'One Minute With Dec' 07 March 2010

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“3 Minutes on the Radio With Dec” –

"My Emails Are Written With Good Humour And Should Be Read With A Smile"

[-The views of any contributor to 'One Minute with Dec' are not necessarily the views of Dec Cluskey-]

"Never frown, even when you are sad,
because you never know who is falling in love with your smile."


    Flight 666 [ make sure you see it ]
    Old Keyboard [will save the day – one day!]
    If your band or partnership breaks up [ what to do ]
    Subscriber's Section [ Beatles left and right sound images? ]
    The gags: ..... [ EXERCISE: from Dorothy ]

Flight 666 [ make sure you see it ]

I am extremely lucky to have as one of my best friends Nicko McBrain … the ‘nice guy’ and altogether fun guy drummer with ‘Iron Maiden’.

You may know that they played a 45+ day schedule of 23 sold out mega shows throughout the world flying in a specially fitted out Boeing 757 plane "Ed Force One" which carried the band, all their crew and 12 tons of stage equipment and was piloted by Maiden vocalist Bruce Dickinson, a fully qualified and active Airline Captain with Astraeus Airlines.

[Bruce was one of the first airline pilots called in to help in the Tsunami disaster]

Nicko asked me to go to Moscow with them after their UK shows … sadly, I was booked to appear in concert with my band and could not go …. A pal of mine went with them … 1st class all the way and the band insisted on picking up the tab for the hotel even!

Why am I saying all this?

Last night I saw the film of the tour … titled “Flight 666” … you simply have to see it … in fact, buy the video! Now, this second.

You will learn more about success and what it takes to have success and, more to the point, retain the success, than from any books or colleges. It simply shows how nice, how skilful and how accomplished these guys are … but the ‘niceness’ is the most important point. “You attract success by becoming an attractive person” … they absolutely prove that point.

How do I know Nicko? He is a member of The Grand Order of Water Rats … of which I am a Past King Rat, Councillor and Trustee for 20 years …. as I always say to those who listen … “hang your hat on a good charity”. Other members are Brian May, Rick Wakeman, Mike Batt, Gordon Giltrap, Tony Hatch … and many more huge names, even the guitar legend, the ancient Bert Weedon … but only 140 in the world. Extremely exclusive. By invitation only.

We could make a good band?

“People don’t plan to fail; they fail to plan.” Eric Holmlund

Old Keyboard [will save the day – one day!]

So you got a new wireless mouse and keyboard for Christmas, and you don’t need the old ones any longer, right – Wrong. Pack them away and stick them in the corner of the garage someplace. Why, you might ask?

That new wireless keyboard requires that Windows is running before it will work. If something gets fouled up with your Bios and you have to access the setup program, since Windows has not yet loaded, the wireless keyboard won’t work. I had that very problem – read on.

To restore my defaults, I had to depress the “F7” key. Try as I might, no matter how hard I beat the key on the wireless keyboard, nothing would happen. JP – our computer guru, suggested installing the old keyboard, which I did. Walla –everything is now working.

Could save the day – one day!

'Life is not the way it's supposed to be. It's the way it is.
The way You cope with it is what makes the difference.'

If your band or partnership breaks up [ what to do ]

Who owns your name? Who owns your songs? Who owns your recordings? Who owns your equipment?

Do you know?

If you are working with other musicians - from a rock band to a string quartet, a songwriting team to a production/remix team, a brass ensemble to an acoustic duo, a covers band to a home studio project - the chances are you are in a partnership
Do you know?

If you do not have a written agreement, your partnership will be governed by the Partnership Act 1890 [in the UK].

This may have consequences you do not anticipate and do not want, particularly if your group splits up, falls out or someone leaves.

Do you know?

If all the members of your group are Musicians’ Union members (or join), the MU in conjunction with NMD Solicitors offers you a free partnership agreement and free partnership advice.

Do you know?

As well as being free, the process is relatively painless.

You simply fill in a questionnaire giving details about your group and NMD Solicitors will discuss these with you, give you free legal advice on your situation and prepare a free partnership agreement tailored to your group’s requirements.

NOW YOU DO! Thanks Dec!

To find out more about how this FREE service can help your career,
contact your Union’s Regional Office:
Tel 020 7840 5504

or visit: www.theMU.org

"Einstein was considered an "unteachable" fool by
his early teachers".


Good morning Dec,

I haven't been in touch for a while due to my having committed myself to the enjoyable art of songwriting. Having followed your advice over the last few months, my direction has altered for the right reasons, and for the better (I feel a hit coming on)! You have been an inspiration Dec, and I look forward to chatting with you once success has beaten my door down...

Take care, and thank you.

Speak soon,

Phil Webster


"Even the smallest person can change the course
of the future." Galadriel said to Frodo

Subscriber's Section [ Beatles left and right sound images? ]


Nah, the tape machines used were two track or three track ones, and they were not used to record stereo, it was recorded to end up as mono. The concept of stereo historically tends to be understood only by those few who actually record in it rather than by (tape) recorder manufacturers, i.e.: two channels does not make something stereo, nor does a pan pot.

Kind regards
P**** L*****


My Reply:

Our rules are "one short reply to ONE question on music FOR NON-MEMBERS, Members of 'The Serious Writers Guild' have unlimited personal access to Dec by direct telephone, Fax and Email, apply at https://secure.mistral.co.uk/makehits/swgappsecure.htm ".

[Any advice given here shall not be deemed as financial or legal advice under any existing or future laws of any country]


Just to clear up this conception of the left and right being put there by The Beatles as a 'style'.

My band were contemporaries of the Beatles ... we were with Decca, they were with EMI. We actually outsold them in 1964. Decca were always treated as the leaders in quality, techniques and design of recording equipment.

Mick Hinton was the chief 'bod', as regards design, in Decca ... he designed a phase pedal for me... which, to my knowledge, was the first ever for guitar work. The Moody Blues 'borrowed' it without me knowing and used it through 'Threshold of a Dream' ... then again, I used Roy Wood's self designed ADT [Automatic Double Tracking] machine at Chappel Studios without him knowing? Mick was instrumental in developing rudimentary Digital Recording and converted Betamax Video Recorders to preserve the Decca catalogue in Digital form ... I well remember being with him as he showed me the ideas in action in the workshop.

Beatles and ourselves were using 4 track. Aimed at finishing in Mono. Stereo was a new concept in commercial recording and usually reserved for Classical .. FFSR [ may have that wrong] .. Full Frequency Stereo Recording. That was the 'buy line' of the Decca Company at the time. Mono was the norm ... stereo the rare exception.

I can remember making proper stereo recordings for BBC [probably experimental] where we used twin microphones for each instrument and vocal. I was at a live recording of The Johnny Keating Orchestra in Decca Studio 3 where that same technique was used.

So, back to recording on 4 track. Yep, although we recorded a few titles with rhythm on left, say, and the rest of the instruments on the right ... the vocals would still be in the middle ... we used the fourth track for the added vocals ... we are credited with being the first pop band to multi track vocals. A trick devised by Shel Talmy [of Kinks and Who fame .. and us]. I was always a fan of Les Paul and Mary Ford [Les was the multi tracking genius] and then Kay Starr.

So, the pan pots didn't seem to be an issue?

We quickly went on to record the full orchestra in stereo, using two tracks and reserved the third track for the main vocal + harmonies at lower level and then the fourth track with harmonies at full level and the lead voice, when involved with harmony sections, at low level.

Technical note: we achieved this by using an all round microphone [usually Neumann, although we used RCA for quirky mid sounding back singing we did] ... on the main vocal track, Con was on one side, full into the mic. and John and I were on the other side but back more ... then we repeated the operation in reverse for the 2nd. track of vocals.

Additional note: we used the acoustic reverberation room which was on top of the West Hampstead studios ... not to be used after 10pm as the whole of the area could hear it! Still there!

Where we wanted more voices [ "I Believe", for instance, had 4 part harmony] I can remember that we sang the extra harmonies on top of the finished two track master for the mono single release. I was more than annoyed when Decca released a 'quasi' stereo version and had the original session vocals on with a glaring 'clam' ... being a studio perfectionist, I was rightly miffed! It still turns up, now and then, on a compilation, mistake and all.

We, incidentally, are always credited as being the band who 'invented' bass and drums in the middle ... not my idea, I would hasten to add, but Shel Talmy's.

And also, 4 track didn't last all that long ... probably two, three years. 8 Track came in very quickly ..... and 16 track followed just as quick. 24 track followed more slowly. Then the speed went from 15 IPS up to 30 IPS [inches per second] ... tape width went to 2 inches ... Dolby noise reduction was always king.

Although I have archive pics of the Decca number 2 studio desk with its famous instruction 'Engineers are required to listen at 87DB minimum', the one that did most of the work was a modern looking desk which, eventually, went to Gooseberry Studios in London's West End ... I produced a track on that at Gooseberry ... and incidentally, Garry Numan’s "Cars" was conceived there using a Moog synth awaiting collection by Maurice Plaquet the instrument hire people.

So, all in all, the rhythm section on the left, rest of instruments on the right and the vocal in the middle was purely, in my opinion, convenience and a style of production that preceded the 'correct' way of getting the most efficient sound ... i.e. the heaviest, bottom end instruments sharing the two speakers in the stereo field.

Expedience.... it is called?

Regards .... I enjoyed that ramble! Concert in Cardiff, Wales tomorrow ... and the snow forecast does not look good.


Dec [Cluskey] dec@makehits.com

2 Gold discs in 2008! Decca have relaunched their ‘World Of’ series on the back of those hits. Readers Digest are now promoting a triple album set …. Do you think I can help your music career succeed?

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"Financial security comes from three things,
and only three things: your energy, your drive, and your skills."
Mark Joyner

The gags: ..... [ EXERCISE: from Dorothy ]

“Begin by standing on a comfortable surface, where you have plenty of room at each side.

With a 5-lb potato bag in each hand, extend your arms straight out from your sides and hold them there as long as you can. Try to reach a full minute, and then relax.

Each day you'll find that you can hold this position for just a bit longer. After a couple of weeks, move up to 10-lb potato bags.

Then try 50-lb potato bags and then eventually try to get to where you can lift a 100-lb potato bag in each hand and hold your arms straight for more than a full minute. (I'm at this level.)

After you feel confident at that level, put a potato in each bag”


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  • “Hi Dec £170,000 I've made in the past six months ... so many projects I haven't a minute. Number 4 in Music Week chart ... can't wait for next year ... they are predicting huge chart success for my productions. Unbelievable.
    D**** E****”

  • Enjoy video for a song I co-wrote with extraordinary Dutch singer Jenny Lane.
    I have 2 co-written songs on her great new album Monsters.
    Thanks for all the continued support & advice... Mick Lee.

  • In 2010 film, just budgeted in LA, for full theatrical in the US for $8.7mill with Paul Kay attached.
    Two Liverpool 08 commissions. First with 200 choir Second a major CD Brass Band album with Fairey Brass Band ... Phil Lawrence [UK]

  • I had my first Top Ten Hit in Germany as a songwriter, great things are happening ... I'm on tour all over Europe with the band that I'm producing. We're the official support act for 50 Cent. 15 shows in the greatest countries of Europe. Marcell Brell [Germany]

  • We played The Cavern Club in Liverpool
    Patchwork Grace were the best thing they'd ever seen!!
    Ian - Thanks again Dec! [UK]

  • I was asked to play at the Pepsi Music festival in Buenos Aires. The most important festival held on the whole South American continent. it lasts 10 days every major local star, as well as many international acts like Megadeath, The Wailers, Die Toten Hose, etc. Thanks again Dec ... Emiliano Canal [Argentina]

  • Recently I have finished a score for an independent movie called “Treehouse”. I am now composing tracks for various music libraries for licencing and am also discussing publishing the MUNKIE catalogue with various publishers. Jason Clarke. [N. Ireland]

  • This is Yosi & Ofir Nafkar from Israel member of The Serious Writer Guild Membership No NET0778030W. We wrote music for an Australian Movie By Kerry Bowden. She is a great woman who helps children in need. The movie and the music had a great success. Together we gathered 1million$. [Israel]

  • Hi Dec, some good news regarding my girlfriend Erin's songs, 3 are being used on a new American TV show. Anyway thanks again for your invaluable support, knowing your there makes this leap into the publishing world feel a lot safer ... Roger O'Donnell [The Cure]

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