KLF - The Manual is the famous book by the KLF which describes how to get a number one hit. Written by Bill Drummund and Jimmy Cauty, who have become famous as The KLF, The Manual teaches you everything you'll need to know to be successful in the music business. The printed edition is no longer available, but you can read The Manual right here, right now, so enjoy it and learn from it.


WE GUARANTEE THAT WE WILL REFUND THE COMPLETE PRICE OF THIS MANUAL IF YOU ARE UNABLE TO ACHIEVE A NUMBER ONE SINGLE IN THE OFFICIAL (GALLUP) U.K. CHARTS WITHIN THREE MONTHS OF THE PURCHASE OF THIS MANUAL AND ON CONDITION THAT YOU HAVE FULFILLED OUR INSTRUCTIONS TO THE LETTER. TO RECEIVE THIS GUARANTEE PLEASE WRITE TO KLF PUBLICATIONS, BOX 283, HP21 7HG, U.K. WITH YOUR NAME, ADDRESS AND A PHOTOCOPY OF YOUR PURCHASE RECEIPT AND AN S.A.E. YOU WlLL RECEIVE YOUR GUARANTEE WITHIN TWENTY EIGHT DAYS.

THIS BOOK IS DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY OF DON LUCKNOW.

WE WOULD LIKE TO THANK MARIE O'FLAHERTY FOR HER DEDICATION AND HARD WORK ABOVE AND BEYOND THE CALL OF DUTY AND WITHOUT WHOM WE WOULD NOT HAVE COMPLETED THIS MANUAL.

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THE BEGINNING

"HOW TO HAVE A NUMBER ONE - THE EASY WAY"

Be ready to ride the big dipper of the mixed metaphor. Be ready to dip your hands in the lucky bag of life, gather the storm clouds of fantasy and anoint your own genius. Because it is only by following the clear and concise instructions contained in this book that you can realise your childish fantasies of having a Number One hit single in the official U.K. Top 40 thus guaranteeing you a place forever in the sacred annals of Pop History.

Other than achieving a Number One hit single we offer you nothing else. There will be no endless wealth. Fame will flicker and fade and sex will still be a problem. What was once yours for a few days will now enter the public domain.

In parts of this manual we will patronise you. In others we will cheat you. We will lie to you but we will lie to ourselves as well. You will, however, see through our lies and grasp the shining truth within. We will trap ourselves in our own pretensions. Our insights will be shot through with distort rays and we will revel in our own inconsistencies. If parts get too boring just fast forward - all the way to the end if need be.

Now, we all know that pop music is not going to save the world but it does, undeniably, create a filing system for the memory banks. In years to come people will stagger home down lonely streets singing your song to the strains of regurgitated vindaloo, all memory of who was behind the song lost. It is you, though, who will be responsible for bringing back those lost tastes, smells, tears, pangs, forgotten years and missed chances. So enjoy what you can while at Number One.

People equate a Number One with fame, endless wealth and easy sex - a myth that they want to believe and one that the popular press want to see continued. Along with the soap stars, sporting heroes and selected (however distant) members of the Royal Family, pop stars belong to a glittering world of showbiz parties, at one end of the scale, to illicit liaisons, at the other, where their lives are dragged up, dressed up, made up and ultimately destroyed. The celebrated, of course, are apt to fall into a world of drugs, drink, broken marriages and bankruptcy but even this is given the glamour treatment instead of the squalid misery that it is in reality.

Basically, a Number One is seen as the ultimate accolade in pop music. Winning the Gold Medal. The crowning glory.

The majority of Number One's are achieved early on in the artist's public career and before they have been able to establish reputations and build a solid fan base. Most artists are never able to recover from having one and it becomes the millstone around their necks to which all subsequent releases are compared. The fact that a record is Number One automatically means the track is in a very short period of time going to become over exposed and as worthless as last month's catchphrase.

Once or twice a decade an act will burst through with a Number One that hits a national nerve and the public's appetite for the sound and packaging will not be satisfied with the one record. The formula will be untampered with and the success will be repeated a second, a third and sometimes even a fourth time. The prison is then complete; either the artist will be destroyed in their attempt to prove to the world that there are other facets to their creativity or they succumb willingly and spend the rest of their lives as a travelling freak show, peddling a nostalgia for those now far off, carefree days. These are the lucky few. Most never have the chance of a repeat performance and slide ungracefully into years of unpaid tax, desperately delaying all attempts to come to terms with the only rational thing to do - get a nine to five job.

Even if the unsuspecting artiste doesn't know the above, rest assured most of the record business does but for some lemming-like reason refuses to acknowledge it. They continue to view the act's cheaply recorded, debut blockbuster as striking gold and will spend the next few years pumping fortunes into studio time, video budgets and tour support whilst praying for a repeat of the miracle and the volume album sales that bring in the real money.

Of course there are those artists that have worked long and hard building personal artistic confidence, critical acclaim, a loyal following (all strong foundations) and then have a Number One, that is that crowning glory. But even then the disgruntled purists amongst the loyal following desert in disgust at having to share their private club with the unwashed masses.

So what's left? What's the point? What can be achieved when no great financial rewards or long term career prospects allowing for creative freedom can be hoped for, let alone guaranteed? We don't know.

If this book succeeds in becoming Bert Weedon's "Play In A Day" for some lost month in the late eighties we will be happy. If anybody actually gets a Number One by following our instructions we promise them a night out with The JAMS in Madagascar. We will arrange everything. For those that might be offended please read all "he's", "hims" and "his"' as "she's", "hers" and "hers"'. Being blokes it was easier writing it the way we did.

So how do you go about achieving a U.K. Number One? Follow this simple step by step guide:

Firstly, you must be skint and on the dole. Anybody with a proper job or tied up with full time education will not have the time to devote to see it through. Also, being on the dole gives you a clearer perspective on how much of society is run. If you are already a musician stop playing your instrument. Even better, sell the junk. It will become clearer later on but just take our word for it for the time being. Sitting around tinkering with the Portastudio or musical gear (either ancient or modern) just complicates and distracts you from the main objective. Even worse than being a musician is being a musician in a band. Real bands never get to Number One - unless they are puppets.

