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Demon forum / THE SECOND STAGE - PART 3: A GNASHING OF EGO'S TEETH
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Steve Watts 2001
134 posts
Reg: 5/12-11
Posted: 2012-04-11 22:25   » Email
Hello - Steve Watts here...

You know...I really can't remember a great deal about "Breakout"; for one reason or another, those years are a real blank, and of course, because I can't remember much about it, I can't remember why I can't remember it, which is a real bind - especially if you're trying to write about it.

Secondly, it's a problem writing about it because the one thing I do remember is that this, in my opinion, wasn't really a Demon album (at least not in any democratic sense of the notion of the word "band") - it was a Dave Hill solo album.

Now there are (again I my opinion) perhaps two main reasons why this is so:

1) I think after both "British Standard Approved" and "Heart Of Our Time", Dave (for reasons of his own and to perhaps 'protect' Demon), thought he needed to take over the writing reigns and re-direct the band back towards its more heavy metal roots (whilst I struggled to retain a good bulk of Progressive Rock sensibilities), clearly for both commercial reasons as well as to keep the original fans on side.

2) Secondly I think, and perhaps more importantly, there was a conflict going on: both a conflict of interests and a conflict of egos. It was partly due to these conflicts that I would inevitably end up leaving the band, and the ironically titled "Breakout" was the beginning of that process.

I think after "Heart Of Our Time" I was a bit drained creatively speaking and it was a good while before I presented my musical ideas to Dave for a new album - also I think, Dave had an agenda of his own pretty much set out: he was the 'leader' after all wasn't he? and I have to admit to not being demonstrative enough (i.e.: "confident enough") to really take on the challenge of the next Demon album. Also, I think my ideas at the time were simply not what Dave wanted - they didn't fit in with what I already perceived to be, a pre-ordained idea (of Dave's) of what the next Demon album "should" sound like.

It appeared that Dave had a pretty much solid concept around which to base the songs for the album (although again ironically, I don't think many hard rockers out there would have seen the connection (or indeed appreciated it) between themselves; their genre...and Peter Pan).

Add to this, Dave's dogged insistence to take whatever negative crap the critics threw at us to heart, and well...that was at least as I remember, the basis for "Breakout". It was also the basis for what I would later perceive to be Dave's first attempt at going solo (at least as writing for the band was concerned).

Not convinced? Consider this. In 1988, we went into the studio to record a new single called "Tonight (The Hero Is Back)". Again, this was pretty much a Dave Hill solo effort and although I played a hand in arranging it, my part was reduced to simply supplying rather mundane keyboard pads. I thought at the time, that the track was bloody awful and certainly didn't represent the high quality that I both wanted and had come to expect of the band...but there you go...

...I kept my gob shut, rolled another joint, and just got on with the job*

After being accused of "not coming up with anything" for the next project, I felt guilty enough. In retrospect, my guilt was of course largely unfounded; I had plenty of new material - I just wanted to produce a much different Demon album than Dave Hill did.

*(Incidentally, interested Demon fans may note that "Tonight" is the only Demon song from "Heart Of Our Time" to and including "Hold On To The Dream", NOT to have my name associated with it from the point of copyright: it simply states (Hill). It's also interesting to note, that on the CD 2001 re-release of "Breakout" (again another series of releases in which it appears my input and consideration was as then (and still appears to be) of no import)...my name has miraculously appeared! Hoorah!

More on Copyright soon...

Anyway...ably supported by the newly appointed, Sergeant Johnny Waterhouse and the rest of the (albeit internally warring factions of Demon's elder statesmen), Dave's assertion for supreme ruler-ship over Demon had begun...and so had my journey through the long, dark, back-stage corridors in search of the EXIT sign.

Hmmm- good idea for a concept album that...

...lets get back to "Breakout"...

It is quite true that "Breakout" started life as a concept album and yes...Peter Pan played a large part in it. Its original working title was "Standing In The Shadow" and looking back over my files and notes, the running order of the album was very different to what you have now, with the track "Standing In The Shadow" opening Side 1 and "Through These Eyes" inevitably (and fittingly) ending Side 2- the whole album looking something like this (with original titles):

SIDE 1:

1) Standing In The Shadow
2) Don't Look Back (Breakout)
3) Hurricane
4) Life On The Wire
5) England's Glory

SIDE 2:

1) Living In The Shadow
2) Get Away (P.M. For a Day) (The Big Chance)
3) Straight Out Of Hollywood
4) Stealing The Thunder (Finale - The Dude Rides Out)
5) Through These Eyes

The later released "Outro" sound-scape on the 2001 CD re-issue was actually the "Intro" I composed for "Standing In The Shadow" and contained a backwards message:

"There is only one day in a lifetime...this day will begin and end...and in between...a lifetime."

