Beyond the Sun Road is a song by Loic J Tuckey and Zebedee C Budworth. This is a live performance version which relies on the raw, unfiltered delivery of Loic and Zeb’s live shows. The performance was recorded in the Hatch DIY space in Sheffield. Finally, it was mastered by the Loose Hair Lathe Cuts – a highly rated record cutting company.
The Sun Road is located in the Glacier National Park, Montana. It sits about 40 miles east of Kalispell on U.S. 2 and 89 and close to U.S. 91 and 93. It takes roughly two hours to drive the full length of the Sun Road, which includes around 50 miles long, winding roads in a setting of stunning, natural beauty.
The Sun Road is located in wild country and travellers will find free-roaming wildlife such as Bighorn sheep and Mountain goats. The highest point is Logans Pass, which stands at 6,646 feet. And, despite being fraught with dangerous winding roads, sharp curves and falling rocks, the drive is considered a cruiser’s paradise. Providing you aren’t in a hurry, of course. In fact, with so many picnic spots, viewing points and hiking opportunities, you really feel that 50-mile stretch is best experienced over a lifetime.
Beyond the Sun Road, by Loic J Tuckey & Zebedee C Budworth, is an account of events which occurred on a road trip heading from Cut Bank to the Glacier National Park, and beyond the Sun Road. Listen now.
More songs about travelling the world
Who doesn’t love songs about travelling the world? I mean, they’re great. Simply pen down the details of small events from a road-trip or all-inclusive package holiday, then set them alongside a rock riff. Bob’s your uncle, Fanny’s your three-minute radio-friendly hit.
Willie Nelson couldn’t get enough of the road, telling anyone who’d listen “I can’t wait to get back on the road again.” And, Vanessa Carlton was equally keen on going the distance. In fact, she designed and built her own motorised piano which allowed her to continue performing while she travelled nigh on a thousand miles.
So, if it’s songs about travelling the world you like, here’s a couple of personal recommendations. Personal to me of course, as I wrote them.
Bad Holiday. A song which recalls a frustrating experience down on Copacabana Beach.
Gilet. A man gets caught stuck in a terrible hotel for longer than expected.
Beyond the Sun Road. Events of a road trip from Cut Bank, Montana, all the way through the Sun Road.
You wait and you wait and you wait. But nothing shows. Until finally, from the dirty end of the hard drive, comes Bad Holiday. Located a mile beneath hundreds of compressed MP3s is a song which I’d all but written off. Hear it now.
Over the past eight years or so, I have carried around my external hard drive like a precious newborn child. I kept it safe with bubble wrap on short rides to the studio and hidden it away from clumsy family members and visitors. It’s even spent some time in a locked safe.
But now, I’ve begun to ask myself “what is the point?”
Well, there isn’t any. Not as far as I can work out now, anyway. So I will dig deep and put every petty, no-good recording I’ve ever made online so I can free myself of this burden.
Today, seven years after being told to train with the reserves, Bad Holiday has been recalled to the starting lineup. You can listen now.
Was it really such a bad holiday?
Bad Holiday touches on a British tourist’s first few hours on the beach of Rio de Janeiro. Specifically, Copacabana, where Lola the showgirl has been plying her trade for what must seem like centuries. Our guy in Rio finds himself on the receiving end of a local scam in which he struggles to navigate his way out.
The scam involves one person discreetly throwing a poo-like substance onto the tourist’s shoe while another offers to clean it up for a price. Needless to say, our guy in Rio is not impressed with the welcome party. After some fuss he manages to leave the situation amicably, but with a badly stained shoe.
A short time later, another local harangues our guy and offers to clean it up for R$30. These days that price translates to around £5.82, but back in 2008, he could have bought a new pair of shoes at a local market for that cost. So, again he declines the offer and decides to cut his losses. Fed up with the bother, he simply calls an end to his holiday and returns to Sheffield.
In reality, this story goes on and on. And would be another six weeks before being forced to fly home for different reasons entirely.
Excluded highlights include a chase around the streets of Rio by a man on crutches who demanded access to the mucky shoe. Our guy loses his bearings and winds up miles from the safety of his hotel and right back where the trouble started.
