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24 December 2001

...and we were, too.

Let's see: Tim and Annie have moved house. Mike and Anne are moving early next year. Phil and Lissa have a son, Alex. On the musical front, we got a Pegasus nomination for Best Performer!

We've just had our first rehearsal for Contabile-Fortean: Tim and Annie have literally just moved, so it was just Mike, Anne, Phil and Lissa shaking off the rust: very little new stuff, but look out for a few things you haven't heard in absolutely ages, including tracks off "Dancing Flames" that we last did live at the beginning of the 90's.

A Happy Christmas from all of Phoenix, and may 2002 be a whole lot better than 2001!

8 February 2001

Phil and Lissa's baby is due in July, so we'll be fairly quiet this year...

16 November 2000

We're still alive! Rehearsing for GAFilk and Conthirteena, as well as all our other commitments. Tim's been drumming (among other things) for Talis Kimberley's new album (with a little help from Annie and Mike). Mike has another new guitar, as does Phil (a nice new Ovation Celebrity he picked up in Canada). 4/6th of Phoenix made it to FilkOntario this year (Mike and Anne had a small boy to manage so couldn't).

As far as GAFilk goes, we're working with the committee to sort out how in heaven's name Phoenix get enough kit to Atlanta to do a set. Mike and Phil have just bought dinky little Zoom GFX-707 effects boxes which should preclude having to hire guitar amps over there. The set promises to be a riot, with at least three new numbers, and a bunch of old favourites.

6th March 2000

After much nagging, Mike's finally got the redesign together. It'll stil be being tweaked for a while, but here we are.

So, what have we been up to? Well, Into The Fire is out: we'll have a track listing and the cover art up shortly, on its own page, and hopefully you should be able to buy it via the web site. We did Digeri-douze (the 12th UK Filk con) in Milton Keynes, Reconvene at the Adelphi in Liverpool and FilCONtinental III in Gutersloh. Phil has a really NICE new guitar (see the gear page, and Mike has upgraded his Marshall combo to a terminally gross rack and speakers. Lissa has a new drumkit, Tim and Annie have a solo CD out (Dreams Incarnate) as Wilderwood, and last but by no means least, Mike and Anne have a son, James (see, you leave the website alone for a year and it's amazing what happens!).

17 November 1998

Another mixdown session coming up this weekend! Down to just 6 tracks we need to make a start on, but before we can do that we need to polish up at least a couple of the ones we've already done to the point where we can remove them from the main 4Gb hard drive, 'cause we're getting very short on disk space. (Fortunately, we seem to have found a spare 1Gb drive somewhere.)

Anne, Tim and Mike spent last weekend helping out with Zander Nyrond's new tape (on 8 track reel to reel, chez Dan Bennett - you have no idea just how much Cubase VST spoils you until you go back to tape!). Zan's got some really really good stuff coming together, so look out for 'Wassaliens' when it finally makes it (hopefully at XIlophone in February).

On the subject of XIlophone... we need a break, folks! Three gigs this year, one of which involved learning 15 new songs, plus recording 'Into the Fire', have left us all in need of some time off from rehearsals and stuff. We'll all be at the con, but there won't be a Phoenix set. However, look out for us at Reconvene, the Eastercon in '99!

7 November 1998

It's been a while, but then we've been busy working and rehearsing and gigging. FilkCONtinental was fun - check the report! Mixdown proceeds: we had another session in early October, and got a few more tracks nearly done. The rough mix CD we took for the auction at Blankenheim raised 410DM (about 140 quid!) for next year's guests.

23 September 1998

First mixdown weekend - Mike, Phil, Tim and Anne. See our recording page for what we got done. We learnt a lot - like why professional studios have loads of different monitor speakers (the mixes sounded cool on Mike and Anne's Absolute Zeros, but really not very good at all on a car stereo or Lissa's Walkman - mostly because the Absolute Zero's have a bass response WAY down into the depths compared to the Walkman). We also discovered some cool plugins for Cubase VST.


Anne: "One thing we learn from this is.. save regularly.."

Phil: "I find it somewhat ironic that it's Tim who's worring about being a few milliseconds late..."

Phil: "How long before we've spent more time mixing down the first track than we did on all of Dancing Flames?"
Mike: "About five minutes."


31 August 1998

Back from the Wrap Party, and mostly caught up with life again. Phew.

What can we say? Well, I think in general we had fun, even if it was rather hard to tell if the audience were with all the lights. People danced. People apparently giggled a lot during 'Bang Today'.

Thanks to Rich Challis (the Wrap Party tech god), GK and Andy and all the nameless techies and gophers who helped out, setting things up, driving sound, lights and video, and helping us move things. And to the four complete strangers who bought t-shirts! Set list and report will appear shortly.

On the recording front, we're done bar a few keyboard tracks that Anne'll do this week, and then its mixdown time. We even managed to track down the authors of 'Turn Back The Tide' and 'Hunter' to get permission: now that was a feat - is amazingly useful.

- Mike

11 August 1998

New toys week this past rehearsal. Lissa has a new Premier snare drum (which is MUCH louder and nicer sounding than the old one). Mike has a Boss intelligent harmoniser pedal so he can play Edge Of The Night like it is on the recording. Anne has a new synth - a Roland XP-80. And then there's.... well, for the other new things, you'll just have to catch us at the Wrap Party or come to Blankenheim.

- Mike

3 August 1998

Wow. We're getting there. The Wrap Party is imminent (last rehearsal this coming weekend). Despite all the grumbling and stress of learning 15 songs in no time flat, we're actually sounding pretty cool. And this should be one Phoenix gig NOT to miss - we have lights, we have smoke....

On the CD front, we're almost done: a few keyboards tracks, a 12-string and a couple of electric guitar parts and it's mixdown time. Just to pique folks' interest till then, check out our recordings page, where there are some AUDIO FILES!

- Mike

21 June 1998

Phew. Another two days in the oven... erm.. studio... erm... garage. A very humid weekend, in which we laid down most of the vocals, all but some of Phil's (poor guy had a cold) and and a few backing vocals. A few of the tracks are really starting to come together, and the rest while hopefully start to gel when we add the keyboards and guitar and the rest of the sweetening in a month or so. But for now, back to rehearsals for the Wrap Party.

Lissa cooked this weekend. Wonderful it was, too.

From the quote file:

"Erm... um.. I appear to have omitted to press the record button.": Mike the careless
"I specialise in putting my foot in my mouth, not my chest.": Annie the contortionist
"Oh yes, Phil's head is already in mono.": Mike, true but unhelpful
"I don't have stereo hearing. It's genetic. Mum doesn't have stereo vision.": Anne, displaying a fine grasp of the principles of inheritance.
"I KNOW!": everyone, to Cubase's regular smug 'Look at me, I managed to sync to the 880 all on my own' dialog box.

-- Mike

31 May 1998

*bleah* Dead Annie. (Me, that is...) We arrived in Peterborough on Friday to finish laying down the rhythm tracks for the CD. And we've got it done! Yaay! However, we are all dead on our feet, and surviving only by dint of the caffeine. We now have the bones of the CD sorted out - 114 separate tracks. There are so many because we mic'd up the drum kit properly - bass, tomtoms, cymbals, floor tom, hi-hