Four Tenths

(This is a very short ode to the infamous Troggs Tapes. Neither this post, nor The Troggs Tapes, are even remotely safe for work. Cheerie-o!)

“No, it’s all wrong!” Sir David Sebastian was spraying hot spittle in the main room of Studio B at Twickenshire Sound. “The decay on the delay is too quick! This guitar passage is supposed to sound like a swan gently gliding onto the surface of a pond, NOT a swan gently gliding and doing a fucking face-plant into a rock! Add another four tenths of a second of decay!”

The second engineer, Arthur Nevins, was sufficiently chuffed at his restraint over the course of the session. He dealt with Sir David’s tantrums and constant demands. He put up with Sir David’s barrage of insults and drug deliveries. And he suffered all with jolly good humor. But after three hours of knicker-soiling over milliseconds of echo, Arthur Nevin’s patience was about to run out.

“Look, David,” he said. “Are you fucking deaf, or are you a fucking blind rotter?!? If we add another four tenths of a second, the fucking listener is going to wonder when the fucking swan is going to land! We’ve been back and forth over this for fucking hours, and we ain’t getting anywhere! Cause you want your fucking swan to keep circling over the pond like it’s waiting for fucking permission to land from the control tower!”

“Who the fuck do you think you’re talking to?!?” Sir David said. “Do you have any idea how many quid we have invested in the fucking record? And you, a ten pence errand boy, are trying to crash my fucking swan! Add another four tenths of a second of decay, you wanker!”

“Why do you hate your swan, David?” Arthur said. “Why do you want to see your swan never landing, never coming home to roost? It’s just going to fucking stay up there, yeah? You swan is just going to glide for-fucking-ever, never seeing its fucking swan family again! Because you won’t let your fucking swan land!”

“Why do you want to kill my swan, you heartless bastard?” Sir David said. “Why do you want to see my swan fucking die in a fiery crash? Do I need to call fucking animal control?”

The argument went on, until the first engineer suggested two tenths of a second.



  1. What a fucking awesome post! 😉

    • Why don’t ya sprinkle some facking ferry dust on the bastahd! ;P

  2. Fucking hahahahahaha! Ahh, I’ve been in the studio, and backstage with many a band many a time. These fuckin arguments (sometimes tantrums) are part of the life blood for some.

    • Fuckin’ right, innit? 😉 Incredible: imagine if The Troggs Tapes hadn’t surfaced? No Spinal Tap, and years of musician commiserating wouldn’t have happened.

  3. “It needs a little more fairy dust.” “Fairy dust, is it?” I LOVE THIS, Brian. I’ve never heard these tapes. The Troggs and the production people sound so tired and so impassioned and so full of the f-word!

    • Oh! One more thing! Even though this is a short piece, I love the pacing and the timing. Good tension, my friend!

      • This is the sound of sound. 😉

        The Troggs Tapes started to circulate around the collectors scene in the ’70s. Christopher Guest heard them. Thus Spinal Tap was …if not born, at least influenced…

      • I had no idea! Man, I learn something new from you ALL the time. Plus, this is well written. Double plus-plus!

  4. Great piece, great video. Oh, those wacky Troggs.
    And yes, sprinkle some fucking fairydust on the bastard has entered my lexicon.

    • It keeps fucking giving, yeah?

  5. ‘Dozens of people spontaneously combust each year. It’s just not really widely reported.’
    Sorry heh. When I saw your mention of the Troggs Tapes first thing I thought of was Spinal Tap. Heard a rumor years ago that these studio tapes helped influence the film.
    Being a musician, hearing the recording, bust me up. Oh how true -grin-. Naturally Spinal Tap is a classic and part of the YoYo-Dyne library.
    Great post and stroll down memory lane.
    An aside: Used to play Wild Thing in a cover band in the early 90’s. Remember a gig when the lead singer yelled at the rest of us ‘REMEMBER! Play it sloppy!’
    Thanks Brian, great post.

    • Play it sloppy. My new mantra. LOVE!

      I shall now go apply this new worldview to a rousing rendition of Big Bottoms…

  6. I think they should have gone with the fucking fairy dust. Reminds me of the beginning of The Monkees song, Daydream Believer. Without the fucks. And with Davy Jones.

    • Now without Davy Jones…

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