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Never Growing Up (1963-79)

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Inside Booklet.jpg
Inside Booklet.jpg
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Never Growing Up.

Growing up, I remember my father was regularly armed with a succession of ciné cameras. From the early days of 16mm, through to Standard 8 and Super 8, whenever the camera appeared, my sister, my brother and myself would groan and protest at being filmed, not realising that these captured moments would later become precious to all the family. As a friend recently said "the true value of taking a photo is not when it's taken, it's when you look back on it many years later". Likewise for moving images too.

Over the years the cine cameras gave way to video cameras and those little spools of Super 8 magic got filed away along with the projectors and screens. This footage remained unviewed for decade or two, until, one day, I called in at my parent's home and found my Dad had set up an old projector and was using the living room wall as a screen while capturing the original footage onto his Sony Digital 8 camcorder. I was instantly mesmerised the grainy footage showing roads with virtually no cars, streets with parking spaces galore and moving images, not just of the family, but of towns, cities and countryside, both familiar, and in some cases changed beyond recognition.

A chip off the old block, I pulled out my own video camera and began filming the old, grainy, moving images, myself before returning home and heading straight into my recording studio to record a tune that literally fell out of my head as a consequence of what I'd seen. After I'd finished the music and lyrics, I pasted some of my father's ciné footage over it and a hasty edit or two later the track Suburbia was born.

My business partner, Chris, shared a similar childhood to mine, coincidentally in the same town and village. I played it to him, hoping he'd see past my shoddy vocals and focus on the whole piece. Afterwards he said "Wow" and we spent the rest of the day talking about the years in between and how that footage was pure gold. This marked the start of what was to become a long term project about growing up (or in my case 'not' growing up) between 1963 & 1979.


As a child of that time, the 70s were a hotbed of differing musical styles from Glam to Prog, Disco, Soul and much more. And as music had ruled my life from an early age, creating an album that tried to encompass all those styles was a challenge I was keen to take on, especially having worked for several icons from that era during my career.


The result is Never Growing Up (1963-79), an album with more than a passing nod to those years, via some songs, a few interludes, an extended disco mix, a four part prog epic, and other musical influences. Many of these styles were only dalliances, but others have remained embedded in my psyche and undoubtedly permeated projects when I've worked for other artists.


The move from a cold, damp Victorian ex-schoolhouse, adjacent to a transport yard where my Dad was on-call 24/7 for the family coach business, to a modern 70s housing estate. With other kids from the neighbourhood we roamed from dawn till dusk and our freedom was only limited by how far our bikes would take us before we had to get home for 'tea'

Not Today:

Early school days and the signs of rebellion were already there from a young age. My school reports were rarely good, peppered with the usual comments of "could do better"... or worse. Glam rock ruled the airwaves during this period. 

Bigger & Better:

In the 1970's consumerism ran rampant and we wanted it all with little regard to the environment or exploitation. Hire Purchase seemed to be the new way of buying what you needed and thanks to prodigious marketing the consumer generation was born, paving the way for unfettered capitalism & greed in the 80s. 

Break Time:

Probably the only song featuring a reference to Dr Marten boots. The two tone blue uniform at comprehensive school was as compulsory as break time punch-ups. Fighting or football established the boys pecking order. Girls, on the other hand, established theirs through a bitchiness which was often more brutal and longer lasting than a fist-fight where someone would inevitably put the boot in.

The Dreaming:

The first part of the Prog Epic and a reminisce about times by the river with a few girlfriends.

The SS France:

Dedicated to my first girlfriend, Sarah Bailey. In the 70s anyone with cystic fibrosis wasn't expected to live into their teens so Sarah's father moved the family to America to get her the most modern treatment available. We wrote letters and saw each other whenever she came back to visit her grandparents, but knowing that her time was limited caused awkward silences that I regret all these years later.

The Storm:

Memories of an insecure teenager trying to cope with rejection and all the other turmoil that those teenage years bring. As a budding pianist, also I wanted to expand the palate of sounds available to me and prog rock offered a glimpse into complex time signatures that often echoed classical music, and even more complex things called synthesisers. The dalliance with Prog began, not knowing that years later I'd work with a few of the icons of this genre including Mr Gabriel, Mr Bruford, Mr Hackett and Mr Wakeman.

Dancing With Angels:

Sarah Bailey's dream was to be sixteen and on the day of her 16th birthday she woke in her hospital bed and asked "Am I 16 yet?" before passing away. I learned this news en-route to an interview for sixth form college. As a result I was subdued enough for the principal to think I would be a good addition to an ex-grammar school with one foot firmly in the past. I wasn't.

All I Wanna Do:

My first real, proper girlfriend was a classmate called Barbara, a girl with a wicked sense of humour and above average intelligence. What she saw in me remains a mystery to me and, back then my parents too. Years later, at a school reunion, I had the opportunity to ask if she felt I'd treated her with respect? She was drunk so I have no idea if she told me the truth when she replied "Yes. And I remember those days with great affection"

Disco Banality:

After countless summer holidays in Wales or Cornwall, in the late 1970s my parents took us on an extended holiday to the USA where we drove from LA, to San Francisco, then up through Idaho and Montana to Canada, before heading down to Chicago and a final destination of Detroit. For me this was utterly life changing and the first time I felt that my father had treated me like an adult. 

It was the height of the disco era and it had become so ubiquitous that the inevitable backlash was beginning. In random places someone would shout "Co-Ho" (a reference to the The Insane Coho Lips disco record burning organisation) whereupon all anti-disco people in the vicinity would shout back "Disco sucks!" 

Fearless & Brave:

Fresh out of school with all the attitude and naivety of a rebellious teenager who thought he could make a change for the better. 

Breathe (Cassette Interlude):

An excerpt from a longer track that didn't make the album cut. I included this because my wife plays a wicked sax solo and given she grew up in the same era, she had to have a place on this record.

The Sound Of The Future:

In 1979 I walked into my A-Level Music class carrying a Gary Numan album and declared "The piano is dead"

My teacher asked if a synthesiser could be played polyphonically and with any velocity dynamics? I didn't care because my friend, Dave Green, had just bought a Roland System 100 synth which I would obsess over at every available opportunity. The rest, as they say, is history, and I do indeed have a room full of synthesisers now.

For All The Times:

An apology to my parents and several females who have a special place in my heart and to whom I undoubtedly caused grief during those difficult adolescent years.

All tracks written and produced by Dave Spiers except the The Dreaming which was written by Donkey Tugger & Dave Spiers


Additional engineering: Andy Shillito.

Artwork: Ian Legge


Thanks to: Dale Davis, Rob Harris, John Mitchell, Donkey Tugger & Oliver Frick for their superb musicianship. Chris Macleod, Ray & Gill Spiers and Louise Spiers for their inspiration, support and confidence in my average ability. Andy Shillito, & Karl Hyde for being there in hours of need. Freya Spiers for not putting me through what I put my parents through.


Selected Kit List: ARP Odyssey, EMS AKS, Moog Minimoog, Moog Modular 55, Yamaha CS-80, Oberheim 8-Voice, GForce M-Tron Pro, GForce Minimonsta, GForce impOSCar2, GForce VSM, GForce Oddity2, Spectrasonics Omnisphere, Spectrasonics Stylus RMX, Spectrasonics Trillian, Izotope RX, SCI Prophet 5, Wurlitzer Electric Piano.

"It's honest, heartbreaking, stonking, funky, spunky and beautiful. Thank you!"

Chris B

"A quality album in terms of content and production. A rare treat in this day and age. Authentic with plenty of references to enjoy."

Neil R

"Growing up in a similar time I can relate to the lyrics & music. Beautifully produced, lots of synth lines & sounds going on in the stereo field, highly impressed. Thank you."

Paul B

"Ever since I heard your "After the Sun Goes Down" improvisations, I have been waiting for a CD of your music. I absolutely love it. Laughed almost all the way through the Synthesizer song. Brilliant!!"

Ned N

 "just wanted to drop you a quick line to say that I’m really enjoying the album. You’re quite the talent, sir!"

Mark Z

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