“Cos he’s a Rasta in a Ferrari, yeah he’s a Rasta in a Ferrari. Hey! Where’d you guys go?” (John Locke, 1981)
After celebrating Christmas and New Year at home in Scotland, 1982 began with the preparations for a new studio album, my first with Naz and we were all well up for it. Songwriting duties had become apparent to me during the year of touring we’d just gone through. Manny tended to write alone and had his home studio well kitted out for the process. I’d been round to his house a few times and we’d tried collaborating on various things, but they’d never come to anything. To be perfectly honest, I found Manny’s demos quite sterile and robotic mainly due to his favoured use of a drum machine and his, well, limited abilities as a vocalist. Dan could transform the latter quite well though. Speaking of Dan, he and Pete worked together in the complete opposite of Manny’s technique, usually at Dan’s house with a cassette tape recorder and Pete’s acoustic guitar. This again I’d surmised over the previous year was their method and was kinda set in stone. John Locke had been bandying a song about called Rasta In A Ferrari, but no one had picked up on it. Unlike my Dream On which, even this early in the proceedings, was agreed upon as a major contender for the new album. I had acquired the band’s TEAC 4-track reel-to-reel tape machine similar to what I’d used with Mountain’s demos in London, so I was in a good place recording-wise. Darrell however, didn’t seem welcome in anyone’s camp but happened to be my closest neighbour as we both lived in Dalgety Bay, Fife. He asked if I’d like to try writing together, so we did. The writing sessions took place at my house despite his being much, much bigger, having uninterrupted views of the Forth and its glorious bridges. This, Darrell argued, was best cos I had the equipment already set up (in Billy Jnr’s bedroom) and I also had his favourite whisky always to hand. I couldn’t argue with his logic even though the whisky part was only applicable because, although I had several bottles, I didn’t drink the stuff. Initially, I was warned off writing with Big D by the rest of the band cos, in their words, “Darrell canny write for shit!” This turned out not to be the case.
Once locked up together in my child’s nursery with a bottle of Scotch, Darrell became a most amicable songwriting partner. Not in a “Here’s a catchy hook, let’s make it a hit!” sort of way. More of a “That’s shite, but I like where it’s going,” direction. I already had, the now criminally over-mentioned, Dream On under my belt, but this was from my CBS/April Music days when I’d been churning out, what Peter Shelley had called, ‘Writing to Order’ material. Dream On being one of the few not falling into this category. I sure as hell wasn’t going to proffer High Living to my extremely Hard Living new Rock pals, though Darrell might’ve suggested we change the song’s name to fit, had I played it to him, which I didn’t. I’d written a new song called Games which everyone seemed to like (I wish we still had the demo of it. Maybe someone reading this does?) The first track Darrell and I wrote and demoed together was Take The Rap which we finished on our first evening of trying. Before he left, I let him hear some of the old Mirrors rehearsal tapes. Preservation appealed to Big D even though I informed him I couldn’t claim to have written it (Paul, Mark and Mike would agree.) He suggested we keep it in mind. “Maybe we could ‘steal’ a bit of it later down the road,” was the way he put it.
No, the Biggie I’d missed from what was, even to Darrell, a challenging listen, came during the outro of another track. It wasn’t a main part, not the chorus or even a verse. It was a throwaway line in the song’s outro and Darrell jumped on it. “That’s a hook and a fuckin’ half Bill!” he exclaimed as he reached for another shot of Famous Grouse. “Let’s work on the bastard!” So we did and, within perhaps an hour or so, we’d written and demoed entirely from scratch the song which would become the first single worldwide from our yet-to-be-released or even recorded next album. The line Darrell had gotten so excited about was sung by me and Mirrors bassist Mike years previously and went something like:
“Our Love Leads To Madness.”