Eventually, the police get involved too. As does a local translater, who manages to clean up a few misunderstandings.
The recording of unfulfilled potential
Bad Holiday was recorded in one single afternoon using a few battered SM57s and an unremarkable condenser mic from no brand worth remembering. The drums and guitar were recorded live while the bass was overdubbed using a typical DI box from any local music store. The same goes for the vocals, clearly without the security of a pop-shield.
It’s fair to say this is not the intended finished article. Hence it’s been sitting on my hard drive for the average life-span of an Irish Wolfhound. Unfortunately, my old Mac took a tumble and was rendered useless. This file is all that remains of that session. Seemingly shat out as a rough mix and destined to remain buried beneath future WAVs and MP3s. Until now.
Yes, the mix is dodgy. It contains mic knocks and background mutterings which were never eliminated and would benefit greatly from a lot more investment. But despite its flaws, I like the song. At the root of the thing is a nice story and some great vocals from my pals Sophia Petit of Night Flowers, and Luke Twyman of North East Lincolnshire.
Some happy-go-lucky types will label the recording as ‘having character.’ Other’s might say it’s ‘salt of the Earth,’ kind of stuff. If I shared that same positive outlook then Bad Holiday needn’t have stayed hidden on my hard drive for seven years.
In part one of A History of the Hard Drive in Music, we discussed how the hard drive impacted key incidents within the music industry. We discovered how Elvis, theBeatles & Soft Cell dealt with studio issues and where John Fogerty keeps his unreleased Creedence Clearwater Revival songs.
Part 2 looks at examples of excess, the future of file storage and Neil Young’s pioneering storage Cloud.
“Corgan burned out such a mountain of hard drives, one journalist coined him the Buffalo Bill of the music industry.”
Billy Corgan: the Buffalo Bill of Popular Music
The Smashing Pumpkins had been working for six long weeks on their 1993 album Siamese Dream when Billy Corgan took out even more space on a second external hard drive. During those sessions, he backed up such high quantities of guitar tracks that it became impossible to tell which files were original and which were copies. Guitarist, James Iha, described the scenes as “chaotic on a good day.”
Furthermore, Corgan’s obsession with external memory compelled him to replace, without solicitation, many of the band’s original files with his own. This created an unhealable wound that contributed to their eventual split from the band.
In fact, Corgan backed up so many files throughout his long career that his studio became a dumping ground for burned-out hard drives. His mound was so vast, one journalist coined him “the Buffalo Bill of popular music.” Since then, the music industry has called him ‘Buffalo’ Billy Corgan.
The Great Debate: Analogue vs. Digital Hard Drives
Disregarding a few examples of misdemeanours, it’s generally considered a relief that the consequences of spilt studio milk are no longer disastrous. Show Elvis a Buffalo Ministration, with its two terabyte storage capacity, and he’d probably trade in his vast collection of state police badges.
Although, one debate that might interest him is the ongoing question of analogue vs digital. To this day, some engineers and musicians will pass up the chance of unlimited gigabytes for the sepia tones of tape-formatted hard drives.
Although less impressive in terms of efficiency, many appreciate the offer of warmer analogue vibe when compared to its digital peer. Keen eared musicians cite unpalatable glitches within their memory banks. Others claim that the public generally fails to notice a difference anyway. While ‘Buffalo’ Billy Corgan is in it for the unlimited upgrades.
“Young’s primitive Red Cloud system still regularly releases old bootleg recordings.”
Neil Young’s Great Storage Cloud in the Sky
While the jury remains out to lunch on that debate, a new one has surfaced. Nowadays, many in the industry prefer to use a non-physical system for storing files, called a Cloud. Supporters say it eliminates the risk of aSoft Cell-like disaster. But, sceptics claim that years of unreleased work will be rendered instantly useless should the internet ever be switched off.
One staunch advocate of the cloud is Neil Young. Like Corgan, Young’s desire to back up high quantities of files is seen as excessive. He actually backed up so many albums that by the mid-80s, the hard drive industry found itself unable to keep up with his relentless quest for high-quality storage.