If you are in a band you will undoubtedly be aware of the petty squabbles and bitching that develops within them. This only festers and grows proportionately as the band gets bigger and no band ever grows out of it. All bands end in tantrums, tears and bitter acrimony. The myth of a band being gang of lads out "against" the world (read as "to change", "to shag" or "to save the world") is pure wishful thinking to keep us all buying the records and reading the journals. Mind you, it's a myth that many band members want to believe themselves.

So if in a band, quit. Get out. Now.

That said, it can be very helpful to have a partner, someone who you can bounce ideas off and vice versa. Any more than two of you and factions develop and you may as well be in politics. There is no place for the nostalgia of the four lads who shook the world or the last gang in town.

Watch Top of the Pops religiously every week and learn from it. When the time comes it is through T.O.T.P. that you will convince the largest cross section of the British public to go out and buy your record. Remember, Top of the Pops is all powerful and has outlasted all the greats (Cliff being the exception to the rule). Taking the angst-ridden, "I'm above all this!" outsider stance only gets you so far and even then takes sodden years and ends up with you alienating vast chunks of the Great British public who don't want to be confronted with Jim Reid's skin problem on a Thursday evening. I repeat, take Top of the Pops to your bosom and learn to love the platform that matters the most.

YOU CAN BEGIN ANY SUNDAY EVENING

You can begin any Sunday evening by listening to Bruno Brookes introducing the Top 40 Show between 4pm and 7pm. You don't have to sit down and dissect and study it, just have it on and make the tea. After that do whatever you do on a Sunday evening but before you go to sleep that night you are going to have to come up with a name for your record company. Nothing too clever or inspired. Something that sounds solid. You just want something that's not going to be offensive and people are going to be happy doing business with.

Monday morning. Check that the company name that you have chosen is still sound. Be up, dressed and out by 9am. You are going to have to get used to getting up earlier; no lying in until noon now. From now on every time you telephone someone on business remember to give them your name and the company you are from (even though it's only you). Don't bother getting headed note paper. People waste a lot of time, effort and money having stationery produced when getting a new business off the ground. People in the late eighties can see through the smart graphics.

Spend the remainder of the morning amassing the rest of the tools you will need for the job in hand. These are:

1. A record player (the crappier the better as long as it actually works). Mass appeal records can always transcend any apparatus they are played on; the exp ensive set up is only for judging coffee table records.

2. Copies of the latest in the series of "Now That's What I Call Music" and "Hits" LPs.

3. A couple of the most recent dance compilation LPs ("The Techno Sounds of Dagenham Volume Vl", etc.).

4. All the 7" singles in your house that ever made the Top 5. (If there are any other records you want to add to the pile make sure there is a very good reason why they should be there and make sure they were never released as indie records or had any punky associations.)

5. A copy of the latest edition of the Guinness Book of British Hit Singles.

6. A copy of the Music Week Directory. This you will have to send off for. Address your envelope to: Sylvia Calver, Morgan Grampian Plc, Royal Sovereign House, 40 Beresford Street, London SE18 6BQ (telephone 01-854-2200) with a cheque or postal order for �15.00. It will take about ten days to get to you.

7. A hard back note book and a fine point, black ball Pentel.

If you do not already have any of the above, or are unable to borrow them, then we are afraid you are going to have to spend some real cash. Hopefully, this will be the last time in the whole project that you will have to use up some of your Giro, other than the odd bus fare and phone call.

If you have a telephone where you live and it hasn't been disconnected yet, great. If not, buy a phone card, the more expensive the better. Using coin operated telephones is crap for the obvious reasons: there are usually queues, are often vandalised and the money runs out thus making you look like an inefficient dick head and not a future Number One. Another useful phone hint: never leave somebody else's flat, house or office without first having made and received at least one call thus spreading your overheads on to some of the people who will enjoy basking in the reflected glory once you are at Number One.

If you have all that done and it's not yet one o'clock, start listening to the "Hits" and "Now" compilation LPs from end to end. Of course, your conditioned brain will tell you it's all a pile of shite and pale into insignificance compared to the Golden Era in Pop, when you were on the cusp of your adolescent years. Dig deeper into your heart and you will know that you are just lying to yourself. All eras in pop music are golden ages, or will be looked upon as such by the only generation that matters at any given time. Not only are all ages in chart pop equal, chart pop never changes, it only appears to change on its surface level.

Unwrap pop's layers and what we are left with is the same old plate of meat and two veg that have kept generations of pop pickers well satisfied. The emotional appetite that chart pop satisfies is constant. The hunger is forever. What does change is the technology this is always on the march. At some point in the future science will develop a commodity that will satisfy this emotional need in a more efficient way. There was a period in our own prehistory when Top Tens and Number Ones didn't exist, when tea time on Sunday wasn't synonymous with the brand new chart run down. For the time being we have our Top Tens and Number Ones and while science marches to the beat that will finally destroy it all, it also comes up with the goods that will satisfy our other endless appetite, that of apparent change. All records in the Top Ten (especially those that get to Number One) have far more in common with each other than with whatever genre they have developed from or sprung out of.

The "cool cats" and hipsters of the early sixties might have thought modern jazz was going to finally break through when "Take Five" made the Hit Parade. The blue rinse brigade feared the downfall of decent society when The Pistols made Number One with "God Save The Queen" or the musos predicted real music was about to die because of the 1988 rash of DJ records. Had you played some free jazz to ninety five per cent of the people who had made "Take Five" a smash, they would have run for cover behind the latest release by Pat Boone. The Pistols might have been swearing on T.V. inciting a generation of kids to "Get pissed! Destroy!" but if "God Save The Queen" had not stuck rigidly to The Golden Rules* (*THESE WILL BE EXPLAINED LATER), The Pistols would never have seen the inside of the Top Ten.

In certain clubs across our nation in 1988, DJs were playing the latest 12" acid tracks to packed houses of the drugged and delirious. If any of these DJs had any ambitions of following in the paths of Tim Simenon and Mark Moore to the top of the charts they have to acknowledge the fact that what they have learned out there behind their Technics can only provide them with the fashionable icing when it comes to the real action inside the Top Ten and the battle for the Number One slot is on. They must also follow The Golden Rules.

In our lifetime Great Britain has been pretty good at coming up with or reinterpreting a constant flow of entertaining subcults that young people can either lose or find themselves in. With most of these subcults comes some kind of music. Our cult-hungry media grabs whatever it is and splatters it all over the place. Whatever music makers follow in its wake are bid for by the more desperate sections of the music industry. Once signed, a process will begin in an attempt to transform whatever noise that was made by the ensembles into something that will fit The Golden Rules of chart pop. The process involves plenty of trial and error and huge sums of never seen cash.

