Punk Haiku 17 October Recording


 Do the Wait- like most of these songs, recorded in 1977, released in 2009.


 The October '77 Scenics prepped for recording by going over and over the songs we were going to record,  and then playing fast and loose with some of our favourite tunes.

The studio versions of the songs we did record are sprinkled throughout this post (taken from the Sunshine World CD).

For Punk Haiku audio this time around, The Scenics let their hair down with a couple of Velvet Underground favs AND a made-in-the-moment no-mind garage rock one-shot. As well, there's some chatter overheard by the fly on the wall with the cassette deck....


You are missing some Flash content that should appear here! Perhaps your browser cannot display it, or maybe it did not initialize correctly.

Next, HEY GLORIA SING 96 TEARS FOR YOU. Truly one time only.

You are missing some Flash content that should appear here! Perhaps your browser cannot display it, or maybe it did not initialize correctly.

And finally, A version of WHAT GOES ON that settles into the sort of groove you might find if LPs were made of granite instead of vinyl. Bradley Cooper on the drums. All three of these recorded October 10, 1977 in The Scenics' basement.

You are missing some Flash content that should appear here! Perhaps your browser cannot display it, or maybe it did not initialize correctly.

These 3 songs available as free downloads. As are our first two albums of PUNK HAIKU songs

Coming soon: Punk Haiku 18-- Complete Control.

Hey! Like The Scenics on Facebook. Thnx!


The Story So Far: After a flurry of gigs, including opening for Talking Heads, The Scenics decide it's time to head back into the recording studio with their new drummer, Bradley Cooper. 

First we had to decide which songs to record- always a delicious excercise, and so different then than now, when any song can and does get recorded, digital workstations whirring in every bedsit and basement.

(photo Rodney Bowes. l-r Ken, Andy, Brad.)


   In June, Ken had walked in with his eyes on fire. When we plugged in, he played a serpentine  2 bar riff that cycled around and around.  Brad and I nodded to each other, and, efficiently, came in on bass and drums playing the parts that would forever stick. O Boy, a snapshot travelogue from, i'm supposing,  Ken’s college days:
     “He’s a product of a college community
        he takes drugs and so does his mother.
         he’s unstable yet he seems     so serene
         the way he talks from one side to the other.
         to paint   to cook   to play the fiddle.
         He’s a product of a college community
          he’s around for a while and then he fades in thin air.
         wish he had a pal     to make things real
          wish he had a pal    instead of these nuts....”

          O Boy had an instrumental bridge after each verse-  Ken said he would add words, but we told him it didn’t need any more words, it was perfect, which I think he had secretly suspected, because he immediately agreed. It was a good lesson in knowing when to stop,  knowing when you had it,  basing your decision on the song, not on standard songwriting boilerplate assumptions.

O Boy was powerful, simple,  with quirky lyrics that Ken allowed to mutate over time, and the recording we made of it that October (1977) is what I would play If I had to play someone a single studio recording by the Scenics.




Ken  had very recently written One Comes Closer, with it's slow, falling, disintegrating guitar.  I let the bass follow one bar behind and we had a perpetual motion machine.
  The lyrics start simply-
   “I want to be a good person
     I would be someone you’d think to include.
     I can wait”
   and proceed to devolve in their simple malformed desire to show up and be pleasing- the usual Scenics territory-  the rub between raw expression and social norms...
   “I want to be an explosion in your back yard and a whole
      lot more nicer for you to see me
      on your visit...
      I can wait”


     One Comes Closer ends in a melancholy little Scenics jig, a simple pattern, created afresh each time, that picks it’s spot and then dissolves. Kind of like the five characters in Waiting for Godot  doing the "wave” in an empty sports stadium. We played it for the Garys one of the first times they came down to see us. I was really proud of it- thought it was unlike any song I had heard before.

     I chose to re-do Do the Wait, it being something accessible in our sound. A single.  Mark French, who drummed on our first recording  was a floater and a dancer.  Our new drummer Bradley Cooper  was a basher and a major-general, and this was the difference in the sound between the two demos, this and the fact that the Hudson’s snarl was prominent throughout my songs. All this made this version of Do the Wait much more authoritative, rockier. My vocals were more relaxed and  ballsier- I was in a band now, been on the radio, doing shows, dug by some in the know. Over the years we re-did Do the Wait (four times in the studio in total), but this was the time we nailed it, and this was the version that made the  Sunshine World CD.

   My last original was a recent song, May Dreams Become Wishes.  Lyrics were a Roxy Music pastiche, and the music alternated between simple chiming chords and abrupt stops and starts. Nice chords and melody on the bridge. Brad really rocked on it and I liked it's scope, ambition and energy. It became our largest production to date, starting with just drums and building in stages with layered guitars  and vocals, including a searing solo by Ken.
   But Dreams wasn't a song that stayed in the setlist for a long time, and instead of it, we could have recorded one of my more abstract or deconstructed songs. (All Belts and Shoelaces Taken would have fit in well with the wildness of these sessions). At the time, I felt some need to not be willfully uncommercial. Maybe I thought I was being responsible, maybe something about it scared me. Looking back, the best thing I could of done was stay true to exactly who we were, and catch hold of all those listeners who wanted to go outside. It was funny, because the only place I hedged my bets a little was when I picked songs for the studio.


