1 YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF QUEEN HIGH STRAIGHT’S RELEASE
Today is May 1st, incredibly… one whole year since the release of QUEEN HIGH STRAIGHT, last year in pandemic year 2020!
I thought I’d take a moment to remember the making of and the run up to it’s release!
Quite a few of you visited the various recording studios I worked in on Queen High Straight and saw the kind of intense detail that went into the recording, some of you saw vocal sessions! Some of you saw whole band sessions and if I recall correctly, some saw the horn and woodwind overdubs too!
I have incredible musical memories from the recording sessions, aided and abetted by world class engineers who worked hours and hours and hours to help me get onto tape what it was, as producer, I needed to hear.
One particular memory is trumpet player Terry Edwards playing in unison with James Sedwards perfect guitar solo in Track 17 ‘I’ll Be Here When The Morning Comes’ to watch and hear them play with this feel and precision was awesome. The clarinet playing on Track 1 ‘Queen High Straight’ is Alex Ward improvising from the top of the song to the bottom and playing so many beautiful motifs from which I could cherry pick, and it makes the whole song so dreamy. Louis Vause’s extraordinary accordion playing in the Middle 8 of Track 18 ‘Cancel It… I’ll See Him On Monday’ makes that whole hobo sound of jumping on freight trains somewhere out in the dust bowl of the USA and making it to Nashville!
My music, as well as being well written pop and rock songs, also create little musical movies, the lyrics and the sounds tell each song’s story…
Video for Queen High Straight
I flit from the night-time streets of Soho, London in the 1950’s and ’60s, in the French House and the Colony Rooms with London’s underworld hi and lo in Track 10 ‘Testimonial’, through to 1970’s Malibu and the Pacific Coast Highway in Track 4 ‘Stomp Down, Snuck Up’, Ladies of the night on Rue Saint Denis in Paris in Track 13 ‘She Likes To Be (Underneath Somebody)’, Street Crime in 1990’s Baltimore, USA in Track 5 ‘Little Melvin’, The pursuit and fight for Civil Rights in Track 3 ‘Free Man Walk’, and back in time for Track 6 ‘Marlene et Fleur’ conjuring the annexation of Jewish Ghettos in Germany before the mass extermination began in World War II. A war that was fought to preserve Democracy in the West against the rise of Fascism. I love track 14 ‘Bliss Hotel’, I sing “Just hit your marks, Stay in the light and Do the same thing, Do the same thing, Do the same thing…” about the somewhat rote banality of finding a formula for success and then just rinse and repeat. Something I can genuinely say I’ve avoided in my musical life! I love my speed punk Track 16 ‘The Impression Of Normalcy’ – as I wrote in the liner notes for the Double Vinyl and Deluxe CD release of Queen High Straight, my demo for this song was far more along the lines of a Nirvana-esque mid-tempo quiet verse, loud chorus but my wonderful drummer James Sclavunos shouted out from behind his kit, after a few practice runs, “Can we speed the fucking thing up?” And how right he was! – it’s one of my favorite songs on the album and I’m still intending to make it back to Rome to shoot a video for it with David Leigh Dodd, who you all know by now as the photographer for the entire presentation of this album and also the accompanying videos, which unbelievably he shoots on iPhone and edits too…
Video for Cancel It… I’ll See Him On Monday’
All the musicians on Queen High Straight are phenomenal, Harry Bohay came up with and played the most perfect bass lines and in the studio had them down within 2 takes, he is just so naturally gifted, if you follow him on instagram you get to see him play guitar, bass, and beautiful pedal steel. James Sedwards on lead and rhythm guitar, James came into the studio loaded with so many perfect melodies for the guitar as well as the power riffs I love so much! I am in a very happy place musically where I work with such gifted musicians.
