be a winner for us. Hutch taught the song to the rest of the band and I didn't hear The Eagles' version for years after we started doing it. I think our version sounds a lot smoother, but then I'm used to it. Hutch did most of the arranging of this song, even though it's close to the original.

It's a bugger to sing and Col did a great job on it, though he was often breathless and an interesting red colour by the time we finished it. After a while, we moved it to the start of the second set, as it was too punishing to start the first set with. It's fast and also relentlessly wordy. I tried singing it once. It was a nightmare!!"


2   Learn to fly

"Steve suggested and sang this one. It was very often the second song in the show, as well as second on the disc. I like the way the guitars work off each other - Ian and Steve were always just marvelous at arranging guitar parts like that. Both of them are very tasteful guitarists and they always did what was best for the song, rather than stamping on the fuzzbox and going louder than each other.

The Foo Fighters did this one first. Another band I have never really got into, myself, but we also tried another song by them, No way back, which didn't really take root with us and we sort of gave up on it, after playing it live a few times. We should have persevered with that idea, as it's a good song."

3   Black magic woman

"I think Hutch was the keenest of us on this one initially , though Col ended up singing it. Hutch certainly did a nice solo on it. It was a good one to let us calm down and give us a rest during the set. If it had been down to me, all the songs would have been like I knew the bride - quite fast and we would have been damp rags after a while! Steve's style really blended beautifully with Hutch - both such tasteful and skilled players. Nice laid-back disco-ey beat under this version. It's certainly more Santana than Fleetwood Mac. It was one to pull out when we played clubs.

The first album was recorded with a regular kit. Later on, Colin went over to an electronic kit and the sounds he used on this later - bongos and all that, were brilliant. It's a shame he didn't have the electronic kit when we did this, but never mind..."

4   Behind Blue Eyes

"We quite fancied doing a Who song, such as Won't get fooled again, but we didn't want to cheat and use tapes or a sequencer on stage, as that wasn't on, besides, you could never hear the bloody things. We were a very loud band. It was either Steve or myself who came up woth this idea. I was a very big Who fan.

I know Limp Bizkit had put a feeble version out, that failed miserably to include the second half of the song and one of Steve's guitar students may have asked him about it. Whoever came up with it, it was a good idea. I fancied singing it, but Steve pounced on it and immediately did a very good job. The built-up harmonies in the studio were nice and Col used to do the really high notes on stage and go all red-faced, leaving me in fits of laughter, he was so funny doing that! Steve played an acoustic guitar on this. I think a picture of it comes up in the video. It sounds reallly nice and clean"

5   The boys are back in town

"This song was one I never thought I'd be able to sing and play, as there is so much going on in the original by Thin Lizzy. Someone requested it at a gig in Burnley (when Colin and I were in a three -piece band before Hutch and Steve joined). We would busk anything we could and this one came up as a request. I decided to sit down and work on it properly, after our bash at it off the cuff, at that show. The harmony guitars are quite a masterpiece and Ian and Steve sat down and worked them out, in small sections, until they had mastered it. It was amazing to sit and watch them.

Of course, the song went down a storm live. One venue that we played had a landlord who tore up setlists and stopped them playing the most known classics. This was one of our specialities, but this song couldn't go in our set. So we sound-checked with it instead. The crowd loved it. Oh well..."

6   Surfing with The Alien

"This was Steve's featured party-piece  in our live set for a couple of years. It really shows off his superb ability to sit down and slavishly learn someone else's music to the point where you can't telll whether it's him playing or the original artist.

I used to watch his fingers when that really fast trill comes up after a couple of verses and I absolutely loved it every time I watched him do it. Sheer genius! This was another song I hadn't really heard until Steve suggested it."


7   Still got the blues

"The Gary Moore classic.

Colin sings and Steve gets the lead guitar tone spot on. The crowds used to go righteously nuts over the end solo on this when we did it live and Steve would often put some of his own lead guitar melody parts in, to keep it going a bit longer, that fitted really well with the original."


8   I knew the bride

"I love all of Dave Edmunds' records (My favourite of his is 'Get It') and just about all of Nick Lowe's. This was a favourite from when they were together in Rockpile. All songs should be like this.

The chorus has a rotating set of lyrics that I could never ever remember the running order of on stage, so you could get any combination of them at a show."


9    Proud Mary

"Ian H loved this song and we did it for the length of the band.

No Tina Turner shock wigs in the band, more's the pity."