      We finished the recording off with two covers. they had each travelled miles to end up Scenic, and neither had taken the direct route.

     We had begun playing Mony Mony as simple back seat of the car urban folk rock, in '76 when we were the 'Scenic Caves'. Sung by our then drummer Mike Cusheon, with Ken and I straining to out-do each other on the chorus. (kinda of like I Wanna Be Your Man by the Beatles. Ringo sings the verses with straight ahead gusto, and then John and Paul clamber on top of the chorus like kids jumping on a trampoline.) When Mike left, so did Mony, but Ken brought it back to ride on Brad’s broad back-beat. It was reborn tricky, with stops and starts and Ken’s rewrite of the lyrics casting it in cartoon nightmare territory-
    “on your knees my Mony Mony
       shoot her up knock her down take her home...” At the time it just seemed like a 50's comic book. Over the years, as our culture has gotten creepier and more rocks have been overturned, these lyrics have begun to feel all too real. They are a relic from a more unknowing time, and the sort of thing you do when you are 22.

     Mony was one of Ken’s most stellar workouts on the Morley Power Wah.  (I just read today that Pere Ubu's Tom Herman had a Morley Power Wah. What are the Wah odds?) In the middle of the song a vamp built to desperation. Suddenly Brad and I disappeared and Ken's guitar was left, keening, screaming,  only to have Brad and I return in the pocket as Ken continued to work it out.  Then vocals, harmonies, more guitar and out. As Ken once said live- “This song is Mony Mony, it used to be by Tommy James, now it’s ours.”



The Kinks’ “Where Have all the Good Times Gone” was a song we played the first day Ken and I got together. It survived despite a long, unexciting intro that ambled from chord to chord. In fact, our version of the whole song had a tepid linear literallness that did make one long for the good times, any good times.

  One night, a few weeks before hitting the studio, I realized how uninspired my regurgitation of the song was.  Ken asked "Well, what should it sound like?", and, without thinking, I chopped out a three second compression- 2 chords that sounded like ripping open a shook up can of beer. Ken and Brad jumped in and the whole song was instantly sliced and diced in the same way, turned into something barely under control. We changed it’s title to “WHATGTG”. (the real title's acronym.)  In the studio, I overdubbed an electro-mambo counter rhythm on the chorus, a stack o’ wild guitars, and we ended with a shifting rave out where a submerged Ken told the story of being
“In the Jello mold, anyhow, we went to the Hospital...”

I loved this take on this song, and years later, the biggest suprise of the Sunshine World CD for me was the way people didn't seem to get it... Some reviewers called it sloppy or disorganized, I don't think anyone singled it out for praise. I can see what they mean, but I always thought that if you are driving this fast on two wheels going two directions at once you had to be quite organized indeed.

  So we went back into Mushroom Sound (not the famous Vancouver studio, the tiny unknown Toronto one). Our friend the ever-relaxed and supportive Barry Steinberg was behind the four track reel to reel in his immaculate, converted from a two car garage, studio. Tracking went pretty smoothly. Ken and I, having done this once before, walked into the room ready to go, and Brad followed right behind. It took a few takes to get the versions we wanted, but each take was in the ballpark. We knew exactly how we wanted to play the songs.

  But when we were done recording and into mixing, we got flummoxed. We didn’t know how to make what we had add up as recordings. 



We talked to Gary Topp, he suggested we call Gary Cormier, he had studio experience. Gary C came in one evening, and we played with it, pulling up guitars and drums, boosting compression. We kept working for a few more days by ourselves, and when we were done, we realized we had something powerful, raw, sophisticated,  hard rocking. Really different than our first demo. We had been expecting to find something like those recordings we had made in June, and that’s why it took a while to figure out what we had. We gave a cassette copy to Gary Cormier, and he said “At first I didn’t get it. than I realized you guys were years ahead of anyone else.”


   I still think that O Boy, Do the Wait, Mony Mony, and WHATGTG are the tuffest 4 song shot of  our seventies recordings. The most direct capture of whatever power we had in the moment, going right to tape.

Femme Fatale (Lou Reed Oakfield Avenue Music)

bass/vocals  Ken Badger.  guitar/vocals  Andy Meyers . drums Bradley Cooper.

Hey Gloria Sing 96 Tears For You  (Meyers/Badger Allowed Sound Music)

guitar/vocals Andy Meyers. bass/vocals Ken Badger. Drums Bradley Cooper.

What Goes On (Lou Reed Oakfield Avenue Music)

guitar/vocals Ken Badger.   bass/vocals Andy Meyers .  drums Bradley Cooper.

Recorded October 10 1977,  The Scenics basement, Toronto, Canada

PUNK HAIKU AUDIO produced by Andy Meyers  ©2012 Dream Tower Productions.  

PUNK HAIKU written by Andy Meyers ©2012 Dream Tower Productions.

If you dig this, please share...