I scripting out a story- board for the album, based on Dave's lyrics and conceptual ideas and I even went as far to suggest that I resurrect my artistic talents and design the album cover and typography: (for anyone thinking that this was an ego-trip too far on my part, the cover was to be based on a photograph of Dave's screaming face, belting out a high note from a live gig. A booklet was to be included in the gate-fold sleeve that would portray various scenes from the albums lyrics, which were part of a performance that takes place in an old abandoned theater).

The "Finale" (with Dave's tellingly and sarcastically re-titling of the track to "Stealing The Thunder - The Dude Rides Out" as a dig at my burgeoning ego/confidence/defiance), was intended to be a wrap-a-round instrumental that joined "Standing In The Shadow" to "Through These Eyes", serving to contain many of the themes and motifs that would re-occur throughout the album.

This was also an opportunity to experiment with orchestration that would later take form on "Taking The World By Storm", the first tentative experiments being on both "Life On The Wire" and "England's Glory".

There are I think many good moments on "Breakout" and these two tracks are two of my personal favourites, with "England's Glory" more so, for the fond memories that I still have attached to it.

All in all, I think "England's Glory" came out terribly badly. I really liked our rough original ideas for the song. Dave's late '70's early '80's Punk approach for the verses worked really well, although I thought the chorus's less successful. Great lyrics as well, although I could never decide if they were being sardonic or were in fact acting as a tribute.

I remember really looking forward to recording the middle section and following on from Dave's "All the Hooray Henry's..." section, I came up with the bombastic, dance around the Maypole middle instrumental, which if it had been arranged and orchestrated correctly, could have sounded brilliant and lifted the track to a different level. Instead it ended up being sadly overlooked, and instead, had a terrible guitar line superimposed over it which made it sound rather cheap and nasty and somewhat "Spinal Tap".

My fondest memory of this song was of ex-Demon Bassist Andy Dale's unashamedly leering face when we recorded my old (mainly girls) school choir at "Thistley- Hough High School" in Penkhull, Stoke-on-Trent.

Andy bought along his trusty 4-track cassette recorder and Mic, and we recorded both Alan Chappel on piano (my old O-Level music teacher) and the school (mainly girls) choir, singing Blake's "Jerusalem" (my old school anthem) in two takes, amid a flurry of girlish giggling and whisperings, and fluttering's of eyebrows... and that was just Andy.

I held my head in (rather embarrassed) seriousness at the 'gravity' of the situation. Mr Alan Chappel was not a teacher to be trifled with and I could still feel the pain of that cane whacking down on my hands all those years ago, (Thistley-Hough was a seriously tough school back then, and I had to blag both Alan Chappel and the then head-master to allow us to record the choir in the first place)...

...imagine trying to do that now? We'd have both been arrested at the gates, although I sure Andy was much more concerned about the arresting nature of some of the more, ahem, "mature" girls in the chorus - as they also, appeared to be about him.

I ended up being so embarrassed at the time (and later), about what Mr Chappel might think about the final track (and even about the fact that I was in a rock-band called "Demon") that to my shame, neither he nor anyone else attached to the school ever got to hear the final result.

"Life On The Wire" on the other hand couldn't be more different, and it still appears to be a perennial favourite amongst Demon fans. I don't have any great memories with regards to recording this particular track, regardless of the fact I always thought it one of the albums strongest songs. My job on this was mainly to create the intro, and to act as arranger and creator of the sound-scapes and orchestration (which I thought were again marred by an extravagance of often irritating guitar noodling). It does contain however one of Demon's very best guitar riffs.

Similar to "Hurricane", this song was to have sound effects opening it that conveyed an outdoor scene of general squalor (a train rumbling past; fire crackling; a bottle smashing...that sort of thing) to complement Dave's often, sordid lyrical vision.

"The smell of Meth's runs high
Across the stinking wastes
Is this any place to die?"

For some reason long forgotten, I also wanted to put the sound of an army marching through it, with trumpets; penny whistles and drums playing in the background (the drums still remain in the middle instrumental section) - this would have to wait to be fully realised (probably wisely) until the next album and "Remembrance Day".

You can almost feel the cloying tension in this track, and whereas other songs should have ended up on the cutting room floor, or at least have been re-worked, this one is seriously strong and powerful.

