From 1996-1998 I worked for Hug Management whose office was in The Liverpool Music House, 51-55 Highfield Street. The company was headed by Liverpool businessman Mark Cowley who had managed the group ‘Space’ since their early days. Space were starting to experience commercial success and Hug looked after other acts such as Hotel, Proper, Deep End, The Same, Hunkpapa and Heidrun Anna. I had a variety of roles at Hug: Office Boy, Guitar Tech, Tape Op – once I even spent the weekend painting the office with an old friend of Mark’s called Martin McKinna. I saw Space perform lives many times and accompanied them on tour in 1998. My name is actually listed in the thank you credits of the ‘Tin Planet’ Live Video.
My first recording session in the Liverpool Music House was for the b-side of the re-release of Neighbourhood in October 1995. The recording session was engineered by Greg Patterson with Yorkie producing. I looked up to Dave ‘Yorkie’ Palmer as he had been part of the Liverpool music scene for years. He had even been featured in Julian Cope’s autobiography ‘Head On’ which was an indispensable handbook of sorts for those interested in the Liverpool music scene of the late 70s and early 80s. Yorkie was kind, good-natured and willing to talk about music production with an enthusiastic 16 year old tape op like myself. I remember that Yorkie had an 8-track with which a lot of Space’s pre-production work was done. Yorkie kindly let me crash at his place one night after we had been working late in the studio and I was thrilled to be in the same Kensington house which had hosted The Teardrop Explodes, Echo & The Bunnymen, The Wild Swans, Pete Wylie, Space and many others. Watch the Gladys Palmer documentary below and you will perhaps understand my excitement.
Listening to Only Half An Angel twenty years after I was present in the studio during its recording brings back memories of Yorkie recording the falsetto backing vocals which give the track a 1950s feel. The track was mixed at a later date by Simon Denny who I would later work with on several other sessions.
I have many anecdotes about my time working with Space and in the future I may well recount some of them in this blog. For now though:
Tommy taught me the guitar chords to Female of the Species, introducing me to Dmaj7 in the process. Jamie Murphy used to drop me off in Hightown on his way back to Formby. Andy Parle (RIP) shared his Chinese takeaway with me when I was skint and couldn’t afford lunch. Franny had a silver Mercedes with the number plate S7NTH. My brother Pat, during his time as Features Editor at Rhythm Magazine, put Leon Caffrey on the cover.