So, if one of these ensembles find themselves in the higher regions of the charts and their sights are set on the Top Spot, their fellow subcult members interpret this as the Walls of Jericho finally crumbling, or at the very least, their boys working as moles from the inside. All that in actual fact has happened is, unwittingly or not, the Golden Rules have been adhered to and the nouvelle subcult has attained maximum media exposure. Although the latest subculture might be useful to give each potential chart record its attitude gloss, it must be remembered that this particular attitude might put as many people off the otherwise perfectly acceptable pop record, as be attracted to it. Another useful hint when it comes to subcult attitude gloss: it often helps not to be purists. Water it down. Sugar it up. Some of the above Tony James understood. Some he most definitely did not.

Of course, there is another argument; "demands are created and appetites stimulated. Pop music is the worst example of this. There are wicked music moguls cynically manipulating the hearts and minds of young teenagers so as to get them to part with their pocket money." This is a worthless argument pursued by those unlucky ones who have never really been moved by the glories of pop music. They may as well have never been teenagers.

THE RECORDING STUDIO

DON'T BE TEMPTED TO SKIP THIS SECTION ON STUDIOS. IT MUST BE READ OVER LUNCH - BEFORE BOOKING YOUR STUDIO.

The recording studio is the place where you will record your Number One hit single. There are hundreds of recording studios scattered across the country, from the north of Scotland to deepest Cornwall.

THE STUDIO OWNER

The majority of studios are privately owned by someone who is actively involved in the running of the place on a daily basis. Very few are owned by the major record companies. These owners are usually very enthusiastic and encouraging types who have a long, broad and deep love of all things musical; often they have been musicians themselves but have decided to knock their days on the road on the head and get into what they hoped would be the more lucrative and stable business of owning a studio. Unfortunately for them, this is usually not the case and they will have to spend the rest of their lives seriously in debt.

The studio owner will often have a very realistic and pragmatic view of the musical business. He will have been through the mill, r idden the rough ride, seen spotty oiks come into his studio hardly able to roll their own and, within what seems a matter of months, become internationally reknowned and respected musicians whose opinions are eagerly sought on anything from the destruction of the Amazon Rain Forests to the continued subsidy of the local bus service, whilst developing an unhealthy appetite for cocaine.

A fact that is continually on the studio owner's mind is that there are far more studios flogging studio time than there are clients willing to pay for it. This creates a desperate competition between studios to encourage YOU the client to use them. One outcome of this competition is for the studios to continually get themselves as far into hock as their banks will let them go, enabling them to invest in the latest recording studio hardware. This hardware they hope will act as the bait to get YOU the client to book the studio. It also fulfils a secondary role, that of keeping the studio's eager, young, upwardly mobile engineer loyal to the studio and prevent him defecting to a better equipped rival. We will go further into the intriguing subject of the recording studio engineer later on in this book.

THE STUDIO MANAGER

The studio manager (as opposed to the studio owner) is the person who looks after all aspects of the smooth and efficient running of the studio. In smaller studios this is often the owner or he has a personal assistant (P.A.) who handles most of the job for him. In large studios these are usually a breed of highly efficient women whose matriarchal presence can be felt in all areas and at all times.

ENGINEERS

There will also be a small posse of recording studio engineers on call, from the tea boy who started last Monday and hasn't been sacked yet, to the senior engineer. All engineers start life as tea boys and are officially called "tape ops" (the person who switches the tape recorders on and off). To put it simply, the recording studio engineer's job is to put the noise that musicians create on tape. Large studios will have a maintenance engineer. If any malfunction occurs with the studio hardware it is his job to get it working again - fast. Smaller studios usually have one on call.

THE STUDIO

Studios are in the most unlikeliest of buildings and the most unlikeliest of settings. Although all studios want to attract as much business as possible, they do not want to advertise their presence to local thugs who might fancy breaking in and getting their hands on a few thousand pounds worth of gear.

The simplest classification given to studios is the amount of tracks their tape machines have. This can be either four, eight, sixteen, twenty four, thirty two or forty eight track studios. Four, eight and sixteen track are only used for making demos these days and demos are a thing of the past. You will find engineers everywhere trying to impress you with the fact that "Sergeant Pepper" was recorded on a four track. This is of course is as relevant as the fact that no JCB's were used in the construction of the Great Pyramid.

A twenty four track is what you will need for the initial recording, thirty two tracks are still pretty rare. Forty eight tracks are where two twenty four track machines are synchronised together. You might need one of these when it comes to the final mixing stages of your future Number One.

A twenty four track means that your engineer will be working with a multi-track tape recorder that has twenty four separate tracks on which he can have twenty four individual sounds recorded at any one time. At the mixing stage these twenty four separate sounds will be simultaneously channelled through the mixing desk where all these separate sounds are tampered with and (hopefully) enhanced before being channelled out again and recorded for posterity by a two track (stereo) tape machine. This is THE MASTER TAPE.

The other common way that recording studios are classified is whether the desk is computer assisted or not. For the initial recording you will only need a manually operated desk. A computer assisted desk is used when the recording reaches the mixing stage and the engineer is having to juggle with a minimum of twenty four tracks simultaneously. The computer will assist by giving the engineer at least an extra twenty two hands and twenty four perfect memories - an obvious added bonus in these techno days.

SSL (Solid State Logic) is still the most common computer assisted make of desk and still the only one to insist upon. But all that could change in the fast moving world of studio hardware. From now on, we will refer to all computer desks as SSL (it's a bit of a Hoover/ Sellotape situation).

A traditional recording studio comprises of: THE CONTROL ROOM which houses the mixing desk, tape machines, outboard gear, engineers and producers and THE RECORDING ROOM, full of all sorts of strange things to either deaden the live sound or liven the dead sound. This is where the traditional musician performs. There will also be a recreation room with a television, pool table and computer games to keep musicians amused whilst the traditional producer casts his spells without being hindered by the traditional musicians' paranoid presence.

In your case all the action will be taking place in the control room. The above scenario is almost quaint, but more of all that later in the "Five Days In A Twenty Four Track Studio" chapter.

