The below is an abridged version of the text written by David Kilour for The Clean "Vehicle" album linear notes. Hamish Kilgour and Robert Scott have also written notes for the album. Full versions and more photos come with the CD and LP. All photos by Robert Scott.
Vehicle is available on Vinyl, CD and Download here.
As we all know after two one off gigs in London in 1989, we had reformed for a tour of NZ, Oz, USA (only Boston and NYC), and then Europe…....memory is unreliable, Im sure the three of us have conflicting memories…..I get the “reformed tour” (1989) and the Vehicle promo tour (1990) all mixed up in my memory, so please forgive me, they seemed like the same long tour in my mind, including those first two one off shows in London …in all, this equates to 3 trips in about 18 months (?) …so…..
Europe was especially mad, god knows how many shows, the promo tour done in a stationwagon with the drums on the roof sitting in cardboard cases, more on that later. ….it would only do 100 miles an hour flat out, dang it, we are being passsed on the autobahns, after a while 100 seemed slow....we seemed to spend most of the time in Germany playing to full clubs all over the place,…..drinking gallons of orange saft, smoking fine hash, Weiss beer from the various regions, belgium fruit beers, meat, bread and more meat and bread,…….and just great fun, we are big in Germany, sort of..…..playing to 3000 people (my biggest crowd at that stage, perhaps ever) at an ice skating rink at some kindve hardcore festival where I think Bullet Lavotla were the headliners, Hamish being so tired this night he WAS falling off his drum stool, bundled into a taxi straight after the set and sent to bed while we packed up, the tiredness being due to the previous night when Hamish and I bar hopped all the cool West Berlin clubs with a fellow NZ fan who showed us round, fabulous stuff….this was the first time I had ever been treated well as a musician in clubs- food and drink on arrival, accom set up, a meal later etc, everthing okay?, need some hash?…etc etc....
Early on the tour we hit some pretty bad rain stroms, gradually the cardboard drum cases starting distorting and breaking down, on returning the drums to hire company we basically dumped everything at the landing bay and ran…all this happened because on the first “reformed” tour Geoff Travis came to see us play at the Fullham Greyhound, London, the next day or so he offered us a recording contract and said at the end of the “reformed” tour why don’t you go and record all this material. ….bless his heart….. we were given a list a studio’s to pick from and drove round London checking them out, Blackwing was the obvious choice, its was groovy, with a special “drum” room made with a concrete floor and rock walls , seperated from where Bob and I were but with a large glass sliding door/wall so it kindve felt like we were in the same room, also courtyard with garden, very English…..I later spotted George Michael nearby getting gas in a convertible with 4 gorgeous girls…
Geoff wanted Alan Moulder (pictured above) to engineer but he was busy for the first 2 days, so until he turned up we used the inhouse engineer, Ken Kennedy who did a great job and was very easy to work with…he said how do you want the LP to sound…I said “like it sounds in the room”…no problem….we were always quite strict about pot and booze in the studio (goin right back to the Boodle days), no booze or pot till later in the evening, …Ill never forget Hamish’s eyes as Ken rolled up a Camerwell Carrot of hash and tobacco and lit up each morning before the sessions…the recording and mixing was done over 3 days, yep 3 days…..Bob and I were so tired and homesick we just wanted it done and didn’t want to change our flights home (Hamish was based in NYC at the time)….I think we were away from home for almost three months, as we toured NZ first, then Australia, USA and London…..my partner always reminds me of this as we left her in our new house (which we still live in today) totally broke, no carpets, no curtains, no insulation at all, , a one bar heater in the middle of winter, see ya darling!…..
So yeh we WERE running between the control room and studio….Alan Moulder joined on the last day , when we did some final overdubs and mixed the LP…later Alan and Geoff remixed only 2 of the tracks, so fast work Clean, we were in fine form after 2 months of touring so the recording is pretty much us live doin the new songs…most of the new songs had come together quickly in Dunedin before we headed off…..I can remember picking Alans mind about the Mary Chain (earlier spotted at The Trip), who I was fond of at the time, esp Darklands, and about Al Green who he had done some recording with, and how they recorded etc, he was a nice fellow…
It was a lovely time to hit London as the Chills were based there so there were some fun times catching up with them, it was also summer…I vividly remember Martin Phillipps getting me smashed on Moroccan hash and him throwing headphones on my head “lay down and listen to this”..it was Scott Walkers song- Angel Of Ashes, about rekindling the creative spirit , of which I had been having trouble with until this Clean reformation happened…blew my little mind, I really had tried to dig Scott in the past but it never resonated with me until this glorious hash high London style…dear Marty was tryin to stir my heart…..but I think he also knew I was having trouble with Walker, he was determined to convince me the guy was worthy…..
Things were starting to make sense…we were all buzzing being together in London…I stayed in avery nice squat in Bonnington Square, Vauxhall with Genevieves sisters …...our first gig, after all those years apart, was in London at a small bar which was a warmup gig for the Fullham show, at which we would be supporting The Bats….my partner and I had been in London on our first big OE, just happened to coincide with the Bats being in London and Hamish in NYC….The Chills manager Craig Taylor found this out and said why don’t we fly Hamish over and the Clean can play with The Bats…why not?…months later it was Craig who invited Geoff Travis from Rough Trade to come see us play at The Greyhound…by the way recordings from this gig came out as an EP called In A Live Situation At The Fullham Greyhound, it later got single of the week in Sounds, which is now perhaps the rarest piece of Clean vinyl there is....
I can say that these days pretty much set me up on the music road for life, seeing there was a musical life for me esp outside of NZ…people knew about our music all over the world, I really had NO IDEA, apart from the odd trickle back of gossip….. you gotta remember there were no WWW, calling by phone to London was really expensive, I was yet to buy a Fax machine etc etc…..calling or recieving calls from London sometimes meant getting up at 3 am etc…sadly Rough Trade went under not too long after Vehicle came out, but not before they released the LP in America….over the years I've met many people esp in the USA that said Vehicle was where they discovered the Clean, not the early 80’s records, so it was an important record for us all in many ways, still is really.
David Kilgour - 2013
Vehicle is available on Vinyl, CD and Download here.
The LP and CD include extended linear notes by David Kilgour, Hamish Kilgour and Robert Scott.
Photos by Robert Scott of David Kilgour, Hamish Kilgour, Chris Knox, Martin Phillipps and Alan Moulder.