Ever seen The Beatles animated movie
Yellow Submarine?.... remember the sneering psychedelic glove?... the
inspiration behind the name.
To discover the origin of Steve and Robert's Glove turn the clock back at least two years to early 1981.................
Following a performance in Portsmouth (during a short English tour), it was a weary band of Banshees that travelled back to London and their beds. But there was to be no sleep for Steve; the arrival of well meaning friends snatched that from him and guided him in the direction of Abbey Road studios, the location for the recording of The Cure’s Faith album. The night turned into a lengthy one and not until 11a.m. did they stagger out of the gloom and into the daylight, when Steve and Robert exchanged the promise of working together in the future - the near future? Not exactly - when next they spoke of the collaboration a whole year had passed, it was 1992 and the Banshees had just returned from America. There was time to spare before they planned to record Fireworks, so Steve took the opportunity to visit Robert and commence work on their long planned project. The plan was to see if they could write a single together, they did and immediately made a demo’ of what has since become PUNISH ME WITH KISSES.
For Steve it was back to the Banshees business, Playground studios and the writing and recording of A Kiss In The Dreamhouse. During those May sessions (whilst the other Banshees were mixing) Steve and Robert snatched the opportunity to rehearse their song properly for the first time.
Their minds were full of ideas regarding what form the project would take, at one point they contemplated teaming together as a songwriting partnership to write songs for other people to perform (not actually being involved in the recording themselves) - then it occurred to them to have a selection of guest singers perform their songs, but they decided it was to similar to B.E.F’s Music of Quality and Distinction, so both ideas were ditched. One point Robert did make clear was that he didn’t want to sing because he feared that the overall sound of the songs would bear to much similarity to those he recorded with The Cure, in deciding so he went on to say that he didn’t want another male providing the vocals, a decision with which Steve agreed.
It was three months before they were reunited, at which time they spent a day in the studio working on Punish Me With Kisses. A rough version of the song was recorded, but they still hadn’t decided who (if anyone) would sing on it.
During this period of indecision, they decided to audition a selection of female vocalists, but none of them possessed what they were looking for.
Then as providence would have it, on the eve of the 1982 Banshees British/European tour Robert was drafted into their ranks to replace the bed ridden McGeoch, which meant that Steve and Robert would be in close contact for a lengthy period of time. In fact it was during the European leg of the tour that Robert reversed his previous decision, and told Steve that because The Cure were going to be pretty inactive for a while, that he wanted to sing on The Glove project, so from there on they worked with the idea that Robert would be the sole vocalist.
Banshees commitments kept them busy until the end of the year, and with Sioux and Budgie becoming airborne Creatures bound for Hawaii, Steve and Robert set to work in earnest on Glove. It had taken them a while to get into the studios for any length of time (because due to Roberts contractual obligations to Fiction records and his manager, it wasn’t clear who pay for the studio time, and if they recorded anything worthwhile whether or not they’d be allowed to release it) but eventually they did, and nine days of recording was scheduled for January 1983.
During that time their aim was to write two songs for each of the nine days they were in the studio, so they were more than pleased when they emerged with thirteen songs.
The Creatures returned triumphantly from Hawaii, rejoined Steve and Robert as Banshees and they were off on a tour of Japan, Australia and New Zealand, so Glove temporarily took a back seat.
On their return, Robert began rethinking (again) about the vocals for The Glove, and decided to get David Jensen (BBC Radio 1) to read out a request for female vocalists to apply for an audition. He’d decided that, if he sang on all the album there was too great a possibility that Fiction records would prevent its release, on top of which the thought still nagged him that the end result could sound too much like The Cure. As the hopeful application tapes rolled in, Steve and Robert continued working and wrote two more songs - and then there were fifteen.
Still no vocals, but it was time to bring in more musicians to complete the sound. Enter THE VENOMETTES (Anne and ’Ginny) on strings and ANDY ANDERSON (from Brilliant) on drums. The Venomettes were informed (via Steve and Roberts hummed tunes) of what was required, and they employed their ad lib technique to stunning effect. It was somewhat different for Andy because he wasn’t drafted in to actually create any drum parts, but for his ability to keep good time, because with all the drum patterns already down on the drum machines his task was to replace them wherever necessary (this was a balance of ’real’ and synthetic drums was created).
A pattern was rapidly forming where all the writing/recording was being done in week long batches when they’d go into the studio and just keep working at it (until completed) - all the songs were written in the studio with the exception of Punish Me With Kisses (the first song they worked together on). Sequencers and keyboards were frequently used as a starting point when composing - a day/nights work usually began with Steve playing something on the piano, transferring it to guitar for demonstration to Robert and it would be built on from there. There’d also be occasions when they’d find a suitable sequence using synthesizers and drum machines with which they’d work out the chord changes, using that as the basis of a song. It’s probably due to the fact that virtually all the songs were composed on keyboards instead of guitars that the resulting feel and sound of them has been altered.
By now, in response to the David Jensen broadcast, the letters/photo’s and tapes had started pouring in, so Steve and Robert sat down to listen seriously to the young hopefuls - eventually deciding none were suitable. While they’d been sifting through the applications, JEANETTE LANDRAY (a close friend) continually insisted that she was exactly what they were looking for. Her persistence paid off and she was granted an audition, during which she proved that she could sing at least as well as the unsuccessfuls, with the added advantage that, in knowing her so well they’d be able to work really quickly (they knew they’d be able to say things to her that maybe a stranger would take the wrong way - plus being a professional dancer she’s used to arduous work and discipline).
Up until now all the songs had been instrumental (because it wasn’t definite they’d use a singer), but with the introduction of Jeanette they had to re-think their plan of action, and begin writing vocal parts for her. So it was during the later stages of recording that lyrics were written, a whole new experience for Steve when compared to the way the Banshees work (procedures had already been different from what Steve and Robert were used to - in Steve’s case (when working as a Banshee) Sioux and Budgie write their own individual parts because in doing so they’d create things that maybe Steve wouldn’t think of (being primarily a bass guitarist) which is in effect what makes a Banshees song a group song, but now, Steve and Robert had to create those other parts themselves) now that the stage had been reached where they had whole pieces of music to which they had to write lyrics round - on any Banshees songs the music always gets so far, waits for the lyrics, then the music works its way round the lyrics, the complete opposite to The Glove. It took time, but eventually they had written everything and all that remained to be recorded was vocals, at which point they decided that (contrary to what they’d said earlier in the day) it would be really good if Robert sang on some songs. So two were carefully chosen (by Robert) to prevent them sounding too reminiscent of The Cure, Jeanette sang on six of them and two remained as instrumentals.
So the album was finished? Not quite......remember the odd musical ditties that connected the tracks on A Kiss In The Dreamhouse? Well they’re back (well not them exactly). There are a couple of ideas to be worked on. One is a two minute track (culled from the four or five tracks remaining from The Glove sessions) that has all the qualities of a 1960’s car chase (cue the nutty beat bongo’s and weedy organs) which will be cut up into sections and run through one side of the album. The other is a tape recording that Steve took from a Japanese TV programme during the Banshees ’82 visit (which is also incorporated in the strange, sometimes cacophonic RELAX!) of a Japanese chase during a kung fu movie, which will also be cut up and run through the other side of the album.
Whether these ideas will work all the way through is yet to be seen, if they don’t, then the tracks will be cross-faded so that there aren’t any pauses between them at all.
Billy 'Chainsaw' Houlston
(Article from = http://www.thebansheesandothercreatures.co.uk/)