With a little help from my friends: continued.

Continuing my recognition of the guests who helped with the recording of The Tramp: The Music of Robert Aitken.

The Tramp_John

John Owens

Bass guitar on Sing the Night Away. Bass / percussion on Real Life Passion Play, and general bounce-off guy.

My old mate John from South Australia has been a part of the music scenes of Adelaide and Sydney for a few decades (your longevity-secret is safe with me J.O.). John is a long time member of the heavy rock band Jacob’s Well, and also has been involved with a number of local theatre productions over the years, including Little Shop of Horrors, Jesus Christ Superstar, Return to the Forbidden Planet, Tommy, Tapestry and Get Down. John has also written and produced his own music for many years, and has some talent under that quiet, unassuming exterior.

During the development stages of the twelfth track on the CD, Sing the Night Away, I contacted John to bounce a production poser off him. The question was not about bass guitar at all, but Sing the Night Away‘s opening drum feature I had been working on. As happens, with me anyway, we got off track and before you knew it we were discussing bass guitar lines. I sent John an in-progress version of the song to get his feedback, and he came back to me and asked if I didn’t mind if he gave a bass line a shot. I was hesitant at first because I liked what I had played, but in the spirit of ‘letting go of those reins’ I said sure, go for it.

John Owens

John responded a couple of days later with his own work. He had obviously studied what I had played, understood mood and nuances and, well, mine ended up on the cutting room floor. John suggested that his brother David, a talented drummer, would be interested in laying down a drum track for the song. I had been considering asking my brother Glen, a great guitarist, if he’d like to be a guest on the same song. Why not, I decided, have the three founding members of Jacob’s Well join me on cyber-stage – something we never managed to do when I lived in Adelaide. I had to stress it couldn’t be the metal-style of Jacob’s Well, but follow my interpretation of Robert Aitken’s nineteen eighties compositions.

But more about David and Glen in other posts.

Towards the closing stages of the CD’s production, and with deadline creeping ever-closer, John helped out with a last-minute bass line for Real Life Passion Play (a story of a failed recording session will unfold in a later edition). I shared with John my idea of ‘latin percussion’ at the end of the song, he asked if he could lend a hand and I said, heck, why not?

And so, John did.

Check John showing his Chris Squire technique jamming along to Yes’ Siberian Khatru: https://youtu.be/NpeM8sr3z3o

One of John’s compositions: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJtHcCELClM&t=85s

Thanks to John for his collaboration.