Welcome back! Let’s continue…
Well, we eventually did what most bands tend to do, and that is ‘break up!’
Well that’s not entirely true; me and my mate the drummer were sacked. The guitarist’s said they wanted to “take a different direction” and my song was the sort of thing they wanted to do more of. So they changed the lyrics to my song and sacked me; ha, ha ,ha.
Funny, but at the time I didn’t really care. I knew there were better opportunities out there.
At that time there was a weekly music newspaper in the UK called the Melody Maker; it’s no longer published. It was the main competitor for the NME (New Musical Express), which you’re more likely to have heard of and is still published today.
The Melody Maker was good because it had a whole load of musician wanted ads and auditions advertised in the back pages. Vince Clarke of Depeche Mode and Yazoo fame put an ad for a singer in the Melody Maker, discovered Andy Bell and formed Erasure.
I was soon to meet Vince Clarke’s cousin and join his band.
Ploughing through my weekly copy of the Melody Maker I started going to singing auditions, lots of them. They were many and varied, and I sang in a whole lot of different places. Some you wouldn’t want to go back to!
This was before CD’s and MP3’s had been invented. If you wanted to have a backing track for your song you had to buy the sheet music and give it to the pianist at the audition; if they had one. I only had the sheet music to three songs; “Lately” by Stevie Wonder, “Even Now” by Barry Manilow and “Wonderful Life” by Black.
You’re probably getting the idea that I’m a bit of a balladeer at heart. You’d be right!
By this time I had written my second song. I say written, all I had was just the lyrics written on a piece of yellow paper and the melody in my head.
It was called “The Wide Open Spaces”. How did that song go now?
Look at me alone on the shelf,
Feeling right sorry for myself.
Staring at you ‘cross the room
Hope I get to meet you real soon.
We’ll meet in the wide open spaces,
Where I’ll show you what you mean to me…
It was a slushy number about a boy trying to pluck up the courage to ask a girl to dance.
Anyway, I wanted to get it transcribed into a piano score so I could audition with it. At this point in my musical journey I didn’t really know much about musical theory, chords and stuff. I could sing well and had good rhythm that was pretty much my skill set. I needed some help!
Step forward my drummer buddy who I discovered was also pretty good at tickling the old ivories. I went round his house, stood by his piano and sang him the song, while he did his best to produce a piano score.
Nothing wrong with that plan, surely…