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Steve Watts
93 posts
Reg: 11/11-10
Posted: 2011-07-11 05:21   » Website
Hello - Steve Watts here...

Harpsichords, by their very nature, are not very aggressive instruments. Although more distant relatives to the guitar than the piano (the strings are plucked rather than hit), they have about as much in common with Jimi Hendrix as Andrex Toilet Tissue has with Semtex.

I guess you could blame Mal for "Heart Of Our Time". He went ahead and did something really daft, like dying, and then expected me to take up the reigns as Demon co-composer with Dave Hill. Not an easy pair of boots to fill, especially at the tender young age of 20.

I'd been writing my own music for a few years prior to joining Demon. A lot of it was much heavier and more progressive (you'll hear some of it re-worked for the new DDR album) but (like me) my material never really seemed to fit this band and I appear to have spent most of my time whilst working on "Heart Of Our Time", seemingly setting out to prove it whilst at the same time, trying to prove myself a worthy successor to Mal. No pressure then.

Since "British Standard Approved" in fact, I had had aspirations for the band to change its name and attempt to become the next Pink Floyd - hey, I was young and ambitious...why not? but quite how I expected our motley crew of geeks, reprobates and drop- outs from Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire to do this was anyone's guess... but that was my goal.

In many respects that particular "Adolescent Fantasy" is still alive and kicking. Dave also went out of his way to convince me it was also his, by constantly referring to Floyd albums throughout the creation of our own ("this is going to be our "Dark Side Of The Moon"" etc.); and constantly quoted them as an excuse to keep the name "Demon" (I always heavily suspected he preferred to jump out of coffins covered in latex). The path to enlightenment is indeed littered with the corpses of gullibility.

Ah nostalgia! It's a bittersweet mistress. Give people what they want and they wallow in it forever...throw a spanner in the works (or a harpsichord in the mix) and you fuck-up the dials on the time machine! Heavy Metal Heather must have been wetting her knickers in anticipation of slagging this one off.

"Heart Of Our Time" is a sadly maligned album. It's always described as "the weakest" or "the one in between where we were trying to see if we could continue as a band". On initial listens it has no cohesive whole, and rather presents itself as an odd collection of songs and experiments. The pop rock of Dave's catchy title track rubs shoulders with political commentary and personal introspection ("Crossfire" and "Genius?"), ambient soundscapes and vocal sampling (John Waterhouse's then girlfriend Joy Mitchel on "Expressing The Heart"), driving hard - rock ("Walk In Your Own Light" and "High Climber"), a piano-ballad; epic-synth soundtrack, and a waltz with that harpsichord.

For me, the last three tracks of the album perhaps some it up best; I once saw "Heart" described as an optimistically "up" album. I wouldn't describe it like that at all - listening to it today, it sounds dark, melancholic and lost...even the "up" bits: like someone has decided to go searching for something in the dark. "Grown Ups", "Summit" and "One Small Step" epitomise this journey perfectly.

Originally titled "In The Hands Of The Grown Ups" (or "Grown-Up" on some prints of the album), "Grown Ups" sounds like a lullaby playing in a Grimm's Fairy Tale. The children talking during the introduction are Dave's, recorded on a tape deck in his living room (as is the South African news footage at the end of "Expressing The Heart").

The song revolves around a programmed music box motif, then Piano, which was I think recorded in one take on Amazons Steinway Grand, complete with squeaky stool. The strange echoe'y dropout at the end of the middle section is a rather botched attempt to cover-up a particularly loud squeak that would have otherwise ruined the take. Mike, myself, and Johnny Waterhouse (who's guitar was also completely out of tune with the piano), wanted to do it again; but lack of time (i.e. money) won out. Another, not-too convincing, Pink Floyd analogy was reeled out by Dave, as he tried to convince us that "That's what THEY would have done!"

The song is however, heavily influenced by Pink Floyd, particularly "The Final Cut" album and Dave Gilmour's song "From Out Of The Blue" from his second solo release; the giveaway being the sudden big aggressive band entry in the last verse to emphasise the emotional shift in the lyrics.

It's also the first time (and last), that I ever wrote a song around a complete set of Dave's finished lyrics.

My favourite bit is "Did anyone hear who fired the first shot?" and the powerful sudden drop to the next line:

"Who licked the first wound was the last one to drop"

Wonderful lyrics. Although I had no full idea what they were about at the time, we did discuss an idea to make a promotional video that included children/lovers in some post-apocalyptic world. Listening to it today I think its simple premise is that we as adults are simple, eternal children still playing with toy-guns in a big playground... we simply need to evolve and grow-up. It's one of Dave's best lyrical pieces and certainly one of his best vocal performances, perfectly highlighting his range of styles. I still love the way it suddenly ends, and cross fades into the sound effects of "Summit".

