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  LOOPY'S WORLD: PART TEN - RECORDING THE FIRST ALBUM

Steve 'Loopy' Newhouse

steve newhouse

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With Steve and Rod constantly pushing everyone to get things moving at breakneck speed, gigs were getting organised before the crew were ready. Then we got told, and I mean GOT told, that we were going into a studio in Holborn, Central London, to record an album. EMI had stumped up the funds and wanted Iron Maiden out there as quickly as possible.

The whole thing was a rush. The crew, being myself, Pete and Vic, took everything from Hollywood Studio's to this tiny little studio, found in an underground car park, just off Kingsway in Holborn. If you asked me how to get there now I couldn't tell you.

I used to be quite good at directions and was known as the navigator on tour because, as I've said before, I don't drive, so navigating became my thing. This place was hard to find, but on the second attempt we did.

Article continues below...

 
 


With the van being too big to get into the car-park itself, we had to unload everything at street level, and we were guided to where the band's equipment should be set up, two levels lower. Not the easiest load in I've ever done when you have to compete with vehicles going in both directions and our truck blocking the exit.

Now, some of you may be saying: "But that's easy", and some of you may be right but, on this occasion, it wasn't "easy". The streets of London are not as wide as the streets of Paris or New York so having a truck parked over a car park entry/exit, even in the early hours of a Sunday Morning, is bound to cause some kind of congestion. And it didn't take long for the constabulary to show its lovely face.

By the time Vic had explained to the nice policeman that we were here to load our equipment into a stupid little studio that somebody thought a great idea to build, two levels down, in an underground car park, the nice policeman let it go with the comment: "I thought this was Candid Camera until I realised they stopped that years ago."

He also said something about his son being into Iron Maiden and left us to get on with it.

So this should have been the easy bit, loading the equipment from ground level down to the dungeon that became our home for the next weeks but things didn't get any better.

I was then shown the booth where they wanted me to set up the drum kit, about the size of a small council kitchen. "This is going to cause a row", I said to Vic. He agreed but told me to get on with it and to wait and see what happens when the band turned up. I did as I always did. I got on with it.

Sometimes you know when things are right and when things are wrong. This was wrong. But hey, I was just doing my job.

You know that saying about not enough room to swing a cat? Now, assuming that you have the cat by the tail, a fucking kitten would have been too big, and that's if it had all of its legs removed, and possibly its head too. Sorry cat lovers, but I'm just giving you scale. I have two lovely cats and would hate to see them harmed, but metaphors are what we have here.

Vic then took the van away and went to collect the band.

I set the drum kit up and crammed it into the space provided and just hoped that Clive had enough arm and leg room to play the damn thing. I had visions of him hitting his elbows on the walls, and I wasn't happy.

After a few hours of turning the drum kit from one side to another and realising it wasn't going to fit, I said to Pete: "Let's just wait till Clive gets here."

We both agreed that Clive's kit wasn't going to fit in the space provided, so now it was out of our hands. With nothing else to do until the band arrived, me and Pete went and had a fag.

That was when I saw one of the most ridiculous things I've ever seen. A huge white stretch Limousine slowly made its way toward the studio doors, and I realised that the band were in it.

I had heard talk of a Limo being discussed by Steve and Vic, but had no idea of what they were really talking about. So, this was it!! Not your everyday mode of transport but, if the band wanted it, they got it.

It didn't impress everyone though. Pete walked off with his "what the fuck?" head on as I stood there in disbelief.

"Is the coffee on Loopy?" asked Rod. "Why are you asking me?" I said. I was the drum roadie for fuck's sake, not his, or anybody else's skivvy. I went for a walk too.

An early Sunday stroll down Kingsway and Holborn is something I will remember forever. I was happy to be away from the in-house bickering that had sprung up.

The question and the answer were both the same really. Up until a certain point in the band's history there had been no rows, arguments, or even the slightest upset. Now, here we were a few months later, having signed a contract to one of the biggest recording labels at the time, and 'Arguments R Us' were looking to see if they could get in on the action.

When I got back 25 minutes later there had been some discussion about the fact that the drum kit was too large for its designated area. I sat with my smug face on, listening to the comments being thrown back and forth. Hadn't I said all this to Vic three hours before? Apparently so, but no one ever listened to me.

