Sadistic Chicken

Pete & Rob talk about recording Sadistic Chicken Massacre

Despite having lived on the same street, having been in the same band(s), and having known each other for over 20 years, Rob & Pete have only managed to record about four tracks together.
Now, despite living 100 miles apart, they've managed to record an entire album.

Rob: What did you think you'd get out of this when I said we'd collaborate without ever being in the same room?
Pete: It wasn't until the first 3 tracks were done that I believed it would be finished, after those three tracks I thought "this needs to be finished because its good". It's interesting and fun, and we need to have that product at the end. I think it came out exceptionally well considering we did it virtually.
Rob: Choosing the power trio format really helped too, it stopped us from falling in to that trap of overdubbing forever and never finishing anything.
Last It Out
Pete: Fun, groovy, kick ass chorus. Sticks in your head.
Rob: I think it's the one that got us going. We listened to a few ideas before this but they didn't grab us for this project.
Pete: I hadn't played that style for over a decade.
Rob: It worked, and that made us think "we can do this". It didn't fit with solo stuff, so I used it to kick start SC.
Keep The Wolf From My Door
Pete: This has grown on me, I wasn't keen at first.
Rob: It's not really a bass player song, sorry.
Pete: I like the emptiness and fullness. There's not a lot happening and that's what makes it. They say its what you leave out that makes it.
Rob: This was an old song, 1995. It had to be stripped back to guitar, bass and drums, it would have had hammond and more guitars - big rock sound. So I had to work more on making the sound fill out rather than stick more instruments in gaps. I learned how to EQ there! And how to put weird effects on a bridge.
Corpse On The Beach
Pete: That's an old song that, 1995. It's how I imagined it when I wrote it, but I'm not a guitar player so I could never capture it. It's actually a simple song, more about the lyrics. It's a true story, about a corpse, on a beach, Brighton Beach in 1923 - they still don't know who it is. Though the song is a bit tongue in cheek.
Rob: "Find Out" was the emphasis bit in the lyrics - I don't think anything else has BV, but that bit wanted something to make it really stand out.
Is the PJ Benson version relased?
Pete: I really really do like it, love the baseline and the lyrics, and it's modern.
Rob: It's only a couple of years old, I did a demo on River EP (by Destruction Junkie), more synthy though. It started off as the bass riff.
Pete: You just have to put the other bits on top.
Rock Me
Pete: When I wrote it... well, I look back and think "how cheesy". Now I think, actually it's a good piss take. It's meant to be like that, not comedy - but knowing what it is. Possibly the first song I ever wrote, very early certainly.
Rob: When I was doing the chorus I was trying to get that Def Leppard crowd sound for the backing vocals.
Pete: Or Saxon.
Rob: Sheffield rock bands of the 80s, that's what I thought we we're going to be at the time.
Sadistic Chicken
Rob: We did this in the band (HowManyDevils) over a decade ago, Pete originally wanted it as a band name. I turned it down, but wrote the song because it was such a good phrase. It's on the HowManyDevils album too. When we got back together we needed a name, I suggested Pete's regular suggestion - he had suggested it every time we formed a band apart from this one. Later we decided it had the right sound and name for this band, so lets do it.
Modern Living Is Killing Me
Pete: It's become more punk, more attitude. And it's just as apt today as it was in '97.
Rob: I know I did the solo on the original, I think it was 1995.
Pete: So Tories both times.
I think Thora Hird used to do an advert where she was sat on this bed and you didn't have to move, it moved for you, that's where the adjustable bed stuff comes from. The TV was full of adverts for stuff for rich people that I couldn't get, I was on the dole then.
The aggression of the song suits the lyrics.
Red Dress
Pete: I think the contrast of the voices works.
Rob: It's your most lead part.
Pete: And I like the bassline, it's a grooving thing.
Rob: Well I had the riff, which the bassline is basically, for 15 years. Originally the lyrics were taking the piss out of someone I knew, so there weren't many. I had to fill out two more verses on the same theme, and make it a little less about the actual person.
How I Feel
Pete: This has the best production on the album, it's not my favourite song but I think it's the best produced. I don't know if it's the recording or the effects - but it sounds so radio friendly.
Rob: It's much slower than it's meant to be, because I kept effing the riff up at the proper speed. It was lacking a bit slowed down, so I went for heavier and fuller sounded - putting the power in to power trio. It's another old song, it had to be re-learnt and I didn't give myself enough time.
Pete: I remember it from earlier bands.
Rob: I think it's gone a little psychedelic.
Who Do You Talk To
Pete: It's one of the first songs I ever wrote and I hate the original, no-one else will ever hear the original. It's from about 1991.
Rob: I never heard this version.
Pete: It was originally written on a monophonic synth, some old Korg thing.
When I heard my lyrics with Rob's music it sent a shiver down my spine, I thought "this is something special now".
Rob: We'd already got 5-6 tracks down by then and were in the swing of things.
Pete: The words and the music gel.
Rob: I'd got the music for the verse, and I just tried it the opening lyrics of the different things that Pete sent. I had the verse chords and that was it, everything else followed from the lyrics and the music together.
All the tracks so far came in under 3 minutes, and the album wouldn't break 30 minutes, so we intended this track to be LONG. I looked for the lyrics that closest matched the theme we had going, a song of Pete's called Empty Room, and wrote the second half from them.
Pete: Originally it was about terminal illness and not a break up.
Rob: So it's more cheery now!
Pete: I love the bassline.
Rob: Because it wanted to be long I was thinking "long songs in rock means prog". So I tried to copy Heart of the Sunrise by Yes. Copy the feel that is, not the actual music.
Pete: I think it's your best vocal.
Rob: I didn't want it to fall down because of the vocal, and because we were using minimum instruments I couldn't hide behind anything. It took a few takes, but it works. I'm never happy with my vocal.
Bulky Jotter
Pete: Strange song lyrically, and finishes the album on a high. Who Do You Talk To would have been the wrong song to finish on.
Rob: I intended Who Do You Talk To to be the big finisher and the album had got to that point - finished, but I came up with another riff. It needed a name, and Bulky Jotter was the other name Pete kept throwing around with Sadistic Chicken whenever we tried to come up with band names. So I used that and thought "what do you actualy write about a bulky jotter? You don't, you write stuff in it, so I'm writing a song about writing things. Pete always used to just write about little bits of crap he'd found in the paper, so I'll make up lyrics that sound like little bits of crap from the paper".