Listen With Nicko! VIII

(Nicko McBrain)

Oooooh, allow me to introduce myself! My name is… well you know who that is, don’t you, boys and girls!

Yes! If you are listening now, which you should be, or you have just done… Wasted Years, ooooh an Adrian Smith composition, and Reach Out by a guy called Dave Calwell, and The Sheriff Of Huddersfield. Yeeeess, the sheriff, the one and only, Mr. Rodney Smallwood who we shall be speaking lots and lots and loads of verbal about very shortly. First of all, let me move this little scrap of paper out of the way, so I can speak to this stupid microphone without this…. (hits microphone)… stupid headphones falling off! Right! Yes.

Adrian’s first single as a writer… A-side of the band and all that. Bleedin’ good stuff! Do you know that that song means that there is no good looking to lost opportunities in the past? Well who does, stupid people! Uh, you should always take hold of the present. Ah! That reminds me, I tied a bow on my boy last night, and that’s what she said to me then… let’s take hold of the present! Eh? Don’t you get it? …stupid people…

Anyway! Haha! Reach Out has Adrian singing, which is on the B-side, on the old mumbling jumbling vocals, and he used to play in a band called Urchin! Urchin… get out of it. And, he had a bloke in the band called Dave Calwell, and I believe Andy Barnett was in there, we’ll talk him in a minute. Anyway, we had a little band called The Entire Population Of Hackney, see? And we did this little song, as we did… oh yes by the way, we’ve got Stranger In A Strange Land and That Girl and Juanita, (drums and sings)… “I’m never going back Juanita… I’m never going back..” Right! Now, that was written by a guy called Derek O’Neil and guy called Steve Barnacle. But first of all, yes, I’d better give you the release date, which was the 22nd of November 1986. And it reached the chart position of 22, the avenue… ah! Anyway, nevertheless, yes.

Stranger In A Strange Land… I will mention this because That Girl and Juanita which were on the B-side of this were actually songs that we recorded … with me and Adrian, just playing them on our own. Now not alot of people know that. But we did. The rest of the lazy gits in the band, they couldn’t be bothered to learn the poxy song! So we went in there and recorded it ourselves! They said… ‘Arry goes, “I don’t f’king know this…” “Well go learn it!” He said, “well f’king why don’t you record it, then I’ll learn it.” “Well that’s a bit silly, isn’t it?” He said, “No, go on. You get your f’king butts in there, the pair of you. You know the song, you do it!” So we did. And it turned out pretty good, didn’t it? So those three songs were done like that.

Anyway, talking of… talking of That Girl by the way, for a second. A guy called Andy Barnett wrote that song. (unintelligible)… I went out the other night with this f’king red-head. No, no hair, just a f’king red head! Hahahaha! Anyway! Moving back, yes. Wasted Years, did mention it was released the 6th of September 1986? That one, by the way, reached the chart position of 18. And that wasn’t bad was it? Nice one for H, first… first A-side, as I said, that he’s written. And then, moving on, it says here Sheriff Of Huddersfield as you very well know because you’ve just bloody listened to it, haven’t you, you lucky lot. Now, I got to give you a little bit of history on our Rod Smallwood, our governor there, our second in command. Now, you picture this… there he is, living in the hills… Los… a little place called Los Angeles, a little speck on the map. Los f’king Angeles, it’s called. And, he’s living up in his little castle there, which is sort of up beyond the rainbow, see? Which is off the Sunset Strip. Anyway, he misses… he enormously misses his (unintelligible), his (unintelligible) peas, his pork pies, and his rugby, and his cricket. Now, as you know, over in the great US of A, they’ve got this f’king abbreviation sort of game, or sort of a mixture game of rugby, and they call it f’king football! Stupid twits, it ain’t nothing like football, what is it! Anyway, nevertheless. He don’t want to settle for that, he’s wants all this… “Yooooo me old cronies, oooh jeezzz I missum all so much oh I’m drinking down at the pub five bloody pints of Yorkshire bitter with me pals, yooooo mamby pambies for me, oooooo.”

So he misses it real big time, so there he is living out in the foothills of Los Angeles, so he thinks here I know what I’ll do, “Yooooo, I’ll get meself a bloody satelite and I’ll stick it on top the bloody roof, and I can tune into all them bloody bleedin bojack company’s coverage of the first, second, and third, and any bloody test match I can get my hands on.” Plus all these rugby bits and pieces. So, he calls out this firm and he gets this satelite stuck on his roof, and the guy… “ah si amigo! I have it all working for you now! There’s nothing wrong! It’s all cool…” So and Rod goes, “Ok, well you f’king well wait there, let me go and have a look.”

And he presses the buttons, right? And what does he get? All the American programs…. all these poxy South American things with all these “whoabluaahabluahablee”…all that stuff going on, and you don’t know what the f’king hell mumbo jumling they’re doing, and they don’t even have a clue what a f’king rugby ball looks like. So, he’s pissed off! “Yoooo bloody no good to me! You know how much bloody money I spent on this bloody piece of shit! Dooooo, I can’t even get my bloody bleedin bojack company! Oooooo, I’ve had enough!” So, oh I should add, ladies and gentlemen, that he’s moved back to England! Haha, God bless him.

