As well as touring the band was also constantly writing and recording original songs. In the early days there were sessions at Mushroom studios in Clifton,owned by Dennis Mann, big band leader and lover of scrumpy! Dennis and the boys always adjourned to the Coronation Tap mid-
More songs were put to tape in Crescent studios in Bath with the band taking a bigger part in the production side of things. Glen Tommey was on hand again to help and also mixed the band at some live gigs in and around Bath. London based promoter Harvey Goldsmith came to see a performance at Moles club, quite an intimidating character being a a pretty large man and wearing the obligatory long black camel hair coat and cigar in hand. Another live sound engineer called Bruce also mixed the band in between touring with The Stranglers, Bruce became a regular member on the tour bus for a while.
It was a self produced 4 track demo which caused the first record company interest. Recorded in a makeshift studio in the utility room of co producer/engineer Mark Burns's house. Mark also mixed the band live as well as fronting his own band Voice of nature and later playing guitar for seminal Bristol punk band Vice Squad.The boys and these groups were currently being managed and put out on tour by Rainbow entertainments. After mailing a few tapes to record/distribution companies the lads were invited to Pinnacle Records head office in Orpington, Kent. It was a positive meeting but Pinnacle could only offer a distribution deal at the time so the lads declined, but left without any bridges burned. Meetings with other London production companies ensued but were still not what the boys were after; a bona fide record deal.
The lads later encamped to a basement studio in a rather rough part of Tiger Bay in southwales. With the band now in full control of production some great results were achieved in Cardiff and a batch of top quality recordings were once again on their way to London.
IRS records,owned by Miles Copeland brother of Stewart Copeland the Police drummer were soon on the phone.The meeting with their head of A&R (artists and repertoire) was hilarious,the 18 year oldish zoot suited exec' behind the big desk proceeded to make the lads comfy by seating them in big leather settee's and then playing their new tape to them at full volume from his then state of the art Hi-
After the very positive response to one particular track on their previous demo tape,the band decided to record an updated version of the song at Cave Studios in St Pauls,Bristol. This time the song was recorded on 24 track 2" tape through the Helios mixing desk previously owned by The Who!. Sound engineer Bill Ferrier twiddled the knobs and the whole project was overseen by Andy Allen who went on to work with Massive Attack and Portishead when he moved the studio to The Coach House in Clifton.
The lads ended up being almost resident at Cave, recording through the night after their drummer Gerry O'riordan had finished his daytime shift in the studio as tape op' and then engineer as he learned the ropes. After leaving the band in the late eighties Gerry became a freelance sound engineer and is currently working on the orchestral recordings for the new Dr Who series. Having this amount of free recording time allowed the band to accrue a substantial amount of recorded material which again would be winging its way to London.
Whilst working at Cave the boys were always meeting new and interesting folk, they sat in on a voice over session with Johnny Morris of Animal Magic fame one day, a lovely and very modest super star! Chaos UK and other West country punk bands were always in and out, all of whom looked pretty scary but were all perfectly nice chaps.
Quite often Charlie Jones would pop in with the loan of a keyboard for a few hours, he went on to play with Robert Plant, eventually married Plant's daughter and is now bass player for Goldfrapp. Also Neil Taylor, an old school friend of one of the band would call in, he went on to play for Tears for fears, Alison Moyet and has worked as Robbie Williams guitarist for quite a few years.
Our lads were also quite often obliged to play on other artists recordings as session musicians or singers. These included Robin Sellars (Rockin Robin),whose single 'Play that funky music' was a hit all over Europe, Kim Townsend (Polydor recording artist) and in a round about way,via Mike Price (songwriter); Eddie Murphy!, a huge film star at the time. One demo that was sessioned on and written by Mike Price went on to become a track included on the soundtrack album for Murphy's huge hit film 'The golden child'.
There was a lot of mutual 'back scratching' in those days so the session work always ended up 'free gratis',but it was a very useful part of the learning curve as the band honed their musical skills and eventually led to that elusive record deal!
As well as beavering away in the studio there were still regular gigs going on, and driving home from a riotous winter evening in somerset the lads had a very bizarre encounter. All wrapped up in winter woollies the boys were 'Rocking' their way along the A38. Just before they got to the right turn at the bottom of the hill that takes you to Cheddar a ghostly apparition appeared out of the winter mist in the distance. As they approached the somewhat dishevelled looking character the lads slowed the van down to take a closer look. They were quite shocked to discover it was Frankie Howerd stumbling along at the side of the road, resplendent in dressing gown, slippers and yes,the obligatory orange wig! He seemed somewhat rattled and scuttled off in to the distance at a fairly rapid pace.The lads were quite taken aback by the most unusual appearance by the comedian but continued on their way in disbelief with yet another after gig anecdote to tell from the colourful tapestry of a travelling Twerzels life!.
THE METEORIC RISE OF THE TWERZELS