Tuesday, October 13, 2015
seconds of pleasure
Rockpile finally recorded an album together before the creative tension buried them. Dave Edmunds had been in The Human Beans and Love Sculpture before he had a solo number one hit in the UK with his cover of "I Hear You Knocking" in 1970. That song was included on his solo album Rockpile. He moved on to producing and worked with Nick Lowe's band Brinsley Schwarz on their 1974 album New Favourites of... Brinsley Schwarz which included "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding". When Brinsley Schwarz disbanded, Lowe starting doing session work with Edmunds on his 1975 album Subtle as a Flying Mallet and his 1977 album Get It.
In 1978, they decided to form Rockpile. Edmunds reveals: "I just thought of the name Rockpile for the album. And years later the band, ya know, we needed a name..so we called it Rockpile...I got together with Nick a few years ago when I moved from Wales up to London...and umm...we got the band together, and with the help of Jake Riveria, and Terry Williams on drums and Billy Bremner on guitar and Nick Lowe on bass...ahh...it's a lot more fun than it ever used to be...[Nick and I are] very good friends indeed, but we don't live in each other's pockets, you know, none of us do actually. Ummm...not because we don't want to, it's just wiser not to. We work, rehearse, record...and it's great, I mean....Nick is the writer. I never considered myself a songwriter, but now since I've been working with him, I am contributing to an extent. But I'm the guitarist and he's not, so we compliment each other in a way ... Nick had signed to Columbia and I was signed to Atlantic through Swan Song, Led Zeppelin’s label so we couldn’t release records together. See, we didn’t put Rockpile together with any career goal. It was simply that all of the people involved had finished with their bands; Nick had finished with Brinsley Schwarz, Terry (Williams) had finished with Man and Billy (Bremner) with whatever band he was in and we were at a loose end. We got together to just do a few pub gigs in London. Then Peter Grant, Zep’s manager, offered me a tour of America opening for Bad Company. So next thing we were doing stadiums and arenas. It was only a stop gap while Nick got on his feet and figured out what he was gonna do ‘case he’d been in Brinsley Schwarz for years and years and they never really got anywhere in terms of record sales. So Rockpile was a stop gap thing that went on longer than any of us expected. It was never destined to last because Nick is not a sideman. Nick is not really a rock and roller. He’s more of a songwriter and a brilliant wordsmith and songwriter and I think he’s better as a solo performer."
Rockpile was an on-again, off-again venture that developed a reputation for their raucous live performances. While they were together, they recorded together on Lowe's 1978 debut solo album (released in the UK as Jesus of Cool and the US as Pure Pop for Now People) as well as Edmunds’ Trax on Wax 4 that same year. In 1979, Rockpile was the backing band for Edmunds' Repeat When Necessary and Lowe’s Labour of Lust. They also performed on Micky Jupp’s Juppanese and on Lowe's wife Carlene Carter's (Johnny Cash’s stepdaughter) Musical Shapes. During that time, Lowe would produce Elvis Costello’s Armed Forces and Get Happy!!
Lowe laments: "We had a real fame phobia. We just didn't want to make it, and the longer we held it off and sort of killed our own career, we had more and more fun. I mean, the best time to be in the music business is that time when you're just about to make it. Not when you do make it, because that's when it gets really boring and dull. And traveling around playing for pats on the back, crammed into a little van, is no fun either, unless you're really young and enthusiastic. But that time when you're just on the cusp, that's when you have the most fun, and we managed to keep that time going longer than almost anybody else, until we just ran out of steam. We opened for a lot of big acts, and had so much more fun than they did. We'd look around at these hideous stadiums that we were playing in, and the headliners would do the same act every night, and everything happened on cue, and we just sort of said, "Do we really want to do this and have some young kids come up and blow us off the stage?" No, thank you. So we sort of killed ourselves off, really."
Rockpile had success in 1979 with Edmunds' "Girls Talk" (a top 20 hit in both the UK and Canada) and Lowe's "Cruel to Be Kind" (top 20 in the UK, Canada and the US). The next year, Edmunds finished his contract with Swan Song with the solo album Twangin..., which freed Rockpile to record a under their own name for the first time on Jake Riviera's new label F-Beat Records. The sessions for 'Seconds of Pleasure' were produced by Nick Lowe and Rockpile at Eden Studios, Chiswick with Billy Bremner on guitar and vocals; Dave Edmunds on guitar, vocals, piano, and organ; Nick Lowe on bass and vocals; and Terry Williams on drums. Aldo Bocca was the engineer.
Edmunds says: "We had a manager (Jake Rivera) who was a bit of a hot head and he suddenly gave us three weeks to make an album. He just said, 'You’ve got three weeks and then you’re going on tour!' We had no material so I just started flicking through my record collection of 45 singles. I had a big collection of 45 RPM’s and I came across the Joe Tex one If Sugar Was As Sweet As You and Oh What A Thrill by Chuck Berry. We did them really because we had nothing else to do and no time to find anything different. We did that Seconds of Pleasure album with Rockpile and I’ve never heard it since. I am not happy with it at all; I wasn’t happy with it when we were recording it but sometimes you just go to your record collection and see what’s there."
'Seconds of Pleasure' hit thirty-four in the UK, twenty-nine in Canada, twenty-seven in the US, and number eight in Sweden.
"Teacher Teacher" went to number fifty-one in the US and thirty-one in Canada.
'Seconds of Pleasure'
All songs written by Nick Lowe and Rockpile, unless otherwise indicated.
"Teacher Teacher" (Kenny Pickett, Eddie Phillips) – 2:36 lead vocals: Lowe
"If Sugar Was As Sweet As You" (Joe Tex) – 2:35 lead vocals: Edmunds
"Heart" – 2:38 lead vocals: Bremner
"Now and Always" – 1:58 lead vocals: Lowe
"A Knife and a Fork" (Kip Anderson, Isaiah Hennie, Charles Derrick) – 3:18 lead vocals: Edmunds
"Play That Fast Thing (One More Time)" (Lowe) – 4:13 lead vocals: Lowe
"Wrong Again (Let's Face It)" (Chris Difford, Glenn Tilbrook) – 2:23 lead vocals: Edmunds
"Pet You and Hold You" – 3:13 lead vocals: Lowe
"Oh What a Thrill" (Chuck Berry) – 3:06 lead vocals: Edmunds
"When I Write the Book" – 3:17 lead vocals: Lowe
"Fool Too Long" – 2:51 lead vocals: Edmunds
"You Ain't Nothin' But Fine" (Sidney Semien, Floyd Soileau) – 2:54 lead vocals: Bremner
bonus EP tracks (Nick Lowe & Dave Edmunds Sing The Everly Brothers)
produced by Nick Lowe & Dave Edmunds
"Take a Message to Mary" (Felice Bryant, Boudleaux Bryant) – 2:28
"Crying in the Rain" (Howard Greenfield, Carole King) – 2:04
"Poor Jenny" (F. Bryant, B. Bryant) – 2:28
"When Will I Be Loved" (Phil Everly) – 2:14
'Born Fighters' documentary