Welcome to Zombieland

It’s taken me longer, lot longer to get to this post. A few months of whirl, I guess. Started with the first of September.

The tour was planned and mostly booked to kick off on second October and, whist we were still in June, July, August …October seemed a way off. Plenty time to finish recording and mixing the new album, not to mention getting the CD made.

But start September signalled four ferkin’ weeks to get the job done. Frantic might be overstatement, slight. I cut out the tracks that didn’t make it this time, tracked a couple of vocals for a final time, and mixed at home. Not my original plan but the wheel was spinning.

Mixing is quite fun and many will tell you it’s make or break stuff – you choose what stays and what goes, what stands out and what’s hidden, and how big a cave you want to echo around each instrument. Techie stuff.

Mastering on the other hand is a dark art and, like other dark arts, one is still not quite convinced whether it’s more brilliance or more bag’a’bull. Anyhow, it’s definitely the thing to do and I know of no other so fine a mixer as Pete Maher. In fact, I know of no other, but that’s beside the point – a quick glance at the greats and once-greats he’s mastered will suffice.

Whilst Pete was doing his magic, I diddled up the CD cover on a rather out of date Photoshop – I’d toyed with Welcome to Swindon for the debut album title, and had looked at a real sign that stands on the Aldbourne Road coming into town. So I guess that was somewhere there in the recesses, and then, of course …Welcome to Zombieland. Mask up, babies!

Album cover, Welcome to Zombieland, 2020

I got this over to the production plant who got the presses working whilst the masters were being finished – printing the cover takes longer than getting the CD made.

Pete came through with the goods, working late, sometime 9 or 10pm on the deadline day we’d agreed. Straight over to Media Plant – they did a great job for last year’s My Nebraska too – who bunged it over to their factory in the Netherlands. And we were on our way. I think I had the finished product back to my door within 10 days, well within my deadline anyhow.

Next it was time for pre-tour warm-up gig in Swindon. Some venues are gently starting putting on live music, but not many. So finding a place to host wasn’t that easy. I don’t think it was reputation preceding. You can just imagine the levels and issues and contingencies needed to put on a gig in Zombieland.

Delightfully, the wonderful Ashford Road Club came through. They deliberated, discussed and digested. And said yeahhhhh. It’s an old-school members club, just up the road from my gaff, where I’ve been a member and enjoyed the occasional beer and sandwich over the years I’ve lived in town.

There’s a skittles alley – with dart boards running along the side wall – and, neither sport being much in action, a date was agreed. Limited seated-only guests, and everyone had to become a member, but hey, a great little venue. Live from the Skittle Alley ain’t too far from Hollywood Bowl. I guess.

We had a blast. Plenty potion was consumed and no one sung along cos they ain’t allowed. Maybe they mimed. Anyhow. I don’t seem to have any pics from the night, but there’s live footage on my Jol Rose Music Facebook page. If you can hear me above the cackle.

From there it was final checks, insurance and car service, accommodation and gig confirms (still some changes and extras coming in, others going out), till very early in the morning on second October I hit the road in darkness to get the morning ferry, Harwich to the Hook. Welcome to Zombieland.

(Check back soon from thoughts on Zombieland Global and touring in the midst.)

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