Unfortunately, as with a lot of the other songs from "Breakout", the albums concept broke down and was eventually abandoned, and so too did any semblance of cohesiveness. I really don't think we were working together as a band, we were all far too busy, struggling to be heard as individuals.

It's not that I intrinsically dislike "Breakout", there are some good tracks on the album and the CD Re-Master certainly livens up the original rather cold, digital mixes. It's just that I think this album could have been so much more than the rather mixed affair that it ended up being.

Had Dave had the confidence to stick to his guns regarding the conceptual nature of the album and eased up with the dictatorial approach, I think we could have created between us all, a real classic.

I'm sure also, that it would have helped if I'd have put down my "drug of choice" once in a while; got back on the rails, and taken my responsibilities within the band much more seriously...and stood up to Dave.

Ah! and they say youth is wasted on the young.

"....Life on The Wire...how I love to be up there..." *


I've uploaded the original vinyl recordings of both Life On The Wire and England's Glory to YouTube at:

http://www.youtube.com/user/TheDemonolaters/featured

As ever...enjoy!

Steve Watts 11: 04: 2012


* Life On The Wire (2nd page. Side 2)

Set changes again. This time there is a camp-fire providing the only light. Around this sit a handful of drunks and junkies. One lies against an upturned bin clutching an old battered trumpet. On his coat are pinned various medals. On the screen now {projected behind the stage} is the huge face of a stone angel looking down onto the scene below.

A low ominous note fills the silence.

(from original story-board concept for "Breakout" (1987))


Next Transmission: 11: 05: 2012
[Edited 2012-05-14 23:18]

Steve Watts 2001
134 posts
Reg: 5/12-11
Posted: 2012-04-11 23:26   » Email
Giles wrote:

I think this, from Free Thyself by Edward Bach helps illustrate the point. It's a sick society folks.



Very nice Giles... a profound and beautifully written observation.

Sorry that its been a while - but I've been thinking of how best to respond to some of the observations and comments made on this site...

I think in by way of response, you and perhaps others would be interested in this. I think that following on from some of the points raised in our last interview, this guy can describe my thoughts on creativity far more eloquently...

"The Psychology of Creativity - Redeeming our inner Demons" -
an interview with Stephen A. Diamond, Ph.D. by Douglas Eby

"A clinical and forensic psychologist, Dr. Stephen Diamond works with many talented individuals committed to becoming more creative. "Creativity," he states, " is one of humankind's healthiest inclinations, one of our greatest attributes."

As he explains in his book, "Anger, Madness, and the Daimonic: The Psychological Genesis of Violence, Evil, and Creativity," our impulse to be creative "can be understood to some degree as the subjective struggle to give form, structure and constructive expression to inner and outer chaos and conflict.

"It can also be one of the most dynamic methods of meeting and redeeming one's devils and demons."

Anger, he asserts, is one of the most troubling emotions for psychotherapy patients in general. Yet, there is, Diamond says, a "very strong correlation between anger, rage and creativity, one which most people are not aware of. Most of us tend to view anger or rage negatively, associating it almost exclusively with destructiveness and violence. Certainly this correlation exists. But anger can also motivate constructive and creative behaviour."

In his brief foreword to Diamond's book, psychologist Rollo May introduces and defines the classic Greek conception of the "daimonic" or darker side of our being, noting that "the daimonic (unlike the demonic, which is merely destructive) is as much concerned with creativity as with negative reactions.

A special characteristic of the daimonic model is that it considers both creativity on one side, and anger and rage on the other side, as coming from the same source. That is, constructiveness and destructiveness have the same source in human personality. The source is simply human potential."

Diamond holds that creativity may be a powerful and often dark endeavour:

"The more conflict, the more rage, the more anxiety there is, the more the inner necessity to create. We must also bear in mind that gifted individuals, those with a genius (incidentally, genius was the Latin word for daimon, the basis of the daimonic concept) for certain things, feel this inner necessity even more intensely, and in some respects experience and give voice not only to their own demons but the collective daimonic as well."

You can read the rest of this fascinating interview at:

http://talentdevelop.com/interviews/psychcreat.html


"IT'S SUPPOSED TO BE ABOUT DEMON" - A STATEMENT

I have always found it deeply hurtful that my contribution and name has been so dutifully ignored regarding Demon over the last twenty years; and I have to admit my own guilt and blame for allowing this to happen.

To suggest that my name (or any other members for that matter) and departure from the band, has nothing to do with Demon, suggests the greatest of denial and disassociation, and only serves to amplify the self-prescribed ignorance of those individuals who would both deny the truth and/or exploit the situation, be it through ignorance; naivety; intolerance, or self-serving gain whilst at the same time, adding insult to injury to all the names of those who have contributed to Demon's music.