10  Sabre Dance

"Ian H's featured guitar piece. What an epic!! While Ian was frantically working his cahunas off, Steve had only one chord to play at one point, so he would often down a pint in one go with one hand, while holding and sustaining the G chord with the other. I always loved playing this live. It was one of those songs no-one else dared attempt and really showed off what we could do.

The huge and obvious strength of the band was that whatever we did in the studio, we could do live. I think we only ever overdubbed a guitar once while working in the studio, because a song needed a little bit of acoustic zing on that version."

11  I don't want to talk about it

"This was a really difficult one to record in the studio, because we needed the vocal to be there, while we were recording, to keep us in time with each other and know where we were in the song. The only problem was that Colin was playing drums as well as singing it - we couldn't have him doing both at once, as the vocal would spill into the drum mics.

The number of false starts and mistakes we made before we agreed Ian H should do a guide vocal and add his guitar later was unbelievable. Mark actually asked us if we'd ever met before we went in the studio!!

I used a Burns Bison bass on this and there's a nice photo of me next to the huge monitor speakers the studio used. The bass sound is just right for this. Lovely vocal from Colin too."


12  Comfortably numb

"This is Steve's EPIC.

Lovely guitars from both of the guys. I like the keyboard part notes that Hutch actually did on guitar under the 'There is no pain, you are receding' section of the song. Lovely.

We did think it was slightly too fast later on and considered re-recording it, but it is a nice version. Steve had a trauma at one point, and he nearly had a nervous breakdown over it. No-one else in the world has ever spotted it, so I won't actually mention it.

After Ian H went to live in Spain, we STILL did this LIVE as a three-piece and Steve carried it off quite magnificently."


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The Kerbcrawlers / Music From The Dark Side

The Second Kerbcrawlers album.
As remembered by Ian....

"I always did the covers for the albums, as I was the one who had Photoshop and the time to mess about and come up with some ideas. There were never any particular issues in the band about what I did. This one went through a couple of phases, based on Dark Side Of The Moon (seeing as there's a version of Money on here), until I found the picture of the girl bassist. That replaced the idea of the rainbow just hitting the shiny snare drum. A risky strategy, as she was a far better looking bassist then me!!

The second album was again recorded with Mark at Frog Studios, as we trusted him to get a good result for us. We usually did two weekends a few months apart - one day was spent putting 6 backing tracks down and the next mixing them. The second time, the second session produced 7 tracks - the extra track being a version of 'Merry Christmas Everybody' which we put out on a limited edition EP with two previously released tracks."

Ian Edmundson


Are you ready?
"A good opening song for both the CD and either half of our live show. We loved Thin Lizzy and this gave the guys a solo each. Nice and fast, just the way I liked it. Song suggested by Ian H and Steve. I ended up singing this one and the backing track is really VERY fast. Trying to get the guys to do backing vocals on one of my songs was always a right ball-ache, so I did all of the backing vocals on this in the studio in about five minutes."


Race with The Devil.

"Ian H was quite fond of this song and it really grew on me when we started to play it live. It's got a lot of guts and really motors along.
You don't ever hear any other bands doing it, which is always a good thing, though Quo have nicked the main riff for one of their songs.. Ian H also sings it and it suits his voice very well."


Walkin' by myself
"A sizzling Steve Mulvaney feature spot. His guitar on this is immaculate and he just about always did it flawlessly onstage too. Nice vocal. Not much to say about this - the music does all the talking here."


Still in love with you
"One of the things that is most difficult when recording in a studio is keeping the songs at the right pace. This version of the Thin Lizzy classic is utterly gorgeous, but we always played it more slowly on stage, in order to give the song a lot of space and feel.
Immaculate guitars from Steve and Ian H. A lovely heartfelt vocal from Ian H too."


Always with me, always with you
"A Joe Satriani instrumental tune that Steve chose for us to do. He's a big Satriani fan and (TRIVIA) his red Ibanez is signed by Joe Satriani on the rear of the headstock. The backing guitar on this is an utter nightmare, but the part is played beautifully. I used my 12-string bass on this for extra depth and a bit of clang when required. It does sound a little more subtle than I expected. Wonderfully complicated to play. This one went down very well live with 'those in the know', but it was perhaps a bit too obscure for the general audience."


Sultans of swing
"Hutch plays Knopfler and does it really excellently. I've heard lots of bands do this and make a bit of a balls of it, but our version was always good when we played in the clubs. Colin sings it, as he could remember all those words."


Rosalie
"Whoahhhhh - slow down! Again, we got the bit between our teeth with the backing track speed, but it turned out ok. I changed the words to go on about Rosalie looking good in rubber and being everyone's favourite little fetish girl and no-one ever spotted I'd done it."