A frustrated Young enlisted his studio apprentice to design the impossible. He wanted “somewhere to store high volumes of riffs in a remote physical location. And, which can be accessed from any device over a digital network.”
What appeared was the world’s first Cloud storage system. Young called it “primitive and workman-like,” and referred to it as the Red Cloud. Today, it remains situated a mile outside of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, where it can be found releasing old bootleg recordings into the ether.
“It’s a morbid thought when speculating on how many careers would be unfulfilled without Fred Durst’s intervention.”
Back Up! Back Up! Tell Me What Ya Gonna Do Now?
Whatever technology the industry uses in future it’s certain to keep an iron grip on the creativity of aspiring artists. Be it a slice of tape, external drive or a Cloud, everything needs to be stored safely. Then stored again.
It’s true that even most experienced of our musical heroes slip up from time to time. But it takes the likes of Lennon, Fogerty and Almond to remind the young of yesterday’s tragedies. And more to the point – inspire future generations to store creative streaks safely.
The turn of the century saw a huge downturn in external hard drive sales when young musicians began taking a DIY approach towards storage. Items such as leftover takeaway Tupperware became commonplace home recording setups. This meant industry relied on figureheads, like Limp Bizkit’s Fred Durst, to warn against this caviler attitude of aspiring musicians.
In the song Rollin‘, Durst desperately implores today’s youth to “back up, back up,” and asks “tell me what ya gonna do now?” The public answered that rhetoric emphatically when sales shot up the next year. Much to the relief of everyone in the industry.
Just How Many Popular Songs Remain Unheard?
It’s a morbid thought when speculating on how many careers would have been unfulfilled without Durst’s intervention. Or how many wonderful studio moments still remain unheard from that fallow period of 99/00. Neither will we ever know many Elvis-like howitzers could have been avoided with the correct use of file duplication. But, we can at least be grateful for the unquantifiable good the hard drive has done. In terms of posterity, it’s second to none.
Finally, one question remains above all. Just how many Creedence songs does John Fogerty keep stored away? Sadly, we may never find out.
In this article, we discuss a history of the hard drive in music. We look at studio disasters, ingenuous post-production techniques and the lost millions.
For a long time now, the external hard drive has offered musicians a safe space to safeguard their unreleased singles and rough cuts. Where once there was fear of destruction, there’s now an abundance of backed up guitar licks and sick beats stored on millions of devices around the globe.
It was way back in 1956 when IBM created the first commercial hard drive. This historical device, complete with the famous RAMAC 305 system, was the size of two fridge-freezers. It stored just 5MB of data in the ice-cube tray compartment. The whole device weighed nearly a ton and ran at a cost of $10,000 per megabyte.
Let’s have a look at how this incredible machine began to influence the recording industry and saved millions of love songs from total annihilation.
“This error cost Elvis a portion of his integrity and stood accused of pursuing a career in appropriation.”
Elvis Presley, Big Mamma Thornton and the Loose Grease
As far back as 1956, the music industry began recognising the value of external memory. During a routine studio performance, an incident involving Elvis Presley and a splash of loose hair grease resulted in the original studio take of Hound Dog being deleted forever.
With no backups made, RCA was forced to settle on an alternate version which featured some lyrics unfamiliar to Big Mama Thornton’s original. This error cost Elvis a portion of his integrity and stood accused of pursuing a career in appropriation. From then on, Elvis and the industry knew they had to back up.
“Although it was a commercial hit, the damaged files cost Almond millions in royalties.”
Soft Cell’s Hard Drive History and Marc Almond’s Missing Millions
Although external hard drives became industry standard, human error was still affecting the release of new music in 1981. Leeds duo, Soft Cell, released a double A-Side of cover versions, including Gloria Jones’ Tainted Love. The initial plan had been to record an original tune as a B-Side. But buckling under severe pressure from the record label, Marc Almond’s New England Digital Synclavier II faced a burnout.
To fulfil their contractual obligations, Soft Cell released an improvised version of Where Did Our Love Go, by The Supremes. Although single was a commercial hit, the mistake cost the band millions in songwriting royalties. Soft Cell has been backing up ever since.