Many of the more successful studios have expanded their complexes so as to contain more than one studio. They might have a number of studios offering a range of services, from four track to forty eight track, SSL and manual and, more than likely nowadays, a programming suite replacing the need for a four/eight/sixteen track demo studio.

The way that recording studios base their rates (what they want you to pay them) can vary from studio to studio. The standard quoted by each studio is their hourly rate; for twenty four track this can range from �20 per hour to �150 per hour.

If it were only that simple. The studio manager's only way of proving his worth to the world is by transforming all the great tracts of space on his wall chart calendar pinned to the board above his desk into something that is crammed with blue, yellow, red and green little bits of sticky back paper, each signifying another session booked. (Studio managers will hike round a last year's crowded wall chart calendar as a C.V. when looking for a new job.) This is all good news for you. That studio manager will be willing to offer you all sorts of favourable deals just to prevent a day slipping by without the corresponding box on the calendar not having a coloured sticker on it.

Deals can be based on:-

1. INTRODUCTORY OFFER. This will be an obvious one for you.

2. DOWN TIME. This is usually the time between when the official client finishes (usually 2am) and starts again (usually 10am).

3. BLOCK BOOKING. This would only happen if a client wanted a month or more to record an LP.

4. CANCELLATION TIME. This is when a client has cancelled studio time at the very last minute and the studio is desperate to sell it off.

5. REGULAR CUSTOMER RATE. Not applicable to you but just for reference. By the time you use the same studio for the third time you should be trying to pull this one.

6. LOCK OUT. This is when, although you may be working in a studio for ten hours a day, the studio cannot sell off the remaining fourteen hours as down time to another client. Most lock out deals are based on them being the equivalent of twelve hours. So, if you were to work for a sixteen hour stretch you would be getting yourself four free hours.

The more expensive the hourly rate a studio charges the better equipped and flash it will be. You won't need an expensive studio. Expensive studios are for major record companies to put their major (or would-be major) artists in, where they can spend as long as it takes to make their internationally-sounding master work, while the decor and amenities of the place neither challenges their ego or standing in the market place. These establishments and the engineers who work in them are only ever interested in the LP that costs at least �150,000 to make, not a cheeky little record like yours that's going to surprise everybody by getting to Number One. What you want is the moderately priced studio whose gear is intact and where all concerned are as hungry and enthusiastic as you are to prove that they can do it.

Although a Number One single cannot sound like an indie trash record, they do not have to sound like they have cost a million to make, unlike a Number One LP.

MONDAY AFTERNOON (BOOK THE STUDIO NOW)

You are going to need to book five consecutive days lock out in a manual operated (non SSL) desk, twenty four track studio hopefully starting from the following Monday. Your local studios can be tracked down in the Yellow Pages under the "Recording Services/Sound" heading. It should be apparent from the way they list themselves whether they are twenty four track or not. If by chance there are none in your area, get straight down to the local reference library where they will have Yellow Pages covering the whole country. Check the neighbouring regions for studios and get some names down in your note book. If the studio you end up using is further than you can travel to on a daily basis, this will be no problem; all studios are only too willing to organise accommodation as part of the over all deal.

Before you start dialling make a few notes:-

1. Pay no more than �40 per hour (exclusive of VAT) for the basic rates.

2. Ensure it includes fees for the best available engineer.

3. Be aware that you will also be charged for the tape you use and extra gear that is hired in specially for your session. Remember to get the rates for these.

If you smoke it's time to light up, then pick up the telephone and dial. Ask for the studio manager. Just remember, the studio manager is going to be out to impress YOU the potential client. They won't be thinking: "Who's this dick head calling up who doesn't know what they're talking about?" They will be too worried that you are thinking they are the total dick head and on that basis will book a rival studio. Give him your name and the company you are from and with the information we have already given you start doing your first deal.

First checking to see they have the facilities you require, the studio will then try to flog you down time or odd days here and there. Hold firm. You have got to have five clear consecutive days and you want to start the following Monday with their best in-house engineer. If they have not got, or are unable to shift any of their other clients to fit you in, tell them you will have to look elsewhere. They will be getting nervous now, as they might be just about to lose anything from �1,000 to �100,000 worth or business. So, when he says they do have the five consecutive days but not starting until the tenth (or whatever date they quote) tell him to pencil it in ("pencil" means provisionally booked) and you will get back to him in a couple of days to let him know either way. It might be worth having a bit of a chat with him about what other clients they have had in lately. Ask if they have had any hits come out of the studio, that sort of thing. This helps you build up a bit of a vibe where the studio's at. Then call the next studio on your list and repeat the process.

Once you have got through your list of studios in your local(ish) area go and put the kettle on, take a leak and make yourself a cup of tea (coffee if you have to) as the next move you have to make has no simple ABC answer.

Between you sipping this cup of tea and getting to Number One you are going to be involved with a lot of people along the way and from all these people you can learn a lot. Whether they are just a tea boy or an international super star you bump into down at TV. Centre while doing Top of the Pops, everybody involved in this music game has some sort of insight or angle on it all. Listen to what they all have to say but take nothing as gospel; you are going to have to start building up your own picture of how it all moves.

When you do meet people that have had some sort of success it will be natural for you to feel impressed and give a lot more credence to what they have to say, rather than to what the tea boy says. Just remember that they in reality will have very little genuine idea of how they arrived at their success or what they should be doing next in their career to prevent it from crashing to the ground. Under what might seem their confident exterior will be lurking a severe paranoia that they will be found out for what they are, a charlatan with a series of lucky breaks. With all these people you meet you must make them feel involved and that you respect their opinion and help. Everybody likes to feel part of a success and you must let them feel that. In doing this we are not trying to encourage you into becoming an obsequious slimey toad, but to make you aware that the enthusiasm and goodwill of all these people is vital to the success of your project. They deserve your respect.

At times you will be told things, given advice that goes against the grain of the way you have already been thinking. Your gut reaction might be "Sod that! I know what I'm doing!" So before blurting out your condemnation of their ideas, let it filter through you; don't try and over rationalise or look for the logical answer. Let it simmer for a bit and then go with your now more balanced gut reaction.

Don't hide behind any naive "no compromise" shields, the only thing you must not compromise on is your final goal: that Olympian slot on Top of the Pops.

Only YOU can make each decision along the way. Don't look for others to make them for you. If something goes wrong remember you are the only one who is ultimately responsible.