"Summit" was a showcase for my evolving synthesizer productions. It's unashamedly influenced by Japanese synth-maestro Kitaro and was originally intended as part of a suite of instrumentals for my, later to be aborted, post-Demon album "Words Are Often Almost Useless". "Summit" opens with the main theme from "Expressing The Heart", that was itself inspired by the opening of a weird 1980's children?s TV program called "Chocky's Children", based on the Sci-Fi novel by John Wyndham.

(see http://www.youtube.com/user/grassdabbers?feature=mhee)

It's a sad and mournful piece that works well but seems strangely out of place here. It caused much controversy (and hilarity) with certain former band members. Arguments ensued over the volume level of the big choir that kicks in at the end: "what do you want to do...scare the shit out of people?" fumed an incredulous John Wright...err - well yes. Also over- hearing one of my deeply personal "Words" pieces being sarcastically described as sounding like "An Anniversary Waltz" was not appealing, so to get my own back, I enlisted programmer extraordinaire [ ** Hacked **] to embed a secret message in computer code.

Even this was influenced by Pink Floyd: it's a version of the backwards message in "Empty Spaces" from "The Wall" and was originally intended to be embedded in the intro to "Genius?" for which "Summit" was also intended to be part of. I had to fight like mad to get the code included at all (though admittedly I kept my real motives and the real secret message behind the "Behind It All There's So Much More" opening screen well hidden).

Ironically, when it was eventually found and the message was cracked, my intended "victim" apparently, really enjoyed the attention.

Sorry Chris.

Still...I think it worked well as a little bit of "theatre", and I was really pleased that [** Hacked **] eventually got the credit he deserved (albeit a year late and on the wrong album). It's certainly gained a great deal of attention from both press and computer hackers over the years, and as far as I'm aware (although the band appear to be completely ignorant of this), we were the first band ever, to include a computer program embedded in an album... Doh! It's "Genius?" innit?!

So...back to Harpsichords.

"One Small Step", originally called "Pictures", developed from my initial opening keyboard theme. It was never really intended for Demon at all, we both just liked it. It's quite a unique song in many respects and as with the previous two tracks, caused quite a bit of controversy.

1) Its in 3/4 and sounds like we're all dancing around a Maypole. Not
very Heavy Metal, unless you can visualise yourself chugging away at
several pints of Snake Bite whilst watching it. It also has weird
phrasing. Dave's beautiful "Standing alone at the end with the Sun"
section, suddenly shifts into 12/4 time.

2) It has romantic violins that sweep through the second chorus, playing
the "Grown-Ups" music-box motif. The first time that Demon really
used this style of orchestration to full effect. There's an awful mistake
while I'm playing this towards the end that somehow got left in and
still makes me cringe.

3) It has that bloody Harpsichord (which for some reason also makes a
guest appearance in the middle section of "Crossfire") and very little
guitar (apart from "crash-chords" at the end and some fantastic Mike
Oldfield inspired acoustic playing from John). We had one of our
famous "Spinal Tap" arguments over one chord he had to play that he
insisted wasn't "IN THE RIGHT SCALE!!" I do though, vehemently still
agree with him about the quality of the album cover!

I absolutely love it when the band comes finally crashing in; it reminds me of that final scene in "The Wicker Man"; except this one has naked hairy bikers in it. Sorry...I meant to edit that bit out...

...where's that butt-plug?...

...The last three songs of "Heart Of Our Time" throw a spanner in the spokes of the Demon cannon as certain songs from "Spaced Out Monkey" would do almost two decades later. Interestingly (and you can also include BSA in this), neither were particuarly popular.

Oh well ... you wallow in your ever-decreasing mire of nostalgia or you fuck with the formula and see what happens. I prefer the latter.

It's supposed to be "Progressive"...isn't it?

"Heart Of Our Time" is a portrait of what happens when two creative people are "standing in the shadow at the opening night" and highlights the problems that happen when two horses attempt to drag the same cart in different directions; issues that would escalate during the writing and recording of "Taking The World By Storm" and my very least favourite Demon album "Breakout". "Heart" does it's best to be "up", but it has running through it, an underlying melancholy that totally subdues it and along with it's sometimes lack-luster production, refuses to allow it to shine.

A bit of a depressed "Billy Smart's Circus" that's overdone the Prozac.

In my opinion - a bit of a lost classic.


I've uploaded "Grown Ups; Summit and One Small Step" to You Tube at:

http://www.youtube.com/user/TheDemonolaters?feature=mhee

I'll be including original Demon demos; tour photographs; music scores; lyrics; and other memorabilia in the future Demon Archive Room accessible only via the DDR.com - Central Control Panel.

As ever...enjoy.

Steve Watts 11 : 07 : 2011

Next Transmission: 11 : 08 : 2011


P.S: Sorry to overdo the analogies in this one; but whilst in danger of over-egging the point, I'll leave you with this last image:

Over in the left corner: Mozart on Harpsichord.