The last time
"Ian H sings this one. We inherited the song from the old line-up and we used to do it straight, at a normal tempo, just like the Stones and we were getting bored with it and it was falling out of the set, but at a show once, we were mucking about with the song at the soundcheck and went into a reprise at nearly double speed and thought it was quite good. We never played it at the normal speed ever again after that."


Need your love so bad.
"The old Fleetwood Mac tune. We used to ask people who did it before they did on stage and it was very rare that anyone got it. At one venue, we offered the first person to get it a drink, so the landlord went upstairs to look it up on the net. Thank you. Lovely guitar solos and a fretless bass on this one. Colin sings."


Alright now
"We must have played this song 500 times. It always went down very well - you know, girls dancing round their handbags in clubs and even at rock gigs. Don't knock it if it works. Solo by Steve and so it's dead accurate! Colin used to get the reddest face in the world when he sang this one, as he really powered the vocal out (and was generally looking for his cowbell at the same time!)"


I predict a riot.
"Steve sings this one. I changed the lyric onstage one night in Wigan ("Borrow a pound for a MEAT PIE") to make a Wigan joke and we kept that joke in when we recorded it. It's a good, solid and very faithful version and we always enjoyed playing it live, though we played it more sparingly towards the end of the band."


Money
"This came together quickly in rehearsals and we were always very good at learning songs at this point, with the original four of us. Later on, learning new songs could be a pain in the arse. At this point, we went away and did our homework. Steve was very much in charge of the arrangement, which bolted two different Pink Floyd live versions together.

I asked Steve to leave out Guy Pratt's bass solo, as I would rather stick pins in my eyes than play a bass solo. It's not that I can't do it, but unless you are Jim Lea or John Entwistle, bass solos are an error of judgement, second only to drum solos. If you do either of those for longer than 10 seconds in a pub band, you really DO deserve public castration. Guitar solos are, however, perfectly permissible and Hutch does the first and Steve the second solo. The main vocal is by Steve."


Merry Xmas Everybody
"The Kerbcrawlers recorded this at the end of sessions for their second album 'Music From The Dark Side'. It was released as a very limited edition EP in 2007 on their own label. Lead vocal and a lot of the backing vocals by Ian Edmundson. Always great fun to play. A great song from a great band - Slade. Steve did the "IT'S CHRISTMAAAAAAAAAAASSSSSS!!!" at the end."


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The Kerbcrawlers / Wish you were here
(as remembered by Ian)

Wish you were here was the third and final album that The Kerbcrawlers released.

It originally had different artwork to the obviously Beatles-inspired image, but this is the one that Ian thought would be best.

The group went through a couple of line-up changes after Ian Hutchings (far left) emigrated to Spain and the subsequent newer members didn't play on the album.

Mike Smith didn't feel it was right to put his photo on the album sleeve, as he wasn't featured on the CD, so other artwork was hastily used for the initial release, cribbing from an old 1950's jazz album with a photo of a girl dancing on a nightclub table.

The Beatles pastiche sleeve was adopted after a few copies, so the nightclub version is quite rare. Rarer still was a very very limited sleeve featuring a notorious photo of Star Stowe posing with a Rickenbacker bass on the inner booklet.

When guitarist Ed Mann spent a short time with the band, the CD had already been on sale for quite some time and there was no question of me changing the artwork yet again.

It's a shame the band didn't get to record a fourth album, as when Ed was no longer in the band and we were playing as a trio again, we were on fire. We had a lot of good new songs that we never recorded, except on video.


 

 

 

Ian Edmundson

 

Ian Edmundson

Tush
"Tush was one of the very first things we knocked together as a new band, as we all basically knew it. Ian H really enjoyed singing it and it gave the guys a cracking guitar solo each, so it went in the set.

Colin took over singing it later on, after Ian H went to live in Spain."


Doctor Doctor.
"The UFO song. Steve was very keen indeed on this and also fancied doing a couple of other UFO songs later on. We agreed on learning them, but never got round to doing them. I quite like the long intro, which you never hear if this gets played on the radio. We cut the long intro out when we became a trio, as it needed two guitars.

We also did the Robert Palmer song Doctor Doctor, which was rather interesting when we were looking at the setlist. Perhaps we should have stuck The Who's song of the same name in, too, or The Thompson Twins song, etc etc."


29 Palms.
"A nice vocal from Colin. It always went down very well onstage. The chugging 12-string bass thickens the bottom end up on this nicely. The guitars were very carefully worked out. They make it sound so easy, but a lot of thought went into the guitars. I brought this one to the band, having done it with my old band, Mother's Ruin. A bugger to sing and God knows what this song is about, anyway!