When you have drunk your tea and had a look out the window (just to check the world is still there) you are going to have to decide which of the possible studios you are going to commit to. That decision should not just be based on the studio that can offer you the five consecutive days the earliest and at the best rate. All that should be balanced with something in the tone of the studio manager's voice. The one that sounds understanding. The one that you feel could be on YOUR side. Then make your telephone call and confirm your booking. If it is now after 3pm and you have your studio booked, switch on Radio One and listen to "Steve Wright In The Afternoon". Viewed from a certain angle the man is a genius. Find that angle and view. He is the most popular DJ in the country. He has been the heartbeat of the British psyche since 1985. You don't even have to like him to be awed by him.

This above paragraph is not an attempt at obvious irony, it is for real. If you can't find that angle then I am afraid you have wasted your money in buying this manual.

Spend the rest of the afternoon doing whatever you do that gets your mind rolling: a bus ride into town, a stride across the moors, a burn up on the freeway, two hours on the circle line, (whatever it is) and let your mind ponder on two topics: MONEY and A GROUP NAME.

There will be a group name that will be the obvious one for you. Nothing too long winded or desperately clever, but at the same time one that is just right for the times we live in. Don't try too hard, just let it float up. The other topic, MONEY, we have dedicated the next chapter to.

MONEY

Money is a very strange concept. There will be points in the forthcoming months when you might not have the change in your pockets to get the bus into town at the same time as you are talking to people on the telephone in terms of tens of thousands of pounds. Some of the following might seem contradictory but in matters of money they often are. We spoke earlier of how being on the dole gives you a clearer vision of how society works. What it doesn't do is give you a clear idea of how money works.

After you spend any time on the dole you either resign yourself to the economic level your life is at and cope - or things start to slide. The rent gets into the arrears. The electricity goes unpaid. The gas board threatens to cut you off. When this starts happening a paranoia begins creeping in telling you modern society is geared to working against the individual and YOU in particular. The late eighties reaction to this is invariably to realise that the only way out is for you to become suddenly very rich and none of this will matter any more. You will start to fantasise about becoming very wealthy and how very shortly it will happen to you. You only have to make the smart move, find the right key, make the right contact, be discovered for what you are. Your fantasy will be fuelled by everything.

Nobody wins the pools. There is no such thing as a fast buck. Nobody gets rich quick. El Dorado will never be found. Wealth is a slow build, an attitude to life. I'm afraid the old adage that if you look after the pennies the pounds will look after themselves is always true. That said, you must be willing to risk everything - that's everything you haven't got as well as you have got - or nothing will happen.

The reason we say all that stuff above about "there is no such thing as a fast buck" is because we are bombarded with information about eternally adolescent pop stars who have just done deals worth "this much" or have just grossed "that much" on their last U.S. tour. Firstly, the figures quoted (if true) are always the gross sums, not what's left after all the necessary expenses have been taken into account. Secondly they will be encouraged - even pressurised - into adopting life-styles that will eat through whatever is left of the vast sums that have been quoted at us in no time at all. Unless they are able to sustain or repeat at regular intervals their quoted financial luck they will soon be back to a no money situation. We are afraid those on the dole who have let their rent go into arrears, their electricity go unpaid and with the creeping paranoia about this evil society, will be the same ones who if they were to achieve sudden wealth would in no time at all be owing insurmountable back debts to the tax man, have managers demand their percentage long after the money was spent and swapping their paranoia about society for paranoia peppered with bitterness that they had been "ripped off" all the way along the line. Money, as often quoted, is not the root of all evil. We do know WHAT the root of all evil is. That is to be explained in one of our future manuals and if we were to tell you the answer now you would not bother trying to have a Number One.

We do not expect this chapter on money to have fulfilled in any direct, practical way in making the Number One slot but it might have helped dispel any illusions you might have had.

BANKS AND THEIR DIRECT AND PRACTICAL FUNCTIONS

Our age will be remembered in the future as a period in history when banks went to ridiculous and unparalleled lengths to compete with each other to win the allegiances of the young and account free. If future historians were to base their research on what young Britain was like in the late eighties solely on the substance of bank adverts, you would definitely be rated as the most despicable types since we were kicked out of the Garden.

So please, if you do take any notice of the bank and money ads - forget it. That said, we are afraid you are going to need a bank account and the better the relationship you can develop with your bank the easier things will be. Our relationships with banks have always been fraught with difficulties.

Banks are in the business of making money by lending it. The more they lend the more they make. They want us, the punter, to become addicted for life to the false sense of security it gives us. Banks will go to extremes thinking up new and ingenious ways of getting us to borrow money from them. First and foremost they want us to get into property: "Buy a house," because with your property as security they can always lend you more and more money. If things were to go badly wrong and you weren't able to keep up the interest payments they can always force you out of house and home and get their money back that way.

Of course, it would be bad for the banks if they were seen to be throwing too many families onto the street or forcing business' to the wall in order to redeem their loans. They would always prefer to lend more money so as to help pay off the interest on the earlier loans. Banks have spent millions over the past few years trying to destroy the public's old impression of the bank manager in bowler, brolly and pinstripe, to the approachable and amiable sort of chap who will attempt at all times to say "Yes!". They have only done this, not because they like being nicer, but to seduce you into coming in and borrowing more money. Remember, when you are going in to see a bank manager you're going to see a pusher; a pusher dealing in one of the purest, most addictive drugs - money.

If for some reason you already have some property (or have a family who are foolish enough to indulge your wilder whims and provide you with collateral) you will be at a disadvantage. As you sit there in the sucker's seat in the manager's office he will smell the scent of securities. He will be checking your wrist veins to sink his syringe in and all the time he will be telling you about the Genesis CD he has just bought or how you would never guess it, but he used to be a punk and stills treasures his copy of "Neat Neat Neat" by the Damned.

So it is best to go in there skint and with no securities. Of course there is no point in asking to borrow any money. Just put yourself in the bank manager's position; some unlikely youth comes in, looking like nothing in their ad campaigns and makes some outrageous request for a �20,000 unguaranteed loan to finance the making of a Number One hit single. Would you let them have the money? If this lad were to start brandishing a copy of this publication by The Timelords, you would advise him that he had been had and should get a refund on the book instantly before going out to look for an available vacancy on a youth training scheme.

As we said in the introductory chapter having no money sharpens the wits. Forces you never to make the wrong decision. There is no safety net to catch you when you fall.