Over on the right: Jimi Hendrix on guitar.

Round One.

(c) Steve Watts 2011
[Edited 2011-11-11 23:01]

DemonDudesRevenge
105 posts
Reg: 11/9-10
Posted: 2011-07-11 07:53
...

Giles
Cheshire
746 posts
Reg: 5/5-06
Posted: 2011-07-11 09:59
Nice one Steve! As ever, well written and insightful.

What I find somewhat rather confusing, is why a band clearly and successfully entering the waters of progressive rock with 'The Plague' and 'BSA' recruit a guy who's style and material are clearly of this ilk and proceed to suppress that somewhat. If you listen to Steve Watt's work (and I mean listen), for me, it lends itself perfectly for the direction that Demon appeared to be successfully going. I personally think, and I mean this, that Demon could, at that point, have become neo-progressive giants. They could easily have been to Floyd, what Marillion were to Genesis.

With respect to the name of the band (Demon), I think this has ALWAYS been a 'sticking point' with certain individuals. Whilst I don't personally subscribe to the view that a band name is of any real significance whatsoever, I DO think that if you are entering a somewhat different genre then the name suggesting something else entirely can be an issue, only in the sense of gaining a new audience. It shouldn't matter, I mean, in the late 60's everybody expected a blonde folk singer when they saw the name 'Alice Cooper' on the bill, but with time it mattered not one jot. BUT, 'Demon' strongly suggests a certain genre of rock and cannot have been particularly helpful when the band suddenly started putting out socially and politically aware lyrics with melodic and progressive hard rock music. My personal belief is that if the band were signed to a major label with 'Have a cigar' type management, they may have been forced to change their name.

I may be 'jumping the gun' here, and may be should wait for Steve's progressing blog, but by the time they got to 'Taking the world by storm', I just wonder if Steve Watts had reached a kind of compromise in his mind, whereby symphonic rock/metal would be the winning 'formula' and direction for Demon!?? A style that I personally favoured myself to a good degree, but that's neither here nor there really.
[Edited 2011-07-11 09:59]
Dave-the-Monk
6 posts
Reg: 7/7-11
Posted: 2011-07-11 14:27
Hacked.
[Edited 2011-11-11 22:44]

DemonDudesRevenge
105 posts
Reg: 11/9-10
Posted: 2011-08-11 21:45
...

DemonDudesRevenge
105 posts
Reg: 11/9-10
Posted: 2011-08-11 22:04
...

Demon:Dudes Revenge
EARTH
70 posts
Reg: 11/11-11
Posted: 2011-11-11 20:59   » Website   » Email
...

Steve Watts 2001
134 posts
Reg: 5/12-11
Posted: 2012-08-18 00:49   » Email
...

monkey
Stoke On Trent
365 posts
Reg: 18/2-06
Posted: 2012-08-18 12:20   » Email
isn?t your album selling very well? Sad
[Edited 2012-08-18 12:41]

GOUDG
Kidsgrove Stoke On Trent Staffordshire England
339 posts
Age: 54 years
Reg: 8/5-06
Posted: 2012-08-18 12:30   » Email
No offence steven but I think we all know by now that you have your own web page and an album released this constant spamming is annoying to say the least. My own opinion btw and not meant to be offensive
[Edited 2012-08-18 13:19]
LasseC
Norrköping, Sverige
7 posts
Reg: 20/8-12
Posted: 2012-08-20 11:22
Giles wrote:
Nice one Steve! As ever, well written and insightful.

I personally think, and I mean this, that Demon could, at that point, have become neo-progressive giants. They could easily have been to Floyd, what Marillion were to Genesis.



Hey, this is what I always have thought, too! To me, albums such as Breakout and Taking the World by Storm are great, but I've always wondered what would have happened if Demon had continued more in the direction they took with The Plague, BSA and Heart of our Time...

Steve Watts 2001
134 posts
Reg: 5/12-11
Posted: 2012-08-20 15:50   » Email
monkey wrote:
isn?t your album selling very well? Sad


More insults Mike? You certainly do have a way with people don't you?

Actually it's doing rather well thank you. Is my Demon back catalog still doing well...great! Look forward to seeing the info relating to that once you finally post me your contact address.

Speak soon Cool

Steve Watts 2001
134 posts
Reg: 5/12-11
Posted: 2012-08-20 15:59   » Email
GOUDG wrote:
No offence steven but I think we all know by now that you have your own web page and an album released this constant spamming is annoying to say the least. My own opinion btw and not meant to be offensive


Hello Kevin.

Thank you for your post and for finally contacting me personally. I think as I have explained in many past posts (that appear to have to remind people constantly) that a great majority of the Demon music to which you and others constantly refer to as being "fans of" was co-written, or written by myself.

