After nearly 6 months of DemoBombs detonating every week, it has come to the end.
Time has gone by too fast and it's strange to think about how much of a Monday ritual the DemoBomb has become.
Pushing the refresh button every once in a while from mid day 'til it's finally online, to read the blog and download the songs right away.
Especially after Soundcloud pulled Sex Bomb Boogie (Sputsyle), due to some automatic SoundCloud copyright program, downloading the tracks immidiately has been mandatory at the Doll House.
So, what did we get? We got 23 blogs alternating between snapshots of different parts of SSS life and indepth behind-the-scenes close-ups of the creation of all the elements that became Sputnik. Everyone of those blogs have been great! Tony has a way of painting pictures with his words and you can almost smell stuff like a cold beer outside Pindock Mews after a long day of rehearsing. I enjoyed all the blogs a lot, but my favorites were the ones where he dived into things like how he compiled all the voice-samples, the design of the single covers etc... All those things that just fit together so well with Sputnik. We got background stories, inspirations and everything behind them as well. And unlike some bands, who have a cool coseptual "feel," but where the magic is lost when they talk about it too much, Sputnik's concepts just get cooler the more you know.
The last blog was the perfect end to the DemoBomb saga. Acknowleding everything, yet keeping it humble, honest and wishing everyone all the best.
I guess anyone who's ever been in a band can relate. I have the same feelings towards everyone I've ever played with. Some of them you might do something with again if the time is ever right, most you will not do anything with again, but having a sit down, some drinks and remembering everything with the fondness a little distance in time brings, is always welcome.
Of course the chapter of this week's blog that got me most excited was the part where he says he might one day do a full biography. I hope he doesn't wait too long! We have gotten a lot of snapshots and insights over the years from the different Sputnikworlds, DemoBomb, History and interviews, but to have it all in a book telling the whole story from beginning to end and even more indepth details about the stuff he's touched upon before, would be so cool. When reading the chapter about the covers I just wanted him to continue and do indepth analysis of all the SSS covers. Also we have not heard much about the '00 reunion. How did it come about? How/why did it end? What really happened? Different fans have different stories, but to get it from the scource, in an official biography, would be great.
I would also like to know what, if anything, happened during the course of the DemoBomb. At the start it seemed like the DemoBomb was a way to gear us up for a full band reunion. Tony gave all the ex-members a lot of compliments and seemed to have the very clear vision that the 85/86 was the REAL Sputnik... in one blog he even allowed himself to dream about a reunion show. Then the feel of the blogs changed slightly and the possibility of a reunion seemed lost.
Maybe he was just getting a little tired of writing, maybe a reunion was never in the cards or maybe something happened behind the scenes that put a possible reunion to rest. Who knows, but I hope he adresses all these things in his book and I hope he doesn't wait too long with writing it.
Biography writing is a long process, so lets cross our fingers that he starts soon.
Musically we have gotten the good, the bad and the ugly from the DemoBomb. Unfinished jams of stuff that later turned into songs (Sci-Fi Lover acoustic), jams of stuff that was never intended to be a songs (Transvision Tramp and quite possibly Love Bytes), rare and interesting mixes of songs we all know (Sattelite, Moroder's Dance, Sex Bomb Boogie Sputstyle etc) and quite a few unreleased songs where I have been completely blown away, throwing my fist in the air while being dumbstruck that they never finished and released those songs. DiscoMania and Be Bop Electro are probably my 2 favorites, but there are almost enough good songs there for a whole new album. Most of them need a little work, but with a minimum amount of imagination any fan can hear the sheer magic buried in some of these tracks.
2. Be Bop Electro
3. Surfin' In The City
4. Say I Love You A 1000 Times
5. Outa Space Kid
6. Whore Of Babylon
7. Space Punk Candy Man
8. Miss Universe
Even if they are great songs, Miss Universe and Surfin' In The City are maybe a little too DFE style to fit in with the rest of them, but it could work and it could very well be the best SSS album since Flaunt It with a Love Missile 12" like production.