A lot has changed in the years since broadsheet headlines were dominated by such devastating examples of clumsy musicians and lost genius. Be it a full record, or a single guitar lick recorded into Garageband late in the evening, much hassle and heartbreak have certainly been avoided through the correct application of file duplication.
“Martin handed Lennon a cut and paste version of Strawberry Fields Forever and reached Number 2 in the charts.”
The Beatles, Strawberry Fields and a Cut and Paste Job
For every sad tale, there are countless positive ones, too. A band renowned for their creative use of backing up were the Beatles. By 1966 they were experts in using external drives to their advantage and created one of the all-time legendary back-ups.
It occurred during a session for Sargent Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The Liverpudlians had already tracked over 45-minutes of tape before they became entangled and rendered entirely useless.John Lennon handed producer George Martin previously backed-up versions of the song and famously told Martin to “go deal with it, buddy.”
Despite being played at different tempos and in separate keys, Martin presented the band with a final, restored cut and paste job of Strawberry Fields Forever. The song went on to reach number 2 in the charts, missing out on the top spot to Engelbert Humperdinck.
“Band tensions reached breaking point and John Fogerty took home the Creedence communal hard drive.”
John Fogerty Takes Home the Hard Drive
But even the most durable of external devices are not immune the passion of a band’s internal power struggle. In the heat of studio politics, the hard drive often casts the final signature the winding-up order of a group.
In 1972, Creedence Clearwater Revival was the biggest band since the Beatles. Chief songwriter John Fogerty wrote, recorded and produced hit after glorious hit. But, despite their vast success, other members of the group had become disillusioned at Fogerty’s work ethic. A rift formed when they demanded a cooperative approach to future compositions and it went tits up from there.
The tension in the band finally reached breaking point and Fogertyleft, taking with him the communal hard drive. Creedence would never play together again and many potential hits remain safely stored away, unheard to this day.
In part two of A History of the Hard Drive in Music, we look at how Billy Corgan took backing up to the excess. We also discover how Fred Durst of Limp Bizkit influenced a generation of musicians to back up correctly.
I’m thrilled to announce I’ll be performing at Hatch in Sheffield on August 3. The Eagle-Eyed Cherries out there will notice the date of the show is actually tomorrow. You can blame my social media team for the late notice.
I’ll be performing with my mate as part of the classic Loic J Tuckey and Zebedee C Budworth line up. Sure, we’ll play a selection of our usual stripped-back blues-style tunes. But, in a bid to spice up your life, we’re bringing along some other musicians to help.
Let The Peace See The Pipe
This experimental team will hopefully see us combine the western-influenced songs we perform in public with the freeform jams we store in private. We call these the Peace Pipe sessions. We’re as excited as anyone to find out if we can pull it off.
Included in the performance will be an improvised rendition of our Santana Lube Ad jam.
To cut a long story short, we were a condom’s gearth away from featuring on a lubricant advert. Our brief was to sound like Santana. Unfortunately, we missed out. In the end, the sex company went with Santana.
Hatch, Sheffield – August 3
The show costs £5 to get in. But, you can bring your own refreshments. The event page is here and here.
Other performers at the show will be Alex Hunter and Bethan Robinson.
Bethan is a good friend of mine with a really great voice. She plays a lovely guitar and I’m convinced you’ll like her a lot.
Alex Hunter is equally as good. I’ve known him since being a young lad at school and it was Alex who initially taught me how to play the guitar. I hate to imagine what he thinks of my technique these days.
The Story of the Smashed Ibanez
One time, Alex smashed up my Ibanez. He’d gotten into throwing the guitar around his neck like the professional rock gods do and used my Ibanez GIO to practise. He practised on the lawn outside a pal’s before calling everyone down to show us his new move.
Then, it happened.
As planned, the guitar flew around his neck and spun around to his other side.
The strap came unstuck from the base of the body, unhooking itself from the strap button and flew through the air. Then, it slammed right into the heart of Paul’s mum’s stone flower raised bed.
The electronics were smashed. The body was desperately damaged after the heavy blow.