Once the album was finished, the artwork complete, off went the parts, as they are called, to the pressing plant in Poland in December. Little did we know that a pandemic was looming!! I was in New York in January as the news from China was permeating and now we know cases were already in the US, from China and from The UK and Europe, I remember saying “there’s no way it will still be around in May” when my tour for Queen High Straight was originally scheduled to start! Of course how uninformed and naive we all were… now one year later we are slowly making our way out of emergency measures and my tour, having been rescheduled 3 times is now going ahead, later in the year! The poor pressing plant in Poland was hit badly, people sick and otherwise furloughed like nearly every business during pandemic, but somehow, thanks to the coordinator Liz Brown at Key Production, everything was delivered perfectly and on time, including the lovely man from Lithuania who drove from Poland to France to bring me thousands of covers to sign, then drove them back to Poland to be assembled with their CD’s and Vinyls! The poor guy arrived one day early and so with masks and gloves on, we helped him forklift the boxes from his lorry and carry them up flights of stairs to a room where I emptied all the boxes and just sat there and signed, signed, signed until about 6pm that same day where we loaded them back onto the lorry, gave him some food (he was only eating mini-packs of cereal) and off he went. Miraculously the records made it to their distribution hubs in Los Angeles and London and with the inevitable postal delays of COVID permitting, we delivered QUEEN HIGH STRAIGHT, to those of you who’d preordered, on May 1 or during that week!
The rest is history, right? The best reviews of my life! Not least of all from you, the fans, you’ve all been so incredible in telling me how much you’ve loved this album, to this day, many of you say it’s still on constant play As it should be!! We’ve communicated well! Even having you choose your pick of a single to go to Radio! Track 6 ‘Marlene et Fleur,’ coupled with Track 20 ‘Kill Some Time Blues’
Video for Kill Some Time Blues
So! Thank you very much for your love of QUEEN HIGH STRAIGHT – if you don’t yet have it, you must!
Buy here: https://thewendyjames.com/store
Here’s a look back at the video I made and released on May 1 2020 to celebrate the release!
Video for Wendy’s party of 1 in COVID isolation!
2021 TOUR NEWS!
My live band THE WENDY JAMES BAND are Wendy James on Vocals, Leo Kurunis on Bass Jordan Cook on Drums, Rupert Greaves on Keyboard and Guitar, Pip Stakem on Guitar, Alex Ward on Keyboard and Guitar. Finally! We will see you out on the road in a few months time! Starting on August 26th in Blackpool, the much delayed tour is now going ahead! We are traversing mainland UK for 5 nights on, 2 nights off for 5 straight weeks! Taking in everywhere from Truro to Paisley!
Get your tickets here: https://thewendyjames.com/live
Get your VIP passes here: https://thewendyjames.com/product/v-i-p-the-wendy-james-gig-pass/
We will go further afield in 2022, coming to Northern and Southern Ireland and Europe for sure and then on to USA, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and more I hope!
My band and I are rehearsing up 3 hours worth of material from all my albums, from Transvision Vamp, through to the two RACINE albums, I Came Here To Blow Minds, The Price Of The Ticket and of course a large helping of Queen High Straight. From this massive list of songs we will be able to do a revolving and different set list per night! So, if you can, come to more than one show! It’s a massive and comprehensive tour of the UK and one I cannot think I will do again! So this could well be the last time you get to see me live in so many places on the map! It will be an incredible tour, we are all so looking forward to it. Rehearsals are booked for the 1st August and we will be ready for you on August 26th! Back in the van, loaded high with Alan Partridge DVD’s – here we come!!
See you there!
ALBUM 10 NEWS!
Now, I’m so happy with Album 10 progress.. I’m nearly onto Song 4, and the first three songs are dynamite. I am really, really pushing myself, I am trying for melodies, which as soon as you’ve heard them, you cannot stop singing! Once again, I can start to imagine the full production and the thrill of recording with the musicians…
This album inevitably is rather special. It’s my 10th Album and I mean to make it one to love and cherish. A landmark piece of work.
Please do go ahead and preorder THE WENDY JAMES ALBUM 10 here: https://thewendyjames.com/product-category/wendy-james-album-10/
There are various formats available, official posters, t-shirts, and the limited edition of artwork proofs… which I sign and personalize. There is also the chance, once again, to visit the studio during recording!
**I’ve also added to the items in my store, as you know: the Icon and If Looks Could Kill posters, the t-shirts and the Revolution Baby and 1989 hoodies!
For clothing and posters here:
So, now, I must go back to my guitar and see if I remember what I wrote last night! That’s how I test it out, if it sticks then it sticks, if it doesn’t then it doesn’t!
A2 IF LOOKS COULD KILL & ICON POSTER
My love to you all! See you soon!
And Congratulations QUEEN HIGH STRAIGHT! You’re one year old!
Lots of love