To release GALACTIC NIGHTMARE on LP’s though proved far too expensive so it
ended up as a cassette release, with my LP cover artwork used as a poster. I
designed and produced artwork for a four page storyfile, cassette inlay and
advertisement. Saved some of the printers expensive photographic costs by having
the poster and cassette inlay printed from my 35 mm slides I had photographed.
The printer assured me that this would be OK.
The poster letraset GALACTIC NIGHTMARE lettering was photographed in camera
over the poster by rewinding the film. The cassettes were duplicated by myself in
real time using my cassette recorders. My friend Jack had the four page A4
storyfiles printed where he worked.
The poster unfortunately though did lose detail and colour subtlety, even being
printed from a high quality slide, but it still gave the listener a good visual idea of
the story. One track Drifting Away which was recorded in the 1979-
sessions had to be left out due to cassette length restrictions. The extra length C98
duplication tapes available then, were not up to the best standards with the
resulting sound quality loss.
I tried to interest UK record again and TV and Film companies with this version. I
got some nice replies, including one from Sir Tim Rice who found it very interesting.
And encouragement from Channel 4’s Stephen Garrett who urged me to turn it into
a stage play.
I sent a GALACTIC NIGHTMARE cassette to The Home Recording magazine for
review. The female reviewer was obviously in the wrong Job as She was so busy
criticising the music, She forgot to mention the recording production. The whole
point of Home Recording magazine reviewer I thought!
But the general response was ‘very imaginative but too fantastical for us’. USA film companies Lucasfilm and Amblim politely return things unread / not listened to’. So George Lucas and Steven Spielberg never got to hear it as I wished.
There was only one good SF magazine out then, which I think was called Voyager
but before my expensive advert appeared, the magazine went bust! ( SF had
become unpopular in the mid 1980’s). I tried advertising in some comic magazines
which resulted in a disappointing response and without a distributor I could not get
Galactic Nightmare into the shops. I tried selling the Galactic Nightmare cassettes
and poster in a comic convention in Leeds -
After all my efforts and expense (£4000 today for the cassettes, inlays, posters and
ads) I only received one order from a American guy after he read the excellent
review in the CU Amiga computer magazine. As his dollar cheque would cost the
same as the cassette value to convert to £’s sterling by the bank, I sent him a
cassette for free. ( Could be a collectors item now! )
In the years that followed the disappointing commercial flop of GALACTIC
NIGHTMARE I did not record any more high quality song demos. I sold the 8 and
four track recorders, the Mini Moog, mixer, the spring reverb and Hammond C3. I
did assemble Tantek kit effects units, made a 120 input patch bay, purchase a
digital reverb and a W30 Roland keyboard. But my motivation to record my song
ideas still faded.
From the year 2000 I started working on a double CD version 3 and a website of
GALACTIC NIGHTMARE. A digital copy was made of Galactic Nightmare on my PC
from the metal cassette copy of the reel to reel master tape. Over the years I would
keep improving the musical with enhanced, extended and partial remixed new
tracks with the intention of possibly releasing it on two CD’s.
This idea was put on hold though as in 2014 I received a very complementary letter
from Jonny Trunk of Trunk records. He had managed to obtain a MP3 copy of the
GALACTIC NIGHTMARE cassette I had sent to CU Amiga magazine in the 1990’s for
a review . He agreed with the reviewers comments ‘ Production Quality on this one
is excellent. It wasn’t actually written with an Amiga though, but it is so good we
thought it deserved a mention ‘.
Jonny Trunk loved the recording and found it an ‘amazing, impressive work ’ and
wanted to release it on his record label as a vinyl LP. Later, Jonny decided to
release the musical as a limited edition Double LP, ( Trunk Records first ) with my
poster featured on the sleeve.
There were problems to come though! ( The LP’s creation to follow… )
Because of these restrictions and having to do everything myself except Jack's vocals GALACTIC NIGHTMARE took several years to finish on and off! ( Moving to Hull and setting up another home studio did not help! )
When version one of the GALACTIC NIGHTMARE music was finally completed, I
produced a 1 7 page storyfile which included the story, lyrics and black and white
illustrations. These were then photo copied and stapled together with a front page,
into a A4 booklet. The front page had my hand painted Galactic Nightmare title
lettering which I designed, against a star background I air brushed. The storyfile
and Galactic Nightmare music copied on cassette, were then sent to UK record
companies. Again as with STARSHIP JUPITER the replies were ‘not commercial’.
Rather than waste my efforts, I made improvements to GALACTIC NIGHTMARE, including re-
Due to the limitations of recording on a four track machine I purchased a Tascam
8 track reel to reel recorder. A Great British Spring reverb was also added. The
diamond 800 organ was replaced with a Hammond C3 and Yamaha rotating
Jack played me ‘War of the Worlds’ the Jeff Wayne musical, based on the famous
H G Wells classic story. I was so impressed by it that I was inspired to try again
and record a more elaborate SF piece with narration as in ‘W.O.T.W.’ This I hoped
would influence record companies to re-
musicians and vocalists and then release it as a double album vinyl record. This
would become GALACTIC NIGHTMARE created from my original story.
Had I known the difficulties involved and how long it would take with my limited
resources, I might well have taken the advice of my friend Jack, and not attempted
such a monumental task!
Jeff Wayne had a budget of half of a million pounds, 64 track re-
Digital echo’s, digital reverb's, session players with polyphonic keyboards, acoustic
drums, pro sounding guitars and an orchestra. Richard Burton for narration and
several well known artists to sing on ‘W.O.T.W.’
My set up was small by comparison. Having a small budget, 8 track home recording with two small mixers. A noisy spring reverb, tape echo, a monophonic synthesiser to produce all sounds except organ, guitar and symbols, with Jack and myself on vocals.
The background to the musicals creation..
As a amateur musician In the mid 1970’s , I set up my own home recording studio
with a four track Teac reel to reel recorder and a 6 x 4 Teac mixer. I then started
recording some instrumental and vocal cover songs with my friend Jack on vocals
and gtr. I provided drums, base and keyboard sounds with my Mini Moog and
Diamond 800 organ.
In 1977 I wrote and recorded my first original track a instrumental called Aye Jaye.
This was followed by some original vocal songs including STARSHIP JUPITER
tracks, this time with myself and Jack on vocals and gtr.
The 45 minute demo tape of songs on a SF theme, STARSHIP JUPITER I sent to the BBC and
Record companies but they were not interested as the tracks were, ‘not commercial'.