Wednesday, June 17, 2015

misplaced childhood

Marillion sought sanctuary from infamy and insanity and found direction in the dancing shadows of barbed wire kisses and roundabout rainbow remembrances of this backstage bitter suite.     Although their second album 'Fugazi' had been a top five success in the UK, their record label was unhappy with the expense that went into it.    After rehearsals, the band was shipped off to Hansa Tonstudio in Berlin where the rates were much cheaper.   The sessions for 'Misplaced Childhood' featured  Fish (Derek Dick) on vocals and cover concept;   Steve Rothery on guitars and photography;  Mark Kelly on keyboards;  Pete Trewavas on bass;  and  Ian Mosley on percussion;   with   Chris Kimsey on production and mixing;  Thomas Stiehler on recording;  Mark Freegard on mixing engineering;  Mark Wilkinson on sleeve design and illustration;  Julie Hazelwood on collage;  and Bill Smith Studio on artwork design.   

Rothery:     "In the early part of 1985 we moved into a big old house called Barwell Court in Chessington for the writing sessions of the new album. I felt very inspired at around that time and the constant flow of ideas between us all meant that we worked at quite an incredible pace (for us at least), writing nearly all of side one within the first week. A few weeks later we met with Chris Kimsey, the producer, who proceeded to tell us about this great studio in Berlin called Hansa, and how we should definitely record the album there.   Arriving in Berlin in February 1985 I remember being struck by the incredible vibrance and energy the city had. Every day I would follow the graffiti clad wall from the Hervis Hotel around the corner to the studio. My bedroom window at the hotel looked out across the wall into no-man's land and the sentry towers and patrol guards made you feel like you were a character in some Graham Greene novel."

Trewavas:    "Thinking back, the boys in the band seemed to be very relaxed with each other over the writing period of Misplaced Childhood. There was none of the mayhem compared to Fugazi and because we'd toured with Fugazi, done Real to Reel and toured that as well, we had got to know Ian (the new boy) very well. Also, if Fugazi was seen to be a bit of a disaster, Real to Reel and its subsequent tour were considered to be a success. All these things put together meant that the band was very strong and camaraderie was at a high.  Of course it didn't, but my impressions are that the album almost wrote itself...Fish was singing some really good stuff and suggesting things and ideas that he had. I can't remember when it happened, but Fish came up with the concept thing and we ran with it, although it was a bit tenuous in places. It was just such a relief for me to have something to bang all our musical ideas on...Because of the success and the decisions that were made by everyone at the time, we were obviously very happy but, at the same time, getting frustrated with each other - we had spent so much time together. It was also the first time that we had money to spend and the time to spend it."

Fish:    "Being away from family, loved ones and the sanctuary of home trapped in a cocoon surrounded by media and sycophants in a traveling circus where the quest for normality and sanity is a constant daily struggle...I'd been paying the price. My big on/off relationship had finally bit the dust, left behind in a haze of exhaust fumes as I careered off in search of my elusive grail. I was off balance and quickly lost in a depraved wilderness in which I soon made a home. The touring lifestyle fed my addictions on every level and when the bus dropped me off at my newly acquired house in Albert Street, Aylesbury I found myself very alone and dislocated from all the distractions that had fed my desire to escape commitments, responsibilities and realities...An envelope arrived one of these days. Inside there was a short letter from an old girlfriend with the recommendation to digest the accompanying contents - a tab of very strong acid...I immersed myself in a warm bath for a while, returning to the womb and trying to reassemble myself. I spent the rest of the night crouched on the floor listening to music, watching walls breathe and staring at a large repro print called 'Padres Bay' by Jerry Schurr, an NYC artist.   I'd started to doodle and scribble in my lyric book on the off chance of catching something from the trip. It was sometime during the night that I was visited. 'Incubus' was on the deck; I was in 'Padres Bay' when suddenly I felt a child standing behind me on the stairs. I knew he was dressed as a soldier and vanished as soon as he entered the corner or my eye. Perhaps it was my muse; perhaps it was the drug. It was enough to propel me into reaming off a large scrawl of prose. Contained within were the diamonds and structure on which would hang up the entire concept of Misplaced Childhood...We were to discuss it later as a band and felt the idea was worth pursuing at our forthcoming writing sessions in Barwell Court, a Victorian mansion near Chessington which was hired out as a residential rehearsal studio, the main writing room ironically a former children's' nursery. The rest of the band threw their ideas in the hat and as musical sections were given names and gathered on the blackboard the first side of the album started to appear.   There was no tension and the process felt very natural and organic as the curve began to grow and the sections gelled into a seamless piece of music. Not everyone was happy. Outside our creative circle there was a nervous but respectful air that questioned our decision to pursue such an obviously uncommercial venture. After all this was the mid 80's when everyone was driving sleek polished pop songs and an album steeped in the tradition of 70's progressive rock, two slabs of music with the working titles of Side 1 and Side 2 (in '85 vinyl was still king!), was not exactly a move that could be decreed as a fashion statement. More ominous worries were voiced by the record company who although relatively happy with our development on the international stage, believed that radio play was going to be hard to get and support in the USA in particular would be difficult to gather for an album with no obvious singles.   We however had a different opinion and enough weight to move on our convictions. We also knew that there were two sections that more than hinted at singles.  One was 'Kayleigh', the other 'Lavender'...We all knew it was a major album. I don't have enough space to describe concepts, details, recording techniques, lyrical inspirations etc.etc. But read the book when it comes out! It was the turning point of all our lives and the intensity of the experience still rings a smile, never to be repeated. Never again Misplaced. Do you remember?"

'Misplaced Childhood' found its way to number forty-seven in the US, fifteen in Sweden, ten in Norway, six in the Netherlands and Switzerland, three in Germany, and number one in the UK. 

"Kayleigh" reached number seventy-four in the US, nineteen in Switzerland, fourteen on the US hot mainstream rock tracks chart, twelve in the Netherlands, eight in Norway, seven in Germany, and number two in the UK.  

"Lavender" went to thirty-nine in Germany and five in the UK.  

"Heart of Lothian" charted at fifty-one in Germany and twenty-nine in the UK.  

'Misplaced Childhood' 
full album:

All lyrics written by Fish, all music composed by Mark Kelly, Ian Mosley, Steve Rothery, and Pete Trewavas.

Side one
1. "Pseudo Silk Kimono"   2:15
2. "Kayleigh"   4:04
3. "Lavender"   2:28
4. "Bitter Suite"  5:54
a. "Brief Encounter"
b. "Lost Weekend"
c. "Blue Angel"
d. "Misplaced Rendezvous"
e. "Windswept Thumb"  
5. "Heart of Lothian"  6:07
a. "Wide Boy"
b. "Curtain Call"  

Side two
6. "Waterhole (Expresso Bongo)"   2:13
7. "Lords of the Backstage"   1:53
8. "Blind Curve"   9:30
a. "Vocal Under a Bloodlight"
b. "Passing Strangers"
c. "Mylo"
d. "Perimeter Walk"
e. "Threshold"  
9. "Childhoods End?"   4:33
10. "White Feather"   2:24

reissue bonus tracks

"Lady Nina"   5:50
"Freaks"   4:08
"Lavender Blue"   4:23

"Pseudo Silk Kimono / Kayleigh / Lavender"   live

"Waterhole / Lords of the Backstage / Blind Curve"   live

Marillion- Waterhole/Lords of the Backstage... by 69stepe

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