Anyway, he wanted us to go out there and live with him. You know, he said “Yoooo, come on guys… yoooo, …(unintelligible stuff)… Doooo, I’ve got me own little corner of the rainbow, Ooooo, I’ve got my own mushie piece pizza, and all that stuff good.” Dear old Kieth Wilford, god bless him, he used to have to record all the old test matches and rugby games and send them federal express overnight to Rod, cause he needed to keep up with it. You know, so it was real serious for him out there.

And so, we had this song that Adrian had written that we had recorded on the Somewhere In Time album… at that period of time. And we thought, well come on then, lets put some words to this song, cause we didn’t actually have any words. So, as it transpires, we decided to write a song about Rod, and we’d call it Sheriff Of Huddersfield. By the way, I didn’t tell ya… he actually is from Huddersfield, “Yoooo, bloody up north, yoooo,” a hundred kilometres due north of Watford. Anyway! We all sat down, I was actually out of the room for about half an hour or fourty minutes before this… you know, before… I walked in the room, everybody was sitting down, roadies, Steve Gadd, you know, Mike Kenney, Robbie Price, and Bill Barkeley, they were all in there… couple of studio engineers that were friendly to the band and that, and anybody…. But mind you, really it was only the band and the crew cause they knew Rod, so everybody came up with these ideas, and sort of the lyrics were down together by the whole lot of us. So, theres a bit in the middle isn’t it, where Roddy goes… Bruce actually, goes, “Yooooo, allow me to introduce myself, my name is Rodney and I’m immensely strong! I can lift five navies on the end of a shovel!” And it goes on like… well in that section, there’s just a little spot where Bruce had to do that narrative bit, and he basically ad-libbed it. We had some… he had some notes, but he really just kind of blew through it, and it came out perfectly at the end of that sort of little solo section where Bruce does that little part. And so when he did it we were absolutely creased up, we could not believe it, we just started laughing and Martin Birch… Martin Jarr, the Gov’nor, or the animal, Birch, and all the good name and things we gave him over the years. He couldn’t stop laughing, all the nobs were getting all butted out of place, and everyone was screaming and laughing and riotous. And thats how we sort of formulated The Sheriff Of Huddersfield. But it was funny. And we thought, what’s Rod gonna do… Oh whoah, by the way, one other thing about that was we couldn’t let him know about it, cause we thought well if he find’s out about it, he’ll be onto the governors down at EMI there, and he’ll be going, “Yoooo, bloody having none of that! Give us the bloody master tape! Yoooo, I’ll bloody eat it! Give it to me now!” And so we thought well we’d better not let them… let him know. So we actually got in touch with the people at EMI and said to them, whatever you do, don’t let Rod know there’s a third track on this single. And keep it hidden from him, and you know don’t let him hear anything until you’ve pressed it, cut the single, and it’s all… cut it and pressed it and it’s all ready to go.

So, it was one of the best kept secrets in the business at that time, cause if he’d have found out, “Yooooo! That’s it!” After he heard it, he said “That’s it, yoooo! You’re fired, the bloody lot of you! Yooooo, I don’t want to be your manager! Yoooo.” We said, “Sorry. We’re gonna hold you to your f’king contract, so there!”

Hahahaha! No, god bless him, he took it great… he sort of gave us a bit of a hard time for awhile, but I think he saw the error of his ways and he moved back to England and now he’s happier and he lives happily ever after down the road with Missus Kathy. So! Hi Kath! How you doing!

Anyway! Yes, Stranger In A Strange Land, that’s moving on, I’ve only got a few minutes now to tell you about the sleeve for this here single. And, Stranger In A Strange Land was based on a story that Adrian had read in the newspaper about and expedition that got lost in the North Pole… silly gits! Course they f’king get lost, there’s no signposts up there, are there! And they found some frozen bodies almost perfectly preserved… I wonder what parts were not preserved… hmmm… Anyway! Adrian, apparently he met one of the expedition who was a survivor…. I guess he must have been a bit old, eh, it was f’king years ago. I dunno. Anyway no, he bought the album because of the song, apparently, and now he’s actually one of Maiden’s top fans. So there, stuff that up your jaxie, see! Anyway, there we go, say no more. Yes, oh well yes, I was going to say about the sleeve for this here distinguished sleeve, as we looked at it we see Eddie, don’t we? And he, who’s he look like? Eh? “Go ahead punk! Make my day!” Buuuh! Yes, it’s Clint Eastwood no less, himself! I wonder if he seen this, I wonder what he thought when he that grotesque Eddie, looking like him with the old cigarette in the gob. You know, standing in that stupid bar with all them silly twits around him from Star Wars and all that stuff, you know. Well there you go, Eddie was Clint Eastwood in that, well see. And yeah, good song, good single! And thanks to you guys, chart position 22 as I said, released the 22nd of November as I said, if I didn’t… (hits microphone)…. too bad! Don’t you die on me this time, microphone… There you go! Oh by the way, just to mention that Andy Barnett and Dave Calwell who both have songs on the B-sides of that there Wasted Years and Stranger In A Strange Land are actually performing, yes, no less performing… no you twits, playing the guitars on Adrian’s solo album which is called As Soon As Possible, I guess, or Adrian Smith and Pals, or Azzap, or as about…ap, or whatever. You can work it out, you can come up with your own abbreviation for that. But, there you go, listen to that, sweet stuff! I’m going. I’ve been in here too bleeding long, I’m going down to the pub. You’ve gotta admit I deserve it by now, I’ve sat in this place and I’ve gotta go. That’s all there is to it.

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