Tricks of the Light with Mike Oldfield
This was part of the “Discovery” album and it was recorded just above lake Geneva in Switzerland. Vocals for the album were all recorded in a studio Mike had installed in the big house that he was living in at that time. In fact, the whole album was done there but there were only four people on this one, Maggie Rielly and me-Mike and Simon Philips Simon was co-producing and they seemed to work well together. We don’t need to talk about Simon’s drumming, it’s all been said but he is also a really nice guy with an easy, smiling manner.
Maggie was booked for the week after me and I had to try and do my vocals over a five or six day period so that the following week was clear for Maggie. The first couple of days went well and then I got hit with the singer’s worst nightmare, a sore throat. The thing was that although there were only three of us working in the studio and we never started before 11 am, there was a larger crowd that we met in the pub after work and it I think it took it’s toll on my voice. Mike can drink and I’m no slouch so it was a bit of a party every night and as any singer will tell you, it not good for the voice and I found out for sure by the third day. I was given various treatments to keep it going and managed to get another vocal done which left two tracks, “Discovery” and “Saved by a Bell” You don’t have to listen too hard to spot the slightly croaky voice on those two. Even then, it didn’t stop the evening drinking sessions which was crazy, I know but the whole week was like “work hard, play hard” kind of thing.
On “Tricks of the Light” I was told that it was meant to be a duet with me and Maggie but that I should sing it all, just in case. IT was one of the rare occasions where I was not so happy with what Mike wanted and we had a few frank discussions about it. I had a problem with one thing in particular and it’s hard to explain it in words. He wanted certain words to broken in half like the line “wa-aiting for confirmation” and I thought it sounded daft and I told him and Simon how I felt and to be fair, we did try it my way, singing it “straight” for a while and they said they would record both versions and choose later. It is possible that they were considering my concerns but I think it more likely that they were just being polite and had no intention of changing the vocal style just because I didn’t like it. I don’t blame them by the way, it was their music and I was being paid to give them what they wanted and I’ve been in similar situations myself with my own music and sometimes, you have to stick to your guns.Incidentally, Maggie flew in the day after I flew out so we never met until the rehearsal for the “Discovery” tour started some months later.