A little over a year ago myself and the band decided that we would bring our decade-long project that was Stephen Young & The Union to an end.
It was a big decision at the time. Still, one that felt natural and right. We had become burned out from the mammoth recording and touring we had gone through for our second album and we, like Apple Mac's, crashed, just once too often.
All the while, however, we had recorded a third album. It was an exciting, live, in-the-room record that had not been finished. Recorded, but not mixed or mastered. We walked away from it and it sat on Gary Duncan's hard drive for 18 months. Gary called me and said 'hey bud, what's happening with this album?' I said 'I think we're done...'. 'Ah fuck, seriously?'. 'Yeah...'
See, all six of us have jobs and mortgages, some of us have kids and some of us have more than one. So, trying to finish an album, rehearse, gig, tour etc, all felt like the most far-fetched concept, if not just plainly outrageous.
Then Mr Duncan called again about a year later and said 'hey man, what's happening with this album?'. I said 'Same story, dude. I think it's done.' He said: ' Alright then, So it's safe to bin it?' There was a long pause and before the words came out, my inner voice had already screamed: 'No! Don't fucking bin it.' 'Yeah. Didn't think so,' he said.
On a warm July morning I took the N80 up to Red Lake Studios in Portlaoise and I sat in with Gary for a few days, stayed up at the shack, drinking wine, talking shit, and by the end of the week my third album was mixed.
I loved it. I fucking loved the way it sounded: live, bouncy, trashy, slightly lagging, slightly speeding up, like outtakes most bands don't use. But to me there was a warm, tapey, analogue feel like the old albums I love, like Brian Jonestown Massacre and Willie Nelson all rolled up into this butt ugly girlfriend or boyfriend who's just too much of a damn sweetheart beneath it all not to love. Cos when you take away all the make-up and the production and glossy lipstick who knows if you'd still love what you think you love?
But that's not for me say. Love what you love.