The drum kit was dismantled and set up in an entirely different room, which I think was once the reception area. This meant that the only TV and coffee machine in the whole of the studio was now in Clive's drum room. At least the kit sounded good, and smelled of Columbia's finest.

And yes I mean coffee, not marching powder (honest Officer, I wasn't snorting it, I was just smelling it...)

But I digress. Once the kit was set up Clive didn't bitch or moan about it once. The whole album was recorded with the skins he had from the start. The only new thing he used each day was sticks. Happy days!!!

So much for the rush, but so much time wasted too. If only one of them, Rod, Steve, or even Vic had had the hindsight to at least go and check the place out, none of this would have happened.

In a gig situation if Steve didn't like something he would pull the show, i.e. the Brecknock. Harry told the pub landlord he wanted to use our lights, the landlord said no. We went home. Our light show was far superior to anything they had to offer.

It was simple really. We put on a whole show. If you don't want part of it, you get none of it.

But looking back none of this was really my problem. I was still doing this for nothing. We all were. Me, Dave, Pete and Vic, were all volunteers really, but more and more was being asked of us.

If the truth be told, and have I lied to you yet, dear reader? None of the crew actually started getting paid until after the first album was released, and we all got put on a paltry £30 a week, take it or leave it deal. And now EMI were getting on Rod's case because they weren't seeing the benefits from the money they had forwarded the band.

I have no idea of the sum involved when Iron Maiden put pen to paper and, to be honest, I didn't care then, and care even less now. All I know is the deal was enough to make the few people at the top of the Iron Maiden tree substantially happy.

The recording of the first album at Kingsway Studios went as well as it could with one small problem; the choice of Will Malone as Producer. I don't know if Steve or Rod have spoken about this publicly but, to me, Will was not the best choice. I don't even know how we got him.

When I think back to those days of trying to find someone suitable and to hear the way Maiden songs should be/were, then the choice of Will Malone was the wrong choice. Although it could have been a lot worse.

I remember being in a studio with a producer who had recorded with some punk band, going on and on about this and that. I could see Steve wasn't listening and, after letting the guy go on for about 15 minutes, Steve said to Vic: "Pack up, we're going home." And we did just that.

Another occasion found us in front of The Sweet's Andy Scott. Now this would have been brilliant if Andy could have moved away from his past. He told Steve he would get a better bass sound from him if he used a plectrum. That was the last thing Andy ever said to Steve as, shortly after, he told him he was fired.

So, we ended up with Will Malone and, as a testament to time, the first album achieved Gold status everywhere. Still not my producer of choice, but what an impact. The album went straight into the UK charts at number 4, and none of us saw that coming.

Notice how the next few albums had Martin Birch at the helm. Unfortunately he wasn't available when we went in to do the first album. I'm sure it would have sounded twice as good and taken half as long. Oh! And by the way, the first album was recorded in less than a week.

For those of you who like to keep train spotter notes, and I know there are loads of you out there, whilst we were recording 'Iron Maiden', BBC2 showed 'Lone Star' live in concert and we heard the track 'Comfortably Numb' from the forthcoming new Pink Floyd album 'The Wall'. That album went on to be a crew favourite while touring the UK, much to Dave Lights' disappointment.

Going back a little way, I mentioned the stretch limo that the band turned up in. This was one of Vic's ideas. He had friends in the motor trade (probably the same people who kitted out the Green Goddess). They got hold of two similar cars, (sorry but I can't remember the makes or models) and basically bastardized them into a limo.

Admittedly the band only used it for a while as, being such a big car, the UK roads weren't quite ready for it, but it was a comfy car to ride in. I remember travelling in it all the way from Hackney to Cromer, just me and Vic. And, as I don't drive, I had a choice of seats. It didn't matter too much though. The seats were comfortable wherever you sat.

The other thing I wanted to go back to was Rod, who was not Peter Grant (Led Zeppelin). The way he used to talk down to me and Pete wouldn't be tolerated these days; in fact nine times out of ten he would have got a smack in the mouth.

If it hadn't been for the likes of me, Pete, Dave and Vic, this band he happened to pick up on the cheap (my words, nobody else's) wouldn't have been anywhere near as ready as they would have liked. We quit our jobs, toured for nothing, and generally gave everything we had, including what little money we had to buy fuel, food, drink, the occasional B&B, you name it.