I have mixed emotions about the DemoBomb being over. It's been a great Monday ritual which I have enjoyed a lot over the last 6 months and I'm gonna miss it. My research has also coughed up maybe twice as many rumored unreleased songs and mixes still to go. Of course I would love to get all of them in a row right now, but I am also happy that the DemoBomb ends on a high-note. Tony's blogs didn't fade out in writers fatigue, the quality was there all the way through to the end and so many people, like me, have sat there every Monday and downloaded and read as soon as it was online.
The DemoBomb really went out with a BANG, which is good.
There are already rumors of a DemoBomb box set, which will hopefully include all the rest of the songs we are hoping for in deluxe packaging, with a book and all that. I hope it doesn't take too long. Since the reunion ended SSS have done very little and many, like me, are worried that it will be forever til we see anything more from them now. I'm keeping my fingers crossed! There's so much stuff I hope they put out so I might as well start a list. Feel free to contribute if there is anything you hope to see as well:
1. The rest of the Vintage T-Shirts
2. The DemoBomb Box set (preferably on vinyl)
3. Tony's biography
4. Dress For Excess - the 12" mixes on double 180g vinyl
5. A deluxe version of Flaunt It on 180g vinyl in a box with a poster, a big booklet talking about all the songs and maybe a couple of 12" to collect everything that was out for that album...... or, even better, a second album with stuff like 21st Horses Mix etc and other brilliant unreleased mixes from that era.
6. A big coffetable photobook of the evolution of SSS, with the weight of the photos being from 85/86... Rex Features stuff and other classic shots.
7. And what about those professionally filmed 80's shows? Any chance of a Blu-Ray release of f.i. the Abby Road gig? Or the one featured on the FirstGenVid version? South Of Watford and Bliss '85 on Blu-Ray with all the music videos and some old interviews as bonus? Royal Albert Hall filmed by MTV? A new documentary compiled from all the hours of unseen material Tony shot in the 80's with new interviews? Or why not put it all in a deluxe blu ray box set?
8. A 12" box with all the different 12" maxis
And of course I'm hoping for:
9. A BIG live reunion show with 6 members on stage at a big venue, 85/86 image and set-list, TV screens and a big show... also filmed and released on blu-ray
10. A brand new album featuring the best of the DemoBomb tracks and others in the style of Flaunt It. Staying true to the original vision and sound.
..... As if SSS ever needed ideas for product, but here's my "Dear Santa/Tony..." anyway:-)
But first and foremost, the final DemoBomb is a chance to say THANKS! Thanks to Tony for finding all the tracks, writing all those blogs and giving it all away for free. Thanks to Shep for putting it up on the site and thanks to all the members of SSS for making the band happen.
It's been a great ride!
Here are the final DemoBomb song reviews:
SUPERCROOK BLUES (Demo Version)
I forgot to mention earlier how much I have enjoyed the DemoBomb blog parts that focuses on the songs. With a lot of the more unfinished stuff those blogs have been cruicial to understanding what we have been listening to, for a lot of the other songs it paints a great picture of the writing/recording of the song. A little behind-the-curtain peek at the Sputniks at work. Supercrook Blues is one of the rockier tracks from DFE. It's uptempo and utilizes the A / D / E / D / rock'n'roll chord combination (actually it comes up more like a G# on my guitar, but I'm guessing it's really in A). It does not have the 1-chord spacebass riff that made the first batch of songs so hypnotic, easy to improvise around and gave that tremendous release when Tony finally changed the chord for the chorus. The chord structure makes this more "set" in it's arrangement and poppier, but it's still a good song. Lyrically it's more of a chaotic story-telling song, than an actionpainting of a million sci-fi movies playing at once and it comes across as a little "nicer" than the early stuff, both because of the chords, vocal melody and lyrics. I love the verses. They have a great rhythm and feel, but I never thought the title or chorus was as good. Worth noting is how good this demo sounds. It's obvious that the boys were getting the hang of sound by this time and the song sounds almost finished. They haven't completely decided on when the drums will be half-beat yet and there are other small differences as well, which makes me glad they worked a little more on it before they released it, but as always it's very cool to hear and I know several SSS fans who have been hoping for a demo version of this all the way through the DemoBomb.
