Hull was in the grip of another long, cold, lonely winter when I turned up at Fairview Studio in February 1985. Margaret Thatcher was still in Downing Street; the Miners were still - just about - on strike; Ernie Wise had recently made the first UK mobile phone call; you could buy a Sinclair C5 if you wanted one and a new soap called "EastEnders" was about to go on air.
Having played my last gig with the Red Guitars the previous December and spent Christmas in hospital with meningitis I wasn't at my best. But I'd come up with the bare bones of a song: some chords, a few words and a title - "Petals and Ashes". I talked to Tony K at Red Rhino and he, true to form, stumped up for a week in the studio. Tony passed away a few years ago and is sorely missed. He helped a lot of people realise their dreams.
I knew Fairview well, I'd recorded four singles and an album there, and I knew Roy Neave pretty well because he'd engineered and co-produced them all. Roy is an excellent engineer and a talented musician and I was keen to work with him again. I knew we could make a great sounding record because we'd done it before, but this time the buck stopped with me.
Red Guitars' songs tended to evolve over months and even years. They were built up, knocked down, rejigged and painstakingly put back together again. My challenge, and it was a daunting one, was to cram the whole process into a week. But where to start? With the drums of course stupid! As I recall Roy hooked up the Drumulator and I started smashing bottles in a steel dustbin.
It was time to call in the go-to guys. In those days if you wanted a pint and a decent live band you could do worse than catch Danny and the Casablanca Boys at the Waterfront Cellar Bar; Danny Wood, that is, a gifted multi-instrumentalist and musical arranger who had contributed some ace hammond organ to the Red Guitars' first album. Danny agreed to help and recruited Casablanca Boy Bernie Dolman to play bass. All I needed now was a guitarist.
The Roustabouts had a regular night at the Shoulder of Mutton on Lister Street. They played bluesy, country rock that was feisty and melodic at the same time. I thought their guitarist, Dave Greaves, would be perfect for what I had in mind, so I asked him to give it a go and he said he would.
The session went better than I could have hoped. The guys played superbly. Most of our time was spent knocking "Petals and Ashes" into shape, but I also needed a B-side, so we laid down a lounge bar version of "Crocodile Tears". My old mate Tony Burnet-Smith came in to lend a hand and added some extra keyboards and, despite my anxiety, something mesmeric began to emerge from the gloom.
The weekend after we finished tracking Roy and I went to Paris to mix 7 and 12 inch versions of both songs. I can't remember now why we chose Paris but I do remember we missed our flight from Heathrow and had to catch a ferry. The Studio de la Grande Armée is hidden away in a swanky shopping mall in the city centre. Duran Duran were in the main room but we had a dedicated mixing studio with a programmable SSL desk and loads of outboard gear. We had a ball. Next day, when we got to Charles de Gaulle to catch the plane home, we discovered that our flight left from Orly, so we missed that too.
I should explain the dedication: a song for Emma Goldman. Emma was an American anarchist, writer and proto-feminist who lived through the turbulent first half of the 20th century. I was struck by the fact that in one of her letters she used the phrase "I could commit violence", not in connection with the political struggle, but to describe her frustration at being rejected by a much younger man. The phrase stuck with me and eventually, in a slightly different context, became the starting point for my song. The dedication was made to acknowledge my theft.
In due course the single came out and picked up some airplay and a few reviews. Not having a gigging band I couldn't promote it live, although I have to confess to miming to it on a German TV show called Rock Convoy.
Some people liked it - Peter Picton wrote in Sounds that "Jerry's new single is simply stunning - a shimmering, hard-edged Pandora's box of torment" - but not enough. It failed to sell in significant numbers and, although I'm proud of it, the fact remains "Petals and Ashes" proved to be both my début and my denoument as a solo artist.
Recorded at Fairview Studio, Willerby, Hull, from Saturday 2nd to Friday 8th of February, and Tuesday 12th of February 1985.
Mixed at Studio de la Grande Armée, Paris, Sunday 17th February 1985.
Produced by Roy Neave and Jeremy Kidd.
Engineered by Roy Neave.
Released on Self Drive Records.
Distributed by Red Rhino and the Cartel.
Jerry's new single is simply stunning - a shimmering, hard-edged Pandora's box of torment.
Peter Picton writing in Sounds in March 1985.
Worth checking is the solo single from Jeremy Kidd, "Petals and Ashes"...neo-romantic angst ridden pop with a hint of real passion. Try it.
City Limits, 23rd of May 1985..
Jeremy on Good Technology
I remember going round to Stuart's place and he played it to me on his acoustic for the first time. It sounded unique then and I think it still does. How many times did we try to record it? At least four. A song in search of its tempo. I love it when Lou's bass starts to walk at the end. Eve of Destruction! This bloke called Tim who was an ex-telephone engineer figured out the number for the direct line into John Peel's studio at the BBC. I bottled out but various people phoned big John and plugged Good Tech. I must say he took it in a very relaxed and Peel-like manner. They changed the number shortly afterwards.
Jeremy on Fact
I've still got the bespoke rubber stamp, "FACT!" - nobody can say we skimped on promotion.
Jeremy on Paris France
This has one of our best outros.
Jeremy on Remote Control
"A green light shines out over the water" courtesy of F Scott Fitzgerald's Great Gatsby.
Jeremy on Dive
We went to Doncaster and bought some gear. I got an echo unit. Well! Everyone else had stuff to play with! DIVE...Dive...dive...
Jeremy on Astronomy
The truth is like an onion; it has many layers and can make you weep.
Jeremy on Crocodile Tears
I bought a red Höfner Verithin for 60 quid off a bloke on Bricknell Ave and wrote this the same day. It was my first song. I remember overhearing Steve Marshall playing it on the piano once when he didn't know I was there. It sounded great.
Jeremy on Sting in the Tale
Hal's "tour de force". I never felt the vocal lived up to his vision.
Jeremy on Marimba Jive
Light the blue touch paper and stand back! On a good night, if we got MJ in the right place in the set list, we had lift off.