May I suggest therefor, that prescribers of this point of view look inwards and question there own motives and subsequent view-point ?

Perhaps they should ask their own inner-demon, to provide the answer to which only they can supply...

Steve Watts 11: 04: 12


PS: Incidentally... the 11th of the month (specifically the 11th of October - the day DDR was launched) is associated in traditional folklore, as the day Lucifer was cast out of Heaven for having the arrogance to question God.

According to legend, before descending into Hell, he fell into a Blackberry bush, and in anger at getting several pricks up his arse, summarily pissed on the fruit, which is why of course, traditionally the fruit turns sour after this date.

Of course...none of this has anything remotely to do with Demon...

what-so-ever.

Until the 11th then.
[Edited 2012-04-11 23:35]
demon drummer
stoke
383 posts
Reg: 6/3-11
Posted: 2012-04-12 15:11
Are we both talking about the same dave hill because i can honestly say hes the most non confrontational person in a band i know,and as regards song ideas hes also very open minded i really dont understand why your so down on the albums you and dave created they are all well respected by many people,i understand after you record albums there is bits on it you want to change but as regards slagging of songs i dont understand.They are of a time and at that time they would have been right.You should be proud to have worked and recorded as many albums as you have i would have loved to have been paid an advance to go and record in qaulity studios that you recorded in and to have played on the tracks you and dave wrote.Id also like to ask you what you did after you left demon how many non demon albums you recorded and how many european tours you did,also why you feel the need after 20 odd years to say the things youre saying...These are purely my veiws and nothing to do with any other demon member...neil
[Edited 2012-04-12 15:13]

Giles
Cheshire
746 posts
Reg: 5/5-06
Posted: 2012-04-30 14:18
Great lyrics as well, although I could never decide if they were being sardonic or were in fact acting as a tribute.


Sardonic, VERY sardonic. It goes back to what I have been saying about the contempt for Britain/England and its politics, 'class structure' (as was), the Great British Empire etc etc etc

I have always found it deeply hurtful that my contribution and name has been so dutifully ignored regarding Demon over the last twenty years;


I suspect it is because you 'pulled the other way' to an extent. Remember this was and still is Dave and Mal's band! This is a part of human nature that perplexes me; why would you dislike/'disown' somebody because they are/were not what you personally want them to be?

Hi Neil. In order to attempt to answer your post above, you need to refer to my statement immediately above in the case of Mr Steve Watts. Have you tried to present a major shift or overwhelming contribution that is not in 'harmony' with what David wants to happen??
[Edited 2012-04-30 14:29]
NP: Anybody - Tim Bennet (my cousin)
demon drummer
stoke
383 posts
Reg: 6/3-11
Posted: 2012-04-30 17:24
DEMON is dave hills band without him there is no demon...everyone else is replaceable and have been replaced many times through circumstance not choice..why would i want to try and change dave he is what he is demon are a rock band whove done some varied styles in the rock genre,however he is the constant il write songs with dave that will obviously sound differant to steve watts and to ray walmsleys and none of us write like dave and mal.I would never be so arrogant to think that dave should follow my ideas and try and make him follow my lead and imply that hes wrong and my way is right if he wanted to move away from the prog side of things back to the heavier sound then thats his choice,its his band.Im proud to have played in demon and been lucky enough to write with dave ..again these ar purely my veiws on this subject

Giles
Cheshire
746 posts
Reg: 5/5-06
Posted: 2012-05-09 14:43
It's a good, and nice answer Neil.

Demon can be whatever it evolves to be really. Although, I would concede that Dave Hill is a major integral part of the 'Demon sound', and without him it would be something else. Personally speaking, Dave's contribution is paramount to the sound that I like from Demon - well, it must be because I have enjoyed most of Demon's work and he is the common denominator!

I think what Steve Watts is getting at (and I could be totally wrong here, as believe it or not we haven't really discussed this in any depth), is that there may be a certain 'hold' from Dave, and a hold that is not necessarily for the progression of the band but for the perseverance and protection of what has been. I'll leave you to think about that....
demon drummer
stoke
383 posts
Reg: 6/3-11
Posted: 2012-05-14 21:25
UNBROKEN OUT SOON....

Giles
Cheshire
746 posts
Reg: 5/5-06
Posted: 2012-05-15 08:26
"Dave, and a hold that is not necessarily for the progression of the band but for the perseverance and protection of what has been. I'll leave you to think about that...."

I did actually mean to use the word 'preservation' instead of 'perseverance', but the latter fits as well in the context.
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