In my last blog I wrote about the writing and recording process of the album. But that was just one part of all that was going on regarding Tenek in 2010 and also 2011 which proved to be a pivotal year for the band.
The artwork and promo pics for the album started as early as March 2010. We’d been discussing with Shaun who we’d like to take the pictures for the artwork and I was very keen to use Ed Fielding who at the time was doing a lot of work for Gary Numan. We thought his pictures were superb but were concerned that he wouldn’t be interested and that we couldn’t afford him! We made contact and to our surprise he was keen to do the initial shoot and Shaun agreed to fund the session. Originally we had been intending to use an old asylum that Ed had used for several of the recent Numan sessions. We’d agreed a date and were then told that Gary needed to film a video for ‘The Fall’ and so our shoot was postponed. When we came to arrange a new date the venue had been closed down and was due for demolishing so we were back to square one. Ed then found a fantastic place in Leeds called ‘The Temple Works‘ which is a well known and historical building. So in March we went up to Leeds and spent a very cold day doing all our pics for the CD booklet. It has to be said that Ed did an amazing job and those pics still look great today.
As regards the album cover, Shaun came up with the concept and we let him do the design which is unusual for us as we usually liked to have a lot of input with these things. We weren’t even involved at the photo session for the cover as we weren’t needed! This avoided another cold day at ‘The Temple Works’ for us so we weren’t too upset! There was much sympathy for the poor model Amy who had to spend most of the day pretty much naked in a freezing basement with photographer and lighting crew! The idea was that the basic pictures would be given to the brilliant Bernard Ryan who did all the digital editing and retouching of all the pics associated with the album. I have to say, he did an incredible job on all of it and we will always be grateful to him. This particular album artwork did cause us some problems at the time as several people felt it was rather similar to another band’s recent album cover. Personally I didn’t see it but I could understand why they might have taken offense as there was a similarity in mood as there was with many bands around that time!
The thing about the artwork for this album is that it looked fantastic on a computer screen and that’s how we all first saw it. But when the CD’s arrived at HQ just before release I have to say that I was slightly disappointed with the front cover as it looked too dark and you couldn’t see as much of the detail as you could on a screen.. Still, I later got it printed onto a large canvas which now takes pride of place in our new kitchen!
The album wasn’t originally going to be called ‘On The Wire‘ actually. When we initially started writing for it, the working title was ‘Cell Division‘ which we both liked and it was the incumbent for a while. This later changed to ‘Challenge: Response‘ for a while and then once the ‘On The Wire’ track started to take shape we both felt that we finally had a clear winner and that we’d definitely made the right choice!
To launch the album it was decided to play a special launch party gig at a local venue in Brighton called ‘The Albert’ where we’d played several times before. Just looking at my records it seems that this was on Saturday 21st August which was 2 weeks before the official release date which seems odd? But it appears that we were actually on tour in Germany for the actual official release supporting our friends ‘IRIS‘ from the USA so that explains it. I’m pretty sure that we had CD’s of the album on sale at The Albert in August so you could actually buy it well in advance. Anybody who attended that gig will remember it for the incredible heat inside, we were lucky onstage as we had two huge fans pointing at us! But as soon as the last notes of our set rang out, everybody ran outside to get some fresh air! It was sold out well in advance and possibly there were a few extra tickets sold! We had to come through the crowd to get to the stage and it took several minutes as it was so packed, our intro music almost ran out before we reached our equipment. It really was a fantastic night and a great way to launch the album, we also had my brother Micky guest for us on bass guitar for a few numbers which was really good fun. Many people travelled a long way to see us and we really appreciated it!
A few people may remember that after the ‘On The Wire‘ was released, there was talk of a remix album entitled ‘Re-Wired‘ which was going to be Shaun’s brainchild. We were all very keen to see this happen as it was felt that it would enable us to have a bit more time to work on the third album. It was also the perfect material to remix and extend sections etc much like the ‘Designed For Dancing‘ version of ‘Blinded By You‘ which was the blueprint for ‘Re-Wired‘. So Geoff spent a long time preparing all the audio stems in advance for the start of the work. Several weeks later we received a phone call from Shaun saying that he’d lost interest in doing the remix album and that it now wasn’t going to happen.
Understandably we were both upset about this and I felt particularly sorry for Geoff as he’d spent ages in the studio doing the preparation. It was about this time that we started to question our relationship with Shaun and the label and whether we even wanted to continue working with Toffeetones. Originally we’d started working with Matt Gunn in 2008 but he’d left the label by the time ‘On The Wire’ was released so things were different to say the least. There was definitely no doubting Shaun’s musical and artwork talents but at times things could get quite fractious so we decided that we would part company in 2011 although I can’t remember exactly when? Some years later, we decided that we wanted our back catalogue to revert to us from Toffeetones which took quite a while to achieve. Eventually it did get sorted but Shaun has requested that we don’t use any of his remixes or original artwork so that’s why we’ve had to create new versions for these re-releases. We must give a huge thanks as always to the wonderful Cheri Freund who has done a great job in bringing new life to the artwork whilst retaining a strong nod to the originals. We are also going to re-release a few more singles and EP’s in the coming year so keep am eye out for those.
Anyway, thanks for taking the time to read this. I might even write another one in the not too distant future!
Pete – 26th April, 2019
*This album is now available in DIGITAL format ONLY via our BandCamp page or other digital stores!