SPACE PUNK CANDY MAN
This is without a doubt my favorite of this last DemoBomb! I agree with Tony. It starts off promising, but doesn't really go anywhere.
I am sure they ran out of faith in this song and just left it to pursue other songs for Pirate Space and that might have been a good idea.
Pirate Space is a different album and many songs that were "too like the old stuff" where dropped for that reason alone.
However, the potential of this song is SCREAMING at you! It sounds total Sputnik, but the feel also reminds me a bit of The Jesus & Mary Chain, which is another band I love. The 2 chords for most of the song thing, the vocal melody when it changes to the 3rd chord, the tempo and especially the high pitched synth sound and melody could have been something The Mary Chain could have done.
I would of course have prefered this with more of a first album feel. First Generation spacebass sound and hard terminator drums (Damn! I'm like a broken record with this, but c'mon... that is the pure 85/86 SSS sound we all love so much). Wouldn't have to change the tempo or anything, but that would pack more SSS punch. It grows on you after awhile, but I am not completely in love with the break part of G / A / C / C / B / D (used for the intro and chorus). I think it breaks up the song a little too much where it could have been floating along, especially on the chorus. Instead I am hearing the track going back to the G / G / C / C / chord combination of the verse with Neal, in typical Jesus and Mary Chain fashion, hitting a noisy, distorted, G-chord once at the beginning of it and let it ring out into massive feedback while sound FX and voice samples come in. Maybe with a high pitched donkey kong wood block sound playing a melody on top of it a few times, before it's taken down again for the next verse. I'm also not completely sure about the piano and melody sound. It's cool, but it takes up so much space in the mix. Might have been cooler with a thinner more immidiate sound, but one would have to test it with new bass and drum sounds first to see what happens.
The middle eight that starts at 2:33 is pure magic. Not sure, but I think it's Neal whispering a very good melody in the background.
The track needs a lot of arranging, elements in and out, to keep it interesting all the way through, but SSS proved with the brilliant finished version of Ultra Violence that they have mastered the art of arranging something simple to pure perfection and the stuff that is here is already so great. All in all this is a brilliant track waiting to happen. The chords are completely rock'n'roll, the vocal melody is excellent. It's classic SSS minimalist in structure. This is definitely one I hope they'll finish sooner or later.
This is a title I have read a lot on people's lists, but I have never heard it. As Tony has stated in several blogs, sometimes just a title is enough to get what a song is about and this title was obviously meant for a defining SSS song. They are the Kings Of Electronic Rock'n'Roll and when they decide to use that as a song title it promises something iconic. The ultimate SSS track. The purest of the pure, the whole vision in one brief audio shockwave. The one that defines it all and ties it all together. Love Missile, but more of it and even more iconic... Quite a task to take on, writing a song like that after so many years. Did they manage?
Not really... And I am thinking they might have felt the title promised something the track didn't deliver themselves too, since they recorded several versions and still never released it. A lot of thought has been put into this song. Even if it's a demo it's still a very complete song, definitely the most complex of all the 3 songs in this last DemoBomb, but it's still missing the mark as it doesn't sound very Sputnik.
The first thing one expects from the defining SSS song is the classic 192bpm tempo, with terminator drums and a rockabilly spacebass riff.
This is a rather groovie 70's type big rock riff that sounds more like Aerosmith/ Led Zeppelin than anything Sputnik.
The first time I listened to it I was waiting for the drums to double the beat and play faster with the spacebass following, but as the song progressed I kinda knew that wouldn't happen. The funny thing is that the song might have worked with the terminator groove. The guitarriff might have to be changed, but both vocal melody and chords would work in classic SSS tempo. A double beat would also open the door more easily for space echo on the vocals.