If you already have an account with a bank make the appointment with the manger or his assistant. If not, get into any branch (the nearest to where you live will do as long as it's one of the big five). Open a current account and make that appointment. Do this on Monday afternoon while you're out and about. The appointment should be for some time that week. Just tell them you are setting up a small, independent record label - no big plans yet, just aiming to put out the one single and see how it goes. Tell him there will be a couple of times when you will have to issue cheques before others have come in. No big stuff. You will let him know beforehand. The most important thing is to get a rapport going with him; attempt to keep him in touch with what is happening over the next few weeks.

As well as having the pusher's instincts, the bank manager has the instincts of the old mother hen. The small business accounts are his baby chicks and he loves to watch them grow. If you were to go in and try and convince him of world domination plans he could only be disappointed with whatever results you had. It is necessary that he should feel part of it all when everything starts to take off. It will be then that you will need his serious help. It will be then that you will have to find �17,000 by the end of the week and there is no sight of anything coming in until the beginning of the next month.

MONDAY EVENING

Spend Monday evening around at some mate's house. See if he has any records worth borrowing. More importantly, tell him what you are up to and see if he has any great ideas worth using. It is a little known fact but when it comes to creative ideas the majority of people are creative geniuses. Your mate is bound to be one of them. It's just that all these folks never dare to translate their creative brilliance into reality. We guess a couple of libraries could be filled with the reasons why they never attempt it. Something to do with mother and when she first said, "No!"

That night, don't forget to set the alarm for 8am the next morning. Before you do whatever it is you do before you go to sleep, see what group names are beginning to float up (mates are also a great source of group names).

TUESDAY MORNING

The history of pop music has been littered with all sorts of unlikely people plucked from obscurity and chucked on top of the heap. Pop music would be thrown out of the Showbiz Ball if it could not provide its full quota of rags-to-riches stories. We have all heard the old tale about how it was the downtrodden working class background that provided the true grit passion in the artist's work that won the hearts and minds of the masses. The other side of the same coin is that it is because of the down trodden and working class background that the smart middle class machine was able to unwittingly, maybe, but ruthlessly all the same exploit these raw and gullible talents to the full. With each new generation in pop music there comes along some sort of revolution where supposedly the kids are able to get up and do it for themselves: skiffle bands, protest singers, beat groups, punk rockers, U2 and Casio kids. Of course, the kids do very little for themselves. They might believe they are. Their public are encouraged to believe they are. All that is happening is that the new young, waving fields of corn are allowed to grow full and ripe before a very strange combined harvester will come along and pick the few lucky ears of corn while the rest of the field cheer, whither and die. A new harvest is always needed. 1988 saw the latest wou~d-be revolution happen in pop music.

The DJ, with his pair of Technics and box of records can make it to the top with a little help from a sample machine, squiggly bass line and beat box. Yet again this was interpreted as the masses finally liberating the means of making music from all the undesirables and now terminally unhip. These records were reportedly made for very little money. The common ingredient these records had that was far more important than the icing of "Now" style that covers the age old Golden Rules of Pop, is that they are being made by complete unknowns. No hype. No massive record company advances. No front covers in the rock papers. No loyal following built up over months of solid touring. They have all been released by what is commonly known as Indie record labels (however, this is not the place to define indie). Since the rise of the indie label in the days of post-punk they have provided a healthy means for no hopers, outsiders and terminally angry types to unload their angst. They have also proved rich hunting grounds for the major record companies looking for fresh meat.

The indie record companies were cottage industries fuelled by enthusiasm, passion and belief. Some grew, became strong and established international links, whilst others withered and died. The strong ones were able to provide plafforms for the artists who were able to build up large and loyal followings to develop and prosper, even have moderate hit single success. The Smiths and New Order on Rough Trade and Factory respectively were the obvious champions in this.

It was always understood that it was only the major record companies that had the infrastructure, the money, the efficiency, the might, the power and the means of persuasion to take singles all the way to THE TOP. Like the giants of Fleet Street weighed down by ancient union agreements and strapped to out of date means of production, the major record companies are beginning to look like lumbering dinosaurs.

Over the past ten years anybody with overtly commercial material would never have considered using the indie network. Everybody with an eye on the Top Spot knew that the indie scene was for the spotty and marginal and people who celebrated the glories of being spotty and marginal. The majors were secure in their knowledge of this.

All through these years, alongside the scratchy and austere indie labels, has grown what might be termed the independent service industries, providing services that previously only the majors could command: numerous pluggers, publicists, sales forces and, most important of all, reliable and comprehensive distribution. All of these independent service industries are now highly organised and competing to cut deals with YOU the much sought after client. Each of these individual services will have a section dedicated to their own peculiar practices.

However efficient and organised these service industries became, they could only do so much with the spotty and marginal. But it was only a matter of time before something came along from within the indie scene that was neither "spotty" nor "marginal" and had definite mass appeal. That record was "Pump Up The Volume" by MARRS. It was a turning point. That record not only became Number One in the UK it became an international smash.

The "indie scene" in this country since then has been filled with a new found confidence: everything can be achieved. It was as if having a Number One single was the last bastion of the majors. Certain cynics will point fingers and whinge that the indies of today will be just the majors of tomorrow. Wasn't Richard Branson and his Virgin Records the ultimate hippy ideal in the early seventies? We won't deny that behind the majority of indie labels is a would-be Branson, whose stunted megalomania will undoubtedly be reflected on the way he brings up his children.

From now on, whether or not the technology makes the traditional musician's craft redundant, the young creative type will become more aware that he is able to control more areas of the way his music is communicated to the masses. The manipulation of this control will become a very important creative form of expression in itself.

Of course there is a place for the major record company in the future as there is still a place for brass bands, large national orchestras and Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals. The precise function the major record companies will play in the music business as we turn the corner into the 21 st century is something we are not going to bother guessing at. One thing they and we suppose all major international companies are good at is moving the goal posts; probably because they owned them in the first place.

As more and more creators of music begin to realise that it is possible to make records themselves and steer those records in whatever direction they want, at the same time as retaining all the copyright in the product thus a bigger chunk of the action, the attractiveness of signing your soul and its products away from now to eternity (well at least fifty years after the day you die) will become to look rather silly. Nothing to do with ideology, just straight forward business sense.

