‘The Collaboration’ as explained by Alice Wagstaff
Chatting to me exclusively ahead of their launch, Geordie and Andrea explain about the collective process that resulted in “All Stitched Up” the CD.
Their first collaboration came in late 2007. It was in the form of an engineering project. Andrea and Geordie worked together in his studio ‘Padded Cell’ for two consecutive weeks mastering Andrea’s Jazz Standards album ‘Transit’.
“How did you find me?” Geordie asked.
“The piano player David down the road told me to just go and see you, so here I am.”
A fruitful and easy process, which over time they realised they could work together professionally with little hardship.
When interviewed about that time Geordie reflected:
“When I met her I thought she was really independent, strong willed and studious. She had her own business and knew what she wanted,” he laughs. “I’ve worked with many types over the years, so it didn’t faze me, but girls I had met over the years weren’t this focused and determined. She really knew what she was doing. I liked her voice and thought it was a good album.”
When interviewed about that time Andrea reflects:
“The first time I was a bit taken back. I couldn’t get my head around the fact that a guy from a rough Aussie Bikey Rock band, ‘Rose Tattoo’ with so many tattoos could be so patient, obliging, kind and such a gentleman. Goes to show, you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.”
After this collaborative job finished they occasionally worked on stage at a sports club in Bilambil. Geordie would back Andrea on bass, however, they didn’t really pick up a professional union till later in 2012.
After realising the connection they had, Geordie asked Andrea if she had written any originals.
“Only a couple – a blues number, ‘Hard Headed’ and a jazz thing called ‘Lost in Transit’,” she said.
“You got any lyrics written?” he enquired.
“Yes, I got this song I call, ‘All Stitched Up’.”
Over the next hour Geordie proceeded to play a riff and chord progression. The lyrics came out and they workshopped them.
“Wow that nearly fits my lyrics already” she said.
After some more time tweaking, changing and rearranging, they came up with a melody, which is now the title of the album.
The album decidedly started to grow in an organic and free-range way. No pre-conceived notions, no limits, allowing anything to be possible.
Both having years of creative experience, they decided to not edit content type too much, that is, not sticking to ONE genre. In the past this was professional suicide, however, in the digital age ‘One’ song can come from anywhere, go anywhere and stand alone as a great track….
As talented musicians with so much variety and abilities, it would have been a shame if they had limited themselves.
“If people like a track, Andrea’s voice, my playing and the style we write in, they will end up liking more than just that one track – the whole album grows on you. Well that’s what we’ve been told,” Geordie explains
Save yourself came next. They decided to get a band going, mainly doing blues covers in the interim, until they had established a repertoire of originals. They landed a Blues Festival on the Gold Coast and decided it was time to get cracking on an original signature song. On a trip in Geordie’s van to Melbourne, when he was still touring with the ‘Tatts’ in 2012, they wrote ‘Save Yourself’ driving on the Pacific Highway. Andrea started to dabble with a Cigar Box guitar they picked up from a guy in Sydney on that trip, which now is a feature instrument on the track.
At lunch one day, they were both exposed to a sad scenario of a man and his life experience which translated into Broken Man Blues.
They are completely in control of their music, meaning they make decisions and don’t rely on others. Social pressures, musical genre locks or industry expectations didn’t mould them into the band they are today. They are their own producers and arrangers with independence to express their writing, melody, chord progressions, and lyrical content skills anyway they desire.
They made sure to keep the rhythm section throughout the album the same. They handpicked musicians, especially guitarists who were perfect for the style/genre of song. Kevin Borich for blues, Perter Ching for country, Manny Gauci for rock, Phil Eisenberg and David Fennel, Jamie Kaslagis for the different types of players they were.
When writing together they found it took different forms at different times. The whole album process took two years. This is due to the fact that they only had intermittent time making music.
Party Girl evolved from a riff Geordie came up with. Andrea states that she doesn’t see herself as a prolific writer or profound metaphor queen, however, she says she is a keen observer and is happy to write what she is inspired to.
An ex-workaholic, Andrea, knows only too well how it’s easy to NOT smell the roses. Geordie also related to the lyrics well. Smell the Roses was really a work in progress over a while. Being the didactic, opinionated woman she is (lol), Andrea, with her keen observational skills drills out this song, advising taking time out to enjoy life. She didn’t mind me saying that either. This shows her ability to laugh at herself.
On Track was inspired by a personal phone call that went wrong one day. After the call Andrea realised she was in the old pattern of being at the mercy of others ‘stuff’, knowing where that leads, she just wanted to get off that track once and for all. She understood the possible outcome and wanted to avoid it, be the bigger one and walk away. After picking up her guitar, the full song was written in 15 minutes.
“It’s amazing how being passionately driven by circumstance (i.e. being upset) can get a song out like therapy really quickly,” she reflects.
Vampires and dress-ups is a funny way to get a song happening, however, that’s how Love is a Virus was born. Taking up an invitation to do the music for an opening screening of the Tilda Swinton Movie, “Only Lovers Left Alive” the writing duo decided to write a song in honour of the film. A month before the event in 2014, they sat at the synthesizer, fantasized about vampires, watching movie trailers and concluded that love, passion and opera cover it. Geordie had this song title in his head from years ago and found this a perfect opportunity to bring it to life via Andrea and vampires. “Never saw that coming,” he states
In 2007, before she met Geordie, Andrea returned from Red Rock after visiting a friend. She stopped at a picnic spot to have a coffee and whilst sitting under the trees Lost In Transit came from nowhere, lyrics and melody all at once. Just a chorus and pre-chorus at that stage. She grabbed her phone and started recording. She wanted to put it on her album back then, however, did not have the courage to share it with the musicians at the time for fear of rejection, so kept it hidden in the archives till Geordie asked, “What else you got?”
Andrea replied with trepidation, “Oh, a little trite thing, not for our album. It’s too much like a musical show tune”.
That didn’t stop Geordie. He wanted to add a verse and there it was. “Who cares about the genre? We write that’s it!” Geordie declared.
Getting the songs recorded was a trip in its self, but that’s another story.
The Album took many turns, avenues and road to travel to your ears. A joyous journey with the vehicle being two fine musicians and their talents…