'AND' Artpack. To help you decipher some (just some) of what Herb Garden were about, there are 15 (count ‘em) downloadable illustrations and arty-facts available here FREE with the album. Look for the bonus items. Enjoy!
‘CIRCLEROTATE - 1979 & 1989: the pivotal years behind ‘AND’.
To mark Herb Garden’s 1989-92 glory daze we present ‘AND (Agent of Natural Destruction)’, a new album of the songs that brought us our allocated ‘15 minutes’. Nine lusciously re-mastered EARLIER VERSIONS of the Garden’s golden grates - never commercially available until now.
The nine songs on ‘AND’ have been digitally remastered from original studio recordings made and owned by Herb Garden, and are made available here exclusively. All songs originally recorded at The White House Studio, Kewstoke, North Somerset, UK between November 1989 and May 1991. Remasters by Martin Nicholls, November 2013. Produced by Herb Garden.
These new recordings represent ‘Part Two’ of a digital remastering project Herb Garden started in November 2013 when the band decided to revisit their studio archives. Carl, Ben, Rat and Phil returned to The White House - a recording studio near the sands of Weston-Super-Mare, home of Monty Python’s John Cleese. This was where Herb Garden made the bulk of their recordings, between 1989 and 1994. ‘Part One’ of the project can be found in the mini-musical Pandora’s Box that is ‘Herb Garden Quartet’ (HGQ) – an album that finishes where this one picks up: 1989. HGQ’s ‘We Don’t Need These Things At All’ is one of two songs that pushed the band to try a new approach to their evolving sound. The second song (mentioned below) is one that appears twice on this album in unique, early versions recorded 18 months apart. In total the song would see Carl put the scat into scatological in three professional recordings of the title, and probably 100 highly animated live performances. Herb Garden can thank this inexplicably expletive-rich lyric, in part, for their modicum of success.
Among other things, we’ve 1979 to thank as well, for that was the year everything changed - even punk. Jilted John was having follow ups to that ‘Gordon’ song. Ozzy got chucked out of Sabbath, Led Zep did their last uber-concert and The Knack hit No.1. Kate Bush went live, but in the year Sid died, Herb Garden started going to Big School. Think back to the influences of 1979, a year that will have influenced this album, in many ways.
To celebrate the importance of Big School in our formative years we commemorate 1979 and 1989 simultaneously because, by the time the 90s beckoned, Herb Garden had written one of their ‘biggest’ songs. The tune in question - hard-rocking live fave Sh!t On Me - was to eventually join a handful of ditties forming the running order of ‘Destructive Natural Agent’ (D.N.A.), a mini-album, released in 1992 by Warner Bros’ on their East West label – part of the Atlantic empire, and home of Simply Red, Tori Amos and Mr Chris Rea! [OK, fair enough, and AC-DC].
It’s important for us to clarify that these songs are digitally re-mastered original versions of recordings that Herb Garden own the mechanical rights of, rather than the later, re-recorded versions that came out as ‘Destructive Natural Agent’ (DNA) on East West Records in 1992. The East West (re)recordings occurred at HG’s fourth (of seven) White House recording sessions, 2-6 December 1991. The seventh session was in 2013 and you’re hearing that now.
Some say the Warners album was polished, slick and shiny. Others say it was too fast. Yet more, different, real people say the recordings remastered here are the better versions of the songs. What can we say? How can we judge? We only wrote, played and recorded all of them.
SO, 'CHEERS' 1989! You gave us some fun for sure. And you gave us our second Herb Garden 'sound’. But more importantly, thanks Musical Melting Pot of 1979 - without you none of it would not have happened!
TRACKS 1, 2 & 5 originally recorded 23-24 November 1989.
In 1989 HG released the three songs as a cassette demo ‘National Lavatory’, with original notes and credits as follows: ‘Buttons, knobs and wires – Martin Nichols. Shouting at each other and making the tea – Herb Garden. Acknowledgements: Eddie Martin, Neil Keech, Simon Liar, Martin Liar, John ‘Up Your Trousers’ Rolfe, anybody and everybody instrumental in the weft of our perceptive and creative tendencies, the growth of our mettle and the expansion of our telephone directories. You know who you are. Dave would personally like to thank the Aberdeen terrier for being such fascinating breed. Ratty would not.’
TRACKS 4, 6 & 8 originally recorded 21-22 June 1990.
These three songs first appeared as a cassette-only mini album called ‘Furry Green Cassette’, sometimes compiled with the original recordings of Tracks 1, 2 and 5. Like Rat’s white Hohner (Steinberg copy) ‘cricket bat’ guitar, the fake green fur literally covered the cassette case (see Art Pack download with this album) – another DIY marketing production with everything done by hand using double-sided sticky tape. An earlier DIY production had been Herb Garden’s eponymous 1989 vinyl debut record. All card sleeves had been printed fine but had not been cut, scored or glued. Try doing that 500 times! But still we insisted ‘Pay No More Than £3’!
TRACKS 3, 7 & 9 originally recorded 1-2 May 1991.
These songs formed Session Three of the White House Studio recordings and would join with others here to form a sampler - a ‘super-demo’ - presented by Hardslug to East West records. They liked it enough for Herb Garden to record 'Destructive Natural Agent' half a year later, between 2 and 6 December 1991.
It’s right and proper that thanks are made for the support and help we got around that time – and today. There are tonnes of others we’ll one day list as Herbal Heroes. Meanwhile ‘AND’ and ‘DNA’ thanks (in equal portions of gratitude) go to:
1991: James, for his little anecdotes, Sharon Tates Children, Nolde, Zygote, Bad Influence, Karl @ Words of Warning, Dean (DS4A), Dave (Read It? Eat Shit!), Rectify, Terminus, Beddis, Jason & Aston in Boston, Niall McGuirk, Village Idiots, Emmett, Warzone, Niall (P.O.P.), Si, Nick, Nick, Filthy Felching John, Darren, Martin, Martin Nicholls (Whitehouse), Fat Paul, Johnny Savage, James, Chris, Luke & Tim, Lesley, Clair, Becky, Steve HieronymousS, Kayce, James' Mum, Sally, Eddie the Fish, Johnny Morris (for his magic), Morty, Constantina, M.C. Trucker Truck, Steve McMarsh & our p&ms. In those days you could contact Herb Garden c/o Hardslug … lpswich, Suffolk, England – [but not today].
2014. Rat: Penny, Iggy, Molly and Arnie the goldfish, Sal and Sean. Ben: Suzanne, Justin Holger Smith (RIP), Sam 'Stuff' Giles, Richard J Wilson (RIP), Matt ‘Bink Bonk’, Jochen ‘Erich’ Abel, Viva Maria!, Andy Burrows, Robert F. Cornick (Mr Tangent) and his brother Jon ‘Lord Cumberland Basin’. Carl: Lucille, Angelo. Phil: Jo. Dave: Claire and the girls.
© Herb Garden 2014
released October 4, 2014
All songs digitally remastered from original recordings produced by Herb Garden. Digital remasters by Martin Nicholls.
Words and music by Herb Garden:
• Carl Graves - lead vocals
• Phil Marsden - lead guitar
• Rat Crook - guitar and backing vocals
• Dave Crook - bass guitar and backing vocals
• Ben Wallis - drums and percussion
Original line art illustration - Nick Hamer
Design - Ben Wallis, Hardslug, Herb Garden
Logo - Herb Garden's woodland logo derives from an original drawing by Steven Howe.
© Herb Garden 2014
all rights reserved