He didn't care about your well being either. I sprained my ankle in Barcelona whilst stepping off the tour bus. Rod's reaction was "So fooking what? You're surplus anyway."

I know that arrogance and ignorance go hand in hand, and, where I live in Collier Row, Romford, it's a way of life. But to be treated the way he treated us was pretty bad, and I know he doesn't come from round here. Or maybe he did, in a former life. That would explain a lot...


Click here for the Loopyworld index for the rest of this amazing story, including Steve's tribute to Clive Burr...




21.5.13


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This Autumn, Voodoo Six will play six headline shows in Germany, Belgium, and The Netherlands...

michael schenker MICHAEL SCHENKER ANNOUNCES DECEMBER UK TOUR
Schenker will perform songs from the new album, which features the new single, 'Lord Of The Lost And Lonely' plus all the classics...

johnny thunders LOOKING FOR JOHNNY: THE LEGEND OF JOHNNY THUNDERS MOVIE TO BE RELEASED NEXT MONTH
When Johnny Thunders died in New Orleans on April 23rd 1991, he left behind a mystery...

metallica METALLICA TO RELEASE 27 LIVE ALBUMS BEFORE THE END OF THE YEAR AND APPEAR IN THE GUINNESS BOOK OF RECORDS
To commemorate the anniversary of the LiveMetallica.com site, the band are offering CDs and LPs of every gig they played in 2014...

kobra and the lotus KOBRA AND THE LOTUS AND THE TREATMENT ANNOUNCE UK TOURS
Kobra And The Lotus will be kicking off their Headline Tour on 24th September in support of their latest record 'High Priestess'...

rival sons RIVAL SONS RETURN TO UK FOR DECEMBER TOUR
The band appear on Letterman in the US on October 9th, and will have an exciting UK TV appearance to announce soon...

linkin park LINKIN PARK PLAY TWO NIGHTS AT LONDON'S 02 ARENA IN NOVEMBER
Following their exhilarating headline sets at the European summer festivals, Linkin Park return for their own headline tour in November...

evil scraecrow AT LAST! A NEW VIDEO FROM EVIL SCARECROW
"It's an emotional thing for us to watch back. We hope that translates to everyone that watches it too!"

sabctuary SANCTUARY POSTS LYRIC VIDEO FOR 'EXITIUM (ANTHEM OF THE LIVING)'
Sanctuary continue that legacy that they started decades ago, delivering yet another fresh take on "classic-sounding" Metal...

electric mary ELECTRIC MARY ANNOUNCE MINI ALBUM AND UK TOUR
Australian five piece Electric Mary are back to spread Rock n' Roll's genuine flavour to Europe...

accept ACCEPT REVEAL LIVE CLIP OF 'PANDEMIC' FILMED IN FRONT OF 750,000 PEOPLE AT WOODSTOCK FESTIVAL 2014
UK fans can catch the band live at The Forum in London on the 27th November 2014...

hornet HORNET ANNOUNCE NEW EP AND SINGLE
"We really wanted to just expand the sound we already had by incorporating more of our influences to make our sound more modern and diverse..."

jimmy barnes JIMMY BARNES ANNOUNCES NEW 30th ANNIVERSARY ALBUM 'HINDSIGHT'
2014 marks the 30th anniversary of Jimmy Barnes' debut as Scottish born Australian rock singer-songwriter...

dragonforce DRAGONFORCE SUPPORTS ANNOUNCED FOR FORTHCOMING TOUR
London based hard rockers Neonfly will support in the UK mainland, with Northern Irish Metalheads Conjuring Fate doing the honours at the Belfast and Dublin shows...

within temptation WITHIN TEMPTATION TO HEADLINE BLOODSTOCK 2015
Within Temptation appear as a UK exclusive. Prog Metal titans Opeth will also appear on the bill...

emigrate EMIGRATE CONFIRM NEW ALBUM FOR UK RELEASE VIA SPINEFARM RECORDS
'Silent So Long' is the second album from the band formed by Rammstein's Richard Kruspe...

highway to hell WINNERS OF HIGHWAY TO HELL 5 ANNOUNCED
Texas Flood are the overall winners from an outstanding field, winning a contract and an appearance at Hard Rock Hell...