I always used to say it was about Led Zeppelin and a large number of groupies - one of whom only had one hand. I was probably wrong about that."


Rain
"I always thought that any band worth their salt should do a Quo song or two. This is one of Quo's very best songs and it's one that every other Tom Dick and Harry doesn't play.

We also did a rather good version of Caroline, but there's no studio recording of it."


(Make me smile) Come up and see me.
"That's the right way to title this song. Ian H sang it and the backing vocals are really nice on this. I built up the vocal arrangement quite a bit from the original. I always thought that it was very funny to see that rising harmony that wasn't on the original being copied by some mates of ours in their band, afterwards.

The opening riff is a killer (in that's it's brilliant, not that it's hard to play) and it took the guys ages to work out, as they insisted on making it more complicated than it ever needed to be!"

Emerald
"The thing I loved about Steve and Ian was the way they would sit down with furrowed brows and agonise for hours over string bends and guitar harmonies and play things again and again and again until they got them right.

It was great watching their dedication to making the band great and accurate. Once they got something right, they maintained that standard. This song was a blinder live, even when we went down to a three piece and Steve had to carry off all the guitar heroics by himself."


Jane.
"This song is actually older than my children. I wrote it in the bog at work one day after seeing some girl weeping buckets about some row with her bloke. 'What's the matter with Jane?' I asked myself, and BINGO! , I scrambled for the Izal Pine bog roll and a Government issue biro and LO! a minor classic rock song was born. The couple got married later on.

The chords were originally different, in that it didn't have the ascending chord progressions, but I reworked it in my home demos and this arrangement was the final result.

Another good story about this song is that I had previously recorded it with a band called Beyond Belief and the singer insisted on inserting a some 'wo-oh-oh's' here and there throughout the song (you can hear it here). I had a backing track mix done in the studio of all the songs without the vocals on, so that if need be, I could re-use the tracks later on. He was in the audience at a show I did with a later band of mine called Go Crazy and we played the song that night (a live version can be heard here). Another mate of mine in the audience overheard him telling some people that he'd co-written it and so he asked me what the real story was. During the break, we had words. Backing vocals do not a co-write make."


Wish you were here:
"This song was put together pretty much at the last-minute just before we went into the studio to record it and for whatever reason, we had problems getting together to rehearse it as a full band. Ian H ended up giving up his rhythm guitar part to Steve, so Steve played all the guitars on the track. Aren't they just dead-on the money!!!

I played 12-string bass on this song to give it a bit more low end presence.

The band were learning a couple of new Pink Floyd songs - Coming back to life was one of them - until Colin decided to give in his notice and the band broke up."


I want you to want me
"If Steve could have tracks by his favourite band on the album, then so could I. Originally done by US rockers Cheap Trick, this song has been covered many times by artists as different as Letters To Cleo, Dwight Yoakam, SR-71, Chris Isaak, Lindsay Lohan (and many others).

Our version does what a lot of other versions do, which is keep pretty much to their simple and absolutely perfect arrangement, but I asked Colin to play more on the side drum than the toms, to give it more of a heavier Giltter-Band type sound. We also covered Cheap Trick's #1 single (in the USA) The Flame, with Steve singing, but didn't record it in the studio."


House Full Of Bullets
"The third Joe Satriani song that we recorded. I love this - it swings like a brick on a string. It's just great. Steve plays some absolutely cracking science-fiction guitar on this."

School's Out:
"This was a total monster on stage. By the time we got round to it in our shows, my voice was always nicely warmed up and possibly a bit worn-out. If my voice was a bit shredded, this could sound great. We also played Alice's No more Mr Nice Guy live and did a really cracking version of it - another one that we didn't ever record.... I love Alice Cooper's voice. Not enough people give him credit for how good a voice he has. Excellent diction and a great songwriter, too.

Steve and Ian both play some great guitars and Colin excels on the drums. The bass part drives the song to a degree, but everyone attacks it with a passion. Listening to these tracks, I realise how lucky I was to be in this band. I did know it at the time as well, though!"


Turning Japanese
"Another one that Colin thought of. What a good idea. We learned this quite quickly over a couple of rehearsals in Colin's front room. It's sometimes much harder to play than it sounds. If we played it too fast on stage, Colin often went very red indeed as he couldn't get his breath between singing lines and looked like he was going to burst a blood vessel.
Colin always counted us in, so it was up to him how fast we played it!

On the final video on this page, I've included the unlisted 'secret track' from the end of the CD, which played unannounced after a 30 second gap."


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