Twenty five years ago no unknown artist signing to a major record company would dare demand the right to only record their own material. The success of the Beatles changed that. In the past ten years it has become the trend for the writer (of songs) to retain the copyright of their work and either just get the publishers to administrate it, or have their own accountants do the lot.

If the rise of the UK indie label can be seen as a positive offspring of punk sensibilities, a very negative one was the cult of the very big advance. This can be traced back to the supposed situationalist shenanigans of Malcolm McClaren. The idea that the major record companies were some how being ripped off and some clever scam was being pulled was totally false. There was no Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle. The four living ex-members of the band have nothing left except fading memories of their glory days, like fuddled old soldiers; a front man trapped by his own cynicism and a corpse forever young. While the record companies and publishers involved are still getting bigger and stronger and the employees are busy negotiating their next rise over the expense account lunch. It's as if Malcolm never understood Faust.

Another point that we can throw in at this juncture is that down through the history of pop music the cult of the svengali figure has often risen. Svengalis might be very interesting characters but invariably make bad businessmen. They spend too much of their time cultivating their own image and coping with their own creative urges. We repeat, it has only been possible since the beginning of 1988 to single-handedly achieve what this manual is all about. The myth of the major label deal is totally blown. Their might and power is too slow moving. Their seduction techniques threadbare and dated. The barn door cannot be closed. While the new technology might be the downfall of any kinds of standards in the world of television, in both printing and music the future is ours.

JUST AFTER 1 PM TUESDAY

Just after 1 pm Tuesday telephone the studio that you have booked and tell them you are going to need someone who can programme, ideally a programmer who can play the keyboards. Every studio can get one for you. This programmer is going to be the person who will provide sample, originate, compute, even play all the music you will need on your record. They usually have a boffin's mentality mixed with the talent of a musical wizard. We are afraid they will not be included in the price of the studio, but the studio manager should be able to sort out the going rate for you and cut the deal with him. Get him booked for the full five days.

Have a spot of lunch and read the following chapter. It will allay any doubts you might have in your talents as a hit song writer and explains the Golden Rules. Between now and next Monday morning you are going to have to come up with the goods. Those goods are out there waiting for you to find before the others get there.

THE GOLDEN RULES

Leiber and Stoller, Goffin and King, Berry Gordy, Chinn and Chapman and Peter Waterman have all understood the Golden Rules thoroughly. The reason why Waterman will not continue churning out Number Ones from now until the end of the century and the others had only limited reigns, was not because lady luck's hand strayed elsewhere or that fashion moved on, it is because after you have had a run of success and your coffers are full, keeping strictly to the G.R.'s is boring. It all becomes empty and meaningless. Some have become emotionally or business wise embroiled with artists whose own ambitions now lie elsewhere and far from merely having Number One's. Lieber and Stoller could walk into a studio tomorrow and have a world wide Number One in three months if they were so motivated.

The basic Golden Rules as far as they apply to writing a debut single that can go to Number One in the U.K. Charts are as follows: Do not attempt the impossible by trying to work the whole thing out before you go into the studio. Working in a studio has to be a fluid and creative venture but at all times remember at the end of it you are going to have to have a 7" version that fulfils all the criteria perfectly. Do not try and sit down and write a complete song. Songs that have been written in such a way and reached Number One can only be done by the true song writing genius and be delivered by artists with such forceful convincing passion that the world HAS TO listen. You know the sort of thing, "Sailing" by Rod Stewart, "Without You" by Nilsson What the Golden Rules can provide you with is a framework that you can slot the component parts into.

Firstly, it has to have a dance groove that will run all the way through the record and that the current 7" buying generation will find irresistible. Secondly, it must be no longer than three minutes and thirty seconds (just under 3'20 is preferable). If they are any longer Radio One daytime DJs will start fading early or talking over the end, when the chorus is finally being hammered home - the most important part of any record. Thirdly, it must consist of an intro, a verse, a chorus, second verse, a second chorus, a breakdown section, back into a double length chorus and outro. Fourthly, lyrics. You will need some, but not many.

CAUSALITY PLUS A PINCH OF MYSTICISM

It is going to be a construction job, fitting bits together. You will have to find the Frankenstein in you to make it work. Your magpie instincts must come to the fore. If you think this just sounds like a recipe for some horrific monster, be reassured by us, all music can only be the sum or part total of what has gone before. Every Number One song ever written is only made up from bits from other songs. There is no lost chord. No changes untried. No extra notes to the scale or hidden beats to the bar. There is no point in searching for originality. In the past, most writers of songs spent months in their lonely rooms strumming their guitars or bands in rehearsals have ground their way through endless riffs before arriving at the song that takes them to the very top. Of course, most of them would be mortally upset to be told that all they were doing was leaving it to chance before they stumbled across the tried and tested. They have to believe it is through this sojourn they arrive at the grail; the great and original song that the world will be unable to resist.

So why don't all songs sound the same? Why are some artists great, write dozens of classics that move you to tears, say it like it's never been said before, make you laugh, dance, blow your mind, fall in love, take to the streets and riot? Well, it's because although the chords, notes, harmonies, beats and words have all been used before their own soul shines through; their personality demands attention. This doesn't just come via the great vocalist or virtuoso instrumentalist. The Techno sound of Detroit, the most totally linear programmed music ever, lacking any human musicianship in its execution reeks of sweat, sex and desire. The creators of that music just press a few buttons and out comes - a million years of pain and lust.

We await the day with relish that somebody dares to make a dance record that consists of nothing more than an electronically programmed bass drum beat that continues playing the fours monotonously for eight minutes. Then, when somebody else brings one out using exactly the same bass drum sound and at the same beats per minute (B.P.M.), we will all be able to tell which is the best, which inspires the dance floor to fill the fastest, which has the most sex and the most soul. There is no doubt, one will be better than the other. What we are basically saying is, if you have anything in you, anything unique, what others might term as originality, it will come through whatever the component parts used in your future Number One are made up from.

Creators of music who desperately search originality usually end up with music that has none because no room for their spirit has been left to get through. The complete history of the blues is based on one chord structure, hundreds of thousands of songs using the same three basic chords in the same pattern. Through this seemingly rigid formula has come some of the twentieth century's greatest music. In our case we used parts from thrcc very famous songs, Gary Glitter's "Rock 'n' Roll", "The Doctor Who Theme" and the Sweet's "Blockbuster" and pasted them together, neither of us playing a note on the record. We know that the finished record contains as much of us in it as if we had spent three months locked away somewhere trying to create our master-work. The people who bought the record and who probably do not give a blot about the inner souls of Rockman Rock or King Boy D knew they were getting a record of supreme originality.

