|or in other words: "HOW WE GOT OUR ALBUM BACK 25 YEARS LATER"|
|The idea of re-releasing Toy Love's self-titled
1980 album was always one the band shied away from over the years. It's
well documented that TL weren't happy with the original production, and
we weren't interested in re-releasing the same result again.
Flying Nun first pushed for it back in the early 90s but (obviously) from general lack of interest on our part it went to sleep in the 'maybe at some point' basket.
A decade or so later FN offered a proposal to re-release the LP plus other recordings - and TL would get the opportunity to (hopefully) bring back the 'punch snarl and bite' so sorely lacking in the first production of the album.
|The proposal: A double CD release comprising
the album and 7" singles on one CD, and a bonus CD with different
versions of SQUEEZE, TOY LOVE SONG, and FROGS (previously recorded for
the AK79 album). Plus demo recordings and other gems which had never seen
the light of day.
So. things were set in motion - first set-back: Chris discovered that the 1/4" 1/2-track masters of the LP he thought he had in possession were not in fact.. in his possession. More ferreting revealed that the original 24 track masters were destroyed in a warehouse fire in Sydney sometime in the late 80s. Back to square one. Intelligence then came through that ex-WEA exec Jeremy Freeman had at the time made a safety copy DAT of the mix master tape they'd received for the NZ pressings. Thank God - amongst the innumerable emails it was mentioned the last resort would be to master off original vinyl. Very good indeed that the tape turned up. Only 3 tracks ended up having to be transferred from vinyl.
Chris then set about the task of 'baking' the old tapes - a process which enables old magnetic tape to be restored and cleaned up enough to be transferred to digital. It was discovered some years ago that baking tapes at low heat would helpfully remove any oxidisation residue built up over a period of time, making them playable again. A snack-making food dehydrator has been found to be a good way of doing this, namely the American Harvester Snackmaster Pro. Transfers were made at Glyn Tucker Jr's home studio, Stebbings Studios and Nick Roughan's home studio.
> CLICK HERE for TAPE BAKING recipe
By summer's end 2004 all tracks were safely stored on digital media, and the raw transfers were duly sent to all members so that we could arrive at a consensus for running orders and what tracks were going to be left out, which pretty much ended up being any cover versions amongst the recordings. Two months later we had a final tracklisting and running order.
There was a bit of an impasse with contract negotiations going through October/November, but eventually these hitches were ironed out and the mastering and production got the go-ahead mid-December. We had hoped that the release would include the poster that appeared with the original album, the CDs and booklet all nicely packaged in a slipcase. It was mooted as being too expensive, plus the booklet could only be 16 pages. Chris negotiated and at least we got the 32 page booklet.
Early 2005 everything started being collated for the artwork. Late January through Feb. the songs were remastered at Platform Studios in Auckland, with Dale Cotton at the controls and he did a fantastic job. Chris was the hands-on TL member to be involved in these processes as the rest of the band do not reside in Auckland. Probably a good thing, not sure how it would've been having to go through this together as a band 25 years later, and we all knew he would do us proud.
By mid March we had received the finished product, with the final result being highly pleasing to all, at last, the TL album in print again and we could listen to it without wincing. There was quite a media buzz by the time of the release on the 25 April, with generally positive reviews, and some good features and interviews with all the resident NZers. We were pleasantly surprised when it entered the NZ charts at No: 23, quite respectable for a double CD album re-release 25 years down the line.
And that's this part of the story pretty much. A special thanks here to Dylan Pellett from Flying Nun who helped make this all possible.