Day 3. The most EPIC day.

Morning dawned very cold! Spotted the frost last night. The shower I had this morning was epic – yesterday I couldn’t shower because no hot water, but they fixed the boiler, and it was steamy and lovely. I took my time!

Breakfast – another full English, and gorgeous. I’ve been drinking the coffees here too, the machines are full bean jobs and they’re good! Much needed – I was slightly bleary, but in good form and feeling pretty good when I woke up – a little tired, but good!

The morning was a group session – great fun, playing bits and pieces in small ensembles to prep for when Derrick McKenzie turned up!!

I really love taking the time to listen to everybody!

Lunch was lovely – another pastie – cheese and onion – and delicious. In the afternoon we got more discussion time and playing in (I was constantly playing my bass unplugged, picking out things people were playing and trying to see what was happening)

Playing with Derrick was an absolute honour. I’ve got a recording, and there’s video – Jason’s wife recording so much stuff, and there’s more recordings to come. I managed to get the tone stuff between verse and chorus happening, but – and this is no lie – I was absolutely high on adrenalin in a way I haven’t been with a bass on in 30 years (I think). He is a lovely drummer, so smooth and those hiatus are to die for. I intended to try to play it more like the single, but I just PILED into the album version feel and he noticed – at the end he said – “is that the album version? The one by Mr X?” Referring to the story that the album is not Zender as he wanted to go on holiday, so Jay got someone else in to do it! From what Paul showed me, they don’t play it that way, so I guess I was a departure to the past for Derrick, which was awesome to hear.

He had literally just flow in from australia(!) but managed to sleep on the plane, so we fresh enough to play with that sort of professional musician stoicism and the most fantastic smile and laugh – once again, this band is composed of people who have seen so much, and come out the other side in great emotional shape. I joked with the guys I have a lift to – Stu from Aberdeen and Werner from Switzerland (luton and Heathrow ibis, respectively!) that they’d survived their PTSD and come out the right way.

Derrick enjoyed taking part in the stories of writing music, how Jay drives things and how their ideas will get slightly modulated – how Jay literally just sings little things at them and they work on interpreting it into something he recognises – Rob in particular said he reharmonises chords under notes Jay sings a lot until he says “that’s the one!” Which is fascinating. It’s like he needs input into everything – and as they put it, it means it’s his decisions and he wants it that way – to take the rough with the smooth, and you have to respect that strength of will. They also said more than once how they’d record several takes of ideas with different feels, and then in the morning he’d had a complete song, lyrics, arranged, after a night of working alongside an engineer on it. Amazing.

Lots of tales of Jay making his own way – a warrior with time served – and stories of record execs and their futile attempts to get him to do specific things (like choose specific tracks for first singles, etc)

I keep pinching myself – I played a song alongside Derrick McKenzie! Just amazing. I’ll attach videos and audio to this later. Right now, I need to get some sleep!