Don't worry about being accused of being a thief. Even if you were to, you have not got the time to take the trial and error route.

The simplest thing to do would be to flick through your copy of the Guinness Book of Hits, find a smash from a previous era and do a cover of it, dressing it up in the clothes of today. Every year there is at least a couple of artists who get their debut Number One this way. From the eighties we have already had:

Dave Stewart and Barbara Gaskin "It's My Party" Roxy Music "Jealous Guy" Soft Cell "Tainted Love" Paul Young "Wherever I Lay My Hat" Captain Sensible "Happy Talk" Neil "Hole In My Shoe" Tiffany "I Think We're Alone Now" Wet Wet Wet "With A Little Help" Yazz "The Only Way Is Up"

There are, however, the negative facts in taking this route. Using an already proven song can give you a false sense of security when you are in the studio recording. You can end up under the illusion that the song is such a classic that whatever you do, the song itself will be able to carry it through. You tend to loose your objectivity in the production of your version. The all important radio producers hate nothing more than a classic song covered badly.

The classic oldy, while fulfilling all the Golden Rules in pop, might have a lyrical content that may only ever relate to one period in pop history. There have been numerous past Number One's where this has been the case:

Scott McKenzie "San Francisco" The Beach Boys "Good Vibrations" The Beatles "All You Need Is Love" Mott The Hoople "All The Young Dudes" MARRS "Pump Up the Volume"

Unless there is a revival of the zeitgeist of times past where the lyric in some way makes sense again, these songs should be stayed well clear of.

Sometimes, almost the opposite can happen. By covering a cleverly picked old song it can be re-recorded in such a way that it is now more relevant to today's new record buyers, both lyrically and musically, than the original was to the past generations of hit makers. Tiffany's "I Think We're Alone Now" and Yazz's "The Only Way Is Up" are both perfect examples of this in 1988. The original of "I Think We're Alone Now" by Tommy Roe and the late seventies cover by The Rubinoos were classics for the discerning but could not compete in the U.K. market place of their day.

The other negative in doing a cover version is you loose all the writing credit. That means you will earn no publishing money on the record, however many it sells. We will explain later the mysteries of publishing, but for now just take it from us that having a Number One with a cover, as opposed to your own song, is the equivalent of throwing away a minimum of �10,000.

There is no denying that in picking the right smash from the past and recording it well will result in a sure fire success. The producers of the day time shows at Radio One will have to only hear 30 the opening bars of your record to know that there will be a few slots in their shows for it; "the housewives at home and the husbands on the building site" will be singing along with it immediately. It's not going to take them three or four listens before they decide whether they like the song. That decision was made long before you ever thought of having a Number One. As for the current 7" single buying generation who might have never heard the song before, they will automatically be given the to hear the record three or four times on the radio.


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         :: SITE UPDATED ::  Nov 16 2018

   new LPs & EPs are here 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

what can i say = LISTEN TO THE SONGS.  push all the short attention span theater shit to the side and LISTEN. music is embedded all over this site.  let the albums & EPs play from start to finish.  they are not just collections of random songs. also my music is for that end of the night nightcap in headphones not background for the party.  i suggest you approach it that way & engage it in that setting and the rest is up to you.

 

if you are looking for predictable simpleton drivel meant to appease empty Ameri-con trash you are in the wrong place i assure you.  the bulk of your friends list on Facebook will help you out if that is the mirror you seek. click that red link now and get your worthless tacky ass out of here QUICKLY.

 

i seek no press.  this website is receiving traffic from 100+ countries every month through word-of-mouth only.  there's no Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or any of the other predictable whoring.  besides the United States the traffic has been incredible from Germany, France, Russia, UK, Italy, Australia, Canada, China, Spain, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Poland, Hungary, Sweden, Finland, Chile, and The Netherlands.  i want to thank all of you especially along with everyone else for listening, visiting, and whatever else.

 

my previous releases before the ones linked above are as follows: Chapter One was released May 18th 2013.  the Mrs. Produkt EP was released March 2nd 2013 & Der Schnitt was released February 9th 2013.  please go purchase them & support independence. you can name your price.  if you're broke put in $0 and take it for free with no strings attached.  i do not want your email.  i do not give a fuck about your "like".  i do not want to contact you.  what i want is for you to LISTEN.  click on any album cover to show you where you can download them.  COOL ??????????

 

  

 

 

BOTTOM FEEDER: THE SOCIALITE was released December 15th 2012.  this was my 6th full length album in 2012.  10 new tracks.

 

and this ever-evolving collection of covers is always FREE. click her to show you where you can download it now.

 

 

music as an industry is going to continue to reside in the gutter until more of you start caring for it properly again.  it's so PURR-fect that the Ameri-con way has sold so many on the notion that it's pointless to drop $10 on music but don't worry about doing the same thing at McDonald's a few times a week for glorified dog food.  that's COMPLETELY normal.

 

for now i only deal with Bandcamp because unlike iTunes i can keep it donation based.  i also deal with Bandcamp because they are the coolest & best company selling digital music on the web right now and they are aiding the cause not hurting it like iTunes.  PERIOD.  Bandcamp will covert your payment from almost any currency imaginable and you can get better quality downloads from them as well. you're not just helping me you're helping so many others including the audience of any genre outside the pathetic and predictable mainstream industry that is as marginal and washed up as it has ever been.  i can not be more honest than that.

  

yes this site is 1st and foremost about my music but it is also about many of the other things that i love OR hate and anything else i feel like in between.  if you search through the menu you will find all of my (currently available) releases.  but you will also find some of my paintings & photography.

 

the Journals & Written Word links in the menu above are loaded with my writing.  i am constantly updating it as well as every other section of this site.

 

up above in this column check the date of the last update underneath my picture.  it will always be extremely current GUARANTEED.  as part of the audience i know music/band sites for the most part are PAINFULLY BORING, infrequently updated, & lacking content so i hope to present something much more interesting & extensive.  i guarantee that every day you return here you can/will find something new.

 

i'm a complete hermit by nature so 99% of you will most likely never get to know me in person anyway so here's a virtual part of me instead.