grim reaper THE LEGENDARY GRIM REAPER RETURN TO LONDON
Get down to the Boston Music Room on 27th September for Grim Reaper with Amulet and Dark Forest...

quireboys THE QUIREBOYS ANNOUNCE UK TOUR FOR NOVEMBER 2014
The 30th anniversary celebrations continue with a world tour including a trip to North America and a nine date UK leg...

eric martin MR. BIG SINGER ANNOUNCES UK SOLO ACOUSTIC TOUR
Eric Martin will play nine unplugged dates in December 2014 with a mix of solo and Mr Big material...

absolva ABSOLVA ANNOUNCE NEW BASSIST
British classic Metallers Absolva are delighted to announce the appointment of new bassist Karl Schramm...

manowar MANOWAR ANNOUNCE NEW ALBUM PLANS AND UPDATED TOURING SCHEDULE
Manowar will headline Loud Park Festival in Tokyo on October 18th 2014 and will then resume the 'Kings Of Metal MMXIV' World Tour...

skyscraper SKYSCRAPER RELEASE VIDEO FOR 'MONDAY MORNING'
This dynamic band has been taking critics by storm with their inimitable brand of melodic hard rock...

the more i see THE MORE I SEE ANNOUNCE OCT/NOV TOUR WITH SAVAGE MESSIAH AND BULL RIFF STAMPEDE
Featuring world renowned guitarist Gizz Butt, the band always deliver incredible live shows that combine passion, energy and breathtaking musicianship...

devin townsend DEVIN TOWNSEND REVEALS Z DETAILS AND ANNOUNCES SPECIAL ROYAL ALBERT HALL PERFORMANCE
Devin Townsend is extremely pleased to announce the release of long-awaited new double-album...

blastfest AT THE GATES, DARK FUNERAL, ROTTING CHRIST AND MORE ANNOUNCED FOR BLASTFEST 2015
Bergen, Norway, former home of the legendary Hole In The Sky Festival and considered thee black metal capital of the world...

exodus EXODUS REVEAL SPECIAL GUESTS ON NEW ALBUM 'BLOOD IN, BLOOD OUT'
Bay Area thrash Metal provocateurs Exodus proudly announce the special guests appearing on their latest showcase of unrefined rage...

panzer PANZER STREAMING LYRIC VIDEO FOR 'THE LAST MAN ON EARTH'
Brazilian thrash/stoner act Panzer have just released a new lyric video on for the second track of the album 'Honor'...

bush BUSH ANNOUNCE OCTOBER 20th RELEASE FOR 'MAN ON THE RUN'
Multi-platinum alt-rock band Bush have announced an October 20th release date for their highly anticipated new album...

absolva ABSOLVA RELEASE VIDEO FOR 'LIVE FOR THE FIGHT'
The video features Luke Appleton (Iced Earth) who is playing bass for the band on the forthcoming European Tour...

giants of rock GIANTS OF ROCK FESTIVAL: FIRST BANDS ANNOUNCED
The reformed Family and pomp rockers Magnum will headline the event...

weapon uk ESTRELLA TO SUPPORT GILBY CLARKE ON TOUR AND ANNOUNCE A NEW SINGLE
The band are currently gearing up for a thirteen date trek with Clarke that includes dates in Wakefield, London and Edinburgh...

weapon uk WEAPON UK ANNOUNCE TOUR DATES FOR NOVEMBER
Weapon UK have tour dates confirmed in support of their critically acclaimed album 'Rising From The Ashes'...

amulet AMULET DEBUT ALBUM 'THE FIRST' RELEASED IN SEPTEMBER: FIRST TRACK NOW ONLINE
The album track 'Mark Of Evil' has just been uploaded to Soundcloud. Raise your fists and bang your heads on this one...

michael schenker MICHAEL SCHENKER'S GUITARS STOLEN FROM GERMAN RECORDING STUDIO
German police are examining evidence and the studio for fingerprints and DNA evidence to help catch the criminals...

jimi jamison JIMI JAMISON OF SURVIVOR PASSES AWAY AGED 63
Jimi Jamison, lead singer of Survivor, very sadly passed away on Sunday night...

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