But putting the Title Vs. Song discussion aside, what are we getting?
We're are getting a brilliant song!
A lot of work has been put into it and it's a great piece of music. It starts off with that Aerosmith type guitarriff and the groovy big rock beat.
The classic element of alternating between backing and lead vocals on the verse works really well and lifts the verse a lot.
The verse is in A and D and there are 2 verses in a row, only broken up by a guitarriff, before it changes a half-note step up to lift the chorus with the chords:
A# / F / C / C /
A# / F / C / C /
A# / C# / C / B / B /
A# / A# / A# / A# /
Quite a lot of chords and half note steps in that chorus for a straight rock'n'roll song, but it fits together perfectly and is a very well written chorus that sounds great.
Then it goes back to a single verse and another chorus before the solo part, which is a new riff in F, that also fits perfectly.
Then the wonderful middle eight of
Dm / Dm / C / C /
A# / A# / F / F /
G# / G# / D# / D# /
A# / A # / C / C /
With a great vocal melody on top. The second part of that middle eight, where it changes the root note again, is the first time I'm thinking they might have overdone it a bit with inventive chord sequences, but it still works great, grows on you and is very Bowie-esque.
Then the song goes back to the chorus, but since the root note is changed the chorus is now higher. That is a common trick to give more punch to the last choruses, but because of all the note changes it's not that easy to spot here. The chords are:
C# / G# / D# / D# /
C# / G# / D# / D# /
C# / E / D# / D / D / D / D /
Then there is the tail of C# / C# / G# / G# / while Martin repeats the title 3 times before the wonderfully melodic outro riff of
F / F / D# / D# /
A# / A# / C# / C# /
With a wonderful guitar solo on top. That outro riff has grown to be one of my favorite parts of the song! BRILLIANT!
Sputnik should be proud of this song. It's quite possibly the most complex and well-written song they have ever done, from a songwriters point of view.
The way they managed to get so many riffs and notes that don't ordinarily fit together so seemlessly into one song is fantastic.
The lyrics work well and you know you are listening to a good quality song.
It doesn't sound very Sputnik though. It could have been a great track for Aerosmith or any number of those kinds of slow-beat blues based rock'n'roll bands, but it could also have worked for Sputnik as one of the "weirder" songs on Ultra Real... like Violence Is Funky or Fabolously Wasted.... songs that aren't particularily Sputnik, but kinda work anyway. I do think they should save the title for the ultimate defining SSS song though.... you know.... a bigger and purer Love Missile, if that is even possible, but the song might work.
This was a great last DemoBomb! Seems perfect that they decided to go out with 3 songs and leave us with a proper BANG!
It feels a bit weird giving my views on this last DemoBomb. I intended this thread to be somewhere every fan could post their views on the DemoBomb every week. I was hoping for a lot of discussions about the tracks, the blogs and so on. I started it here, because this was the only SSS forum I knew of at the time.
Not many have posted and the thread has turned more into "Chris' weekly review of the DemoBomb" than it's original intention. But seeing that the thread has nearly 2000 hits, I know a lot of people have been reading it and I have been told that Tony, and possibly Martin, are reading them as well.
Quite an honor!
I believe in being honest, even when talking about one of your favorite bands in their "presence" and I felt the door was open for such honesty from Tony's very honest blogs and history part on the new site. At times I have been critical, as one is when being honest, but I sincerely hope that I have not offended anyone or stepped on any toes with these reviews. Least of all the members of Sputnik. I also hope that the underlying love and respect I have for SSS, has come through in all my reviews.
It's been a lot of work, but it's also been a lot of fun.
I'm glad so many have read them and hope you all enjoyed reading them as much as I did writing them.
I'd also like to thank Martin for letting me keep this going on his forum.
And as long as the thread is open, everyone is still invited to contribute.
What were your favorite songs of the DemoBomb?
What products do you hope to see from SSS in the future?
A full band reunion at a big venue, for or against?