As long as you and others involved in the exploitation of my music continue to do so on this site, then I feel that I have the right (including the full copyright...sorry about the pun!), to do exactly the same.

Also, I think that there are many Demon fans out there who are enjoying my blogs and the DDR Project, regardless of the fact that they do not belong to some "Demon Elite", who would clearly sleep better at night if I simply disappeared.

Sorry to be annoying...but thank you for your interest.

Steve Watts 20: 08: 12


"Hard to explain to someone who has no clue. Or doesn't believe you. It's a daily struggle being in pain or feeling sick on the inside while you look fine on the outside...Never judge what you don't understand."
[Edited 2012-08-20 16:15]

Giles
Cheshire
746 posts
Reg: 5/5-06
Posted: 2012-08-20 16:09
GOUDG wrote: My own opinion btw and not meant to be offensive


Wow, I am never spared such politeness - I wonder why? Sad

Steve Watts 2001 wrote: More insults Mike? You certainly do have a way with people don't you?


Wow, my sorry-ass post would be out of the door for that one! Laughing
[Edited 2012-08-20 16:10]

GOUDG
Kidsgrove Stoke On Trent Staffordshire England
339 posts
Age: 54 years
Reg: 8/5-06
Posted: 2012-08-20 17:21   » Email
Giles its Your constant negativity towards Demon members and to Mike try being positive as you were in your last 2 posts before this one it will earn you some respect negativity breeds negativity,my negative respones to you were retaliatory responses to your not so good comments.

Also in reply to your polite response steven my problem with you is your constant refering to matters that should be kept private between yourself and those you have issues with speaking for myself I ( I cannot claim to speak for others they have thier own thoughts on this)do not need to hear those things they should be kept private and not aired on here.

My negative responses to you were as with giles in retaliation for negativity towards Mike and Dave Most if not all Genuine Demon fans consider Dave,Mike and Co to be friends as we have all been treated in that manner when we go to Demon gigs, as such I will defend them when they are being belittled if that puts me in your bad books so be it. Very Happy
[Edited 2012-08-20 17:23]
LasseC
Norrköping, Sverige
7 posts
Reg: 20/8-12
Posted: 2012-08-20 21:40
Whoa, feels like I just stepped right into something... Well, I've been into enough bands myself through the years to know that nothing is ever always smooth and simple .)

But I'll be sure to check out some of Steve Watts music (apart from the fantastic BSA and the other albums he co-wrote).

Again, thanks to everyone who's been involved in making Demons music what it is!
[Edited 2012-08-20 21:42]

Giles
Cheshire
746 posts
Reg: 5/5-06
Posted: 2012-08-21 08:44
Giles its Your constant negativity towards Demon members and to Mike try being positive as you were in your last 2 posts before this one it will earn you some respect negativity breeds negativity,my negative respones to you were retaliatory responses to your not so good comments.


I think you will find that my posts are honest, personal, fair and constructive. They are only 'negative' when they don't suit you and are not in the spirit of slapping each other on the back and "bigging up" one another.

Aside from that, how are Steve's posts not then deemed to be of similar 'negativity'? How come I am not afforded such respect and politeness? It was me that drove well out of my way to take you home late one night.

I will defend them when they are being belittled


Without ever considering truth, reason, right or/and wrong? Hmmm..
[Edited 2012-08-21 09:32]
NP: The Marketing Man (demo) - Giles

Steve Watts 2001
134 posts
Reg: 5/12-11
Posted: 2012-10-20 01:33   » Email
...
Saleck
Huddersfield, UK
58 posts
Age: 31 years
Reg: 22/3-12
Posted: 2012-10-21 05:59   » Website
where are the damn moderators? Other forums on the net wouldn't put up with this shit.

Necroing 2 month old threads, shameless self-promotion, petty arguments. I'm gettin mighty sick of this crap.

monkey
Stoke On Trent
365 posts
Reg: 18/2-06
Posted: 2012-10-21 10:59   » Email
Hello Saleck, Don't worry dial a curry, this stuff is people just airing their feelings please don't be put off! DEMON need your support and I thank you for coming on this site and participating. Monkey

Steve Watts 2001
134 posts
Reg: 5/12-11
Posted: 2012-10-22 14:11   » Email
monkey wrote: Don't worry dial a curry,


Four Poppadoms with Mango Chutney, Lime Pickle and yogurt raita please!

Oh...

and some of that red-died onion stuff! followed by...

Chicken Balti; Mixed Vegetable Madras; Nan Bread and four pints of Cobra Lager?

Smashing!

Very Happy
[Edited 2012-10-22 14:12]
rdd
11 posts
Reg: 4/4-12
Posted: 2012-10-24 17:47
Would Sir like a wafer-thin mint?

Go on, you know you want one...
[Edited 2012-10-24 17:50]
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