Karma or Fate - Lost Master Tapes Found in Car Boot Sale
How a chance conversation at a suburban car boot sale led to the discovery of the Holy Grail of Member-O-Bilia The "Lost" follow op to "The Sound of The Suburbs"
By: stoppress pr
The line up of the band in 1979 was Nicky Tesco, JC Carroll, Nigel Bennett, Chris Payne and Adrian Lillywhite. The guitars and drums are crisp and biting the bass is pounding and the Lyrics are tongue in cheek and wry as ever, like a time capsule from a different age. Whilst The Members still tour and record, this is a Mark one version of the Band like a classic car from the seventies lovingly restored.
Most musicians never get to their own master tapes, usually they are kept or "owned" by the record companies, But in 2012 some 35 years after it was first recorded JC was in possession of master tapes of his band The Members it was he says a "fantastic feeling getting some of his art back".
The tapes contained different versions of three separate songs, Muzak machine, Normal People and Gang War which would later to be been recorded on The Members second album . and a "piece de resistance" a previously unreleased song called "At the End of Term" "At the End of Term" was due to be a follow-up to The Members 1979 smash "Sound of the Suburbs" because of timing issues and The Members US tour this record was shelved, it never saw the light of day. After extensive restoration by experts The master tapes were transferred onto digital media . As soon as he opened the file is up in his studio JC knew you had something special The legendary raw energy of The Members was there in abundance. The rough edges and the power of that group jumped out of the monitors at him, now lovingly restored and remixed this tape is available on CD and on Digital release from AngloCentric records™
CD Purchase link
The Members Official
Facebook Fans Page
what follows is JC's account of the Discovery and restoration
Those of you who know me well will be aware that I collect musical instruments. To get the sound that I need in the studio it’s sometimes necessary to use old instruments. In 2012 I was at a car boot sale buying an old 60s Farfisa organ (think Percy Sledge or Sam the Sham and the Pharoahs). Derek, the seller, asked me if I was in a band. Yes I said, I was in The Members. I bought the organ but Derek had left the pedal at home so I gave him my phone number and asked him to call me so I could arrange a time to pick it up. When I went to Godalming to collect it, Derek surprised me, “My son in law's got a big tape of the Members - a master tape.” He then explained to me that his son-in-law's father used to own a recording studio in London. A few phone calls and months later I found myself looking at two 1 inch, eight track, Ampex master tapes of The Members recorded in June 1979.
What was exciting about these tapes is there was an unreleased track called “End of Term” that was due to be a follow-up to “Sound of the Suburbs”. I had found the Holy Grail of Member-O-Bilia!
But the tapes were any good? One inch, 8 track Ampex would be difficult to convert as there are very few machines left serviceable. After a long search I found somebody that was willing to transfer the contents of the tapes to digital media. This process was further complicated by the fact that the tapes needed to be baked before the transfer could take place. So finally I had the tapes transferred onto a hard drive and opened them in my studio. It was a perfect time capsule - all the instruments and voices were clearly recorded on the tape. The songs sounded fresh and vibrant, full of youthful energy. This was The Members Mark 1 at the top of their game.
Next came the task of remixing the tapes and turning them into finished masters. Apart from some spillage problems, all the tracks were brilliant (do you mean the sound? If so, ‘perfectly preserved’ might be better) and the first three tracks were quite easy to mix. The biggest problems resulted from Nigel Bennett’s guitar being so loud that it was on all the drum tracks and the bass track as well his own track. Using the latest tools I managed to fix this problem by analysing various frequencies and eventually I got some sort of separation. The last track, “Gang War” took a lot more work. I needed to paste the first half of the first take on to the second half of the second tape and move Nick Tesco’s vocal from one tape to another. I also added a bit of organ and tambourine to hold the track together better. Nick's singing was easy to cut and paste. He had a great sense of timing and always sang the lyrics exactly the same way, almost like double tracking. Even though Adrian Lillywhite's drums were only on two tracks, they sounded massive.
Some people criticised the production of our second album as too polished. Here are four tracks with The Members at their raucous, rowdy best. I learned a lot about the band mixing these four tracks. The first three tracks are all under 3 minutes yet are packed with lyrics, drum fills, guitar solos and Chris Payne’s throbbing bass lines. This is the sound of a band that came up the hard way through the tough punk pub circuit. No X Factor lottery winners! I have tried to present the band as you would have heard them live. I did however claim producer’s privilege by doubling up a few choruses and adding a tiny bit of acoustic guitar on “End of Term” and organ on “Gang War”.