Interview with Mr. Barry Skeels regarding The First Monument recordings.......
1. WHAT DO YOU REMEMBER REGARDING IDEA AND RECORDING THE FIRST MONUMENT ALBUM?
The album was Keith's idea, it was mainly made up of tracks we had written very early in Zior's life, when we were more avant garde and experimental. When Zior really go going, we thought that the tracks that became Monument, did not fit so well with Zior.
2. WHY ALL THE NAMES HAS BEEN CHANGED ON THE MONUMENT ALBUM?
We hade to change the names because we had signed a deal with Nepentha and this album was released through another company (Beacon, I think), at the same time we had the Zior deal. So it was to stop us being sued.
3. IS IT TRUE THAT MONUMENT RECORD WAS PRODUCT OF ONE DRUNKEN NIGHT SESSION?
No, we may have been drunk, but it was not recorded in one night. Although we did most of them in one take: to get a live feeling, we invented the playing as we went & because we were baiscally too lazy to do it more than once.
4. WHAT SOUND EFECTS ARE BEEN USED IN MONUMENT SESSOIN AND HOW DID YOU GET THAT BASS SOUND?
I'm not sure how the finished album was mixed. Keith & Pete did most of the mastering, John & myself played our parts and then went home. My bass was DI'd straight through the desk, I never used any effect pedals, so the final bass sound would be down to Keith, playing with the eq on the desk.
5. WHO DID VOCALS ON "DOG MAN" AND "GIVE ME LIFE" ?
I think that would of been Keith, I sang most of the higher pitched harmony parts.
6. WHAT IS YOUR OPINION REGARDING THIS GREAT ALBUM?
I like the weirdness and strangeness of the album, and the inventiveness of the playing, remember we made up most of it as we went along. We only had beginnings & ends and a couple of set pieces in the songs. I think the quailty of the recording could be better but that's because the quality today, using digital machines give such a clear sound, and each imstrument can be heard.
7. WAS THERE ANY ADDITIONAL SONGS DURING MONUMENT RECORDINGS?
Good point, I actually can't remember if we used all the tracks recorded or if some remain forgotten somewhere?
8. DID YOU EVER PERFORM ANY MONUMENT SONG LIVE?
Unfortunately NO we never played any of the songs live. Two reasons: 1. We went out as Zior live and we had a different set of songs, 2. If we did do one or two live Nepentha may have wanted to record them for the next Zior album and we had already recorded them for Monument.
9. IS THERE ANY VIDEO FOOTAGE FROM THAT TIME?
Video, in those days was very primative & expensive. Video camera's were as big as suitcases and the quality was crap. It was better to film on 16mm home movie cameras. But alas, we never filmed Zior or Monument, however we did do a session for the BBC TV which went out late on BBC2, one Halloween in the 1970s. Unfortunately, I can't remember exactly when and I'm sure the BBC have reused the tapes form then.
10. WHO HAS ORIGINAL MONUMENT TAPES?????
If they still exist I would think either the record company or Keith would have them. Mind as they were recorded on acetate tape, the chances are that the tape has rotted away or lost it's magnetic consistancy. I think the life span of tape from those days would be no more than 10 - 15 years. At least the CDs should last a little longer.
11. HOW LONG DID YOU WORK ON MONUMENT ALBUM????
We never really worked on the album as such by that I mean, we never sat down and started composing it track by track. It was a mixture of ideas we had before Zior really started and making it up on the night as we recorded it. Great fun and complete spontaneous. I don't actually think we could have written it before we recorded it.
12. DO YOU THINK THAT REUNION WILL BE POSSIBLE,AND THAT YOU STILL CAN PERFORM SONGS FROM THAT ERA ?
Another good point, I don't think a reunion is on, I would like to play if one did come along. But we all live in different parts of the country and finding the time to get back together would be difficult, unless someone was to give us loads of money to reform. We all need to work just to pay the bills and I don't think anyone could spare the time to give up work and lose money while we rehearsed. I've long forgotten the songs but I'm sure it wouldn't take long to relearn them, probably better than the first time, as I'm a lot better player now.
13. IS THERE ANY HIDDEN RECORDINGS FROM MONUMENT/ZIOR TIME????
There may well be unreleased tracks out there. We had the free run of a studio in Denmark Street in London, we rehearsed there as well, so I wouldn't be surprised if there were some hidden tracks somewhere?
THANK YOU SO MUCH BARRY AND ALL THE BEST IN YOUR FUTURE WORK!
> Date: Wed, 15 Apr 20