Skip to main content

“My fatness introduced itself to me and lives with me to this day”

Published: August, 2008

Interview with Ash’s infamous guitar tech Leif about 1977.

What was a typical recording day like?
After we settled into Rockfield, late nights ensued and waking up was usually never before noon. I seem to remember “wintering” there once, so the nights were long. We saw very little daylight. There seemed to be little routine, except for Mondays being a day off. I think they pretty much recorded as they felt like and when they went for it, they really went for it.

Any images that stick out?
Sitting on the toilet in the bathroom (we all had “en suites”) and looking at my stomach… my fatness introduced itself to me and lives with me to this day. That and Abbey Road.

What was life at Rockfield like?
It was life in a bubble. They fed us and they cleaned up after us. Nick, our engineer even drove us around, so we could always go to a restaurant or liquor store. There was basically little incentive to look after ourselves in any way. One of my favourite times was when we all had to wear dresses. We went into town, found the various charity shops and second hand clothing stores to get dresses, tights, panty hose, what-have-you. I think I had a Jackie-O hat. I don’t know, maybe I just wish I had a Jackie O hat. People really did remark that I had good legs. I wore a tan, one-piece number with a few sequins and dark panty hose. I think. But really, the cigarette motif added to the overall classiness of my ensemble. I remember Rick’s fucking leisure suit, I can’t stop laughing at it. Best of all, there are moving pictures cataloguing some of these antics.

What was your role in the band at that time?
Guitar tech. I really don’t think I did much back then. Probably because I knew very little about high-end recording processes and definitely fuck-all (compared to today) about guitars and amps. I remember Tim’s Silver Jet before the bridge was pinned. It simply sat in place by the magic of what little friction there was between two smooth wood surfaces. When I think on it now, I honestly can’t believe Tim tracked with that thing. I would have a heart attack these days if a guitar that couldn’t stay in tune for two minutes was being used to record an album in my presence. Especially “Lose Control”. (am I remembering correctly?)

Was the session fairly intense or rather laid back?
If it was any more laid back, it wouldn’t have got finished. Life in Rockfield was very relaxing. There were jacuzzis in the en suites as well you know… It was more party than work for everyone. Except maybe Tim and Owen. I think it was 50/50 for TIm as he did have to lock himself away writing a lot. In fact we ran out of time at Rockfield and had to do some little things at RAK studio in London. That was pretty damn fun as well.

Any trivia you care to share?
My very own 1960 Gibson ES330 was used on a track. Can’t remember which one though. “Sick Party” is all real, no sound effects and recorded in real time. “The Scream” didn’t make it to the final cut of the album. There were roughly 48 tracks of noises, moans, screams, back-stabbing and backwards voices. Rick and I repeated “The power of Christ compels you!” as our homage to The Exorcist. When ran backwards (as was intended) it sounded like “I reserve myself for after.” That was pretty freaky stuff. I think we added up the voices and came up with 116 in all. It never saw the light of day. It exists only in raw multitrack tape form on a shelf somewhere I guess. - you can unlock another secret track on some of the earlier pressings of the CD by loading it into your computer and trying to change the disk name to “for will”

I think that’s all I can relive without resorting to tears.