Steve Queralt’s guide to Firing Blanks
Back in 2001 when I was running the Creation Records fansite I interviewed Steve Queralt upon the release of the OX4 Best of_ boxset. Below is the accompanying guide Steve wrote about the Firing Blanks album which has been lost in cyberspace for many years, until now….
What’s your favourite track? Tongue Tied or Something’s Burning?
Something’s Burning – During the summer of 1993 we recorded two sessions at Courtyard Studios in Oxford as preparation for “Carnival Of Light”. Sadly this song, whilst good enough to have been included was dropped along with various other potential tunes. Just too many songs knocking around at that time.
Chelsea Girl (4 track demo) – This is Andy and Me demoing tunes during 1988 in my bedroom. I had a four track machine which we used for all sorts of ideas in the early days before we had a proper band. In later months we managed to demo a lot of early songs squeezing the whole band into bedrooms or living rooms much to the neighbours disgust.
Blue & Everybody Knows – Written by Loz, these were originally included in the tracklisting for Going Blank Again. Unfortunately they were dropped along with ‘Tongue Tied’ on the advice of both record companies who were insisting that the album was way too long. I think they had a point.
Dreams Burn Down dub – Again we made Creation very nervous when we played them this saying that we had re-thought the whole concept of the song. Although it would be difficult to top the real version, I think this is a fantastic alternative offering an even darker atmosphere.
She’s So Fine – It took three years for this song to finally make it on to Tarantula. This is the original version recorded back in 1993, another song left by the wayside in preparation for Going Blank Again. We demoed it again in Cornwall with John Leckie, this time looping a 4 bar sample which never made it to the vocal stage.
New Age – The only cover on the CD. Recorded at Abbey Road as a potential b-side for ‘How Does It Feel To Feel’ but later superseded by some instrumental nonsense from me and Loz in the shape of ‘Walkabout’. God knows why!
Tongue Tied – This in my opinion is the best unreleased track that we ever recorded. I think this is one of the few occasions where the intensity and beauty of Ride was captured perfectly on tape, everything fits together perfectly. Unfortunately it was dropped as a way of reducing the length of Going Blank Again. Why it never turned up on a b-side I don’t know. Dropped and forgotten.
I’m Fine Thanks – Another song from the early days. It was originally titled ‘Why’ and demoed several times on the four track before we took it into our first proper recording session at Union St. Studios in Oxford where we recorded Drive Blind. An early live favourite.
Xmas Song – Absolutely nothing to do with Christmas. A sign of cabin fever setting in during the Going Blank Again sessions.
King Bullshit – Yet another piece of music that could have been included on Going Blank Again. The full version is over 8 minutes long and was edited down to about 60 seconds to bridge a couple of songs on the album instead. This version uses all the best bits without having to endure the full horror of Me and Loz going on and on and on…
Smile (4-track version) – We had to work hard to clean this version up as every other demo fell short of the danger that appears here. Again another song that worked really well live but never sounded right in the studio, hence this hissy mess that captures Andy’s speakers giving up half way through the outro.
Welcome To Paradise – Recorded and mixed for Tarantula but cut from the final tracklisting.
In A Different Place (differently) – This is included as it has something that the Nowhere version failed to capture. Andy’s lead guitar is way over the top and the rest of us are playing all sorts of bum notes but for some reason it remains the best take we ever did.
BarneyS – This is what happens when you’re trying to record an album but your singer is still in bed at 3 in the afternoon. It’s a tribute (or blatant rip off) to New order that gradually built throughout the day looping Loz’s fills and Andy’s riffs onto my backing track. However as soon as Mark arrived with axe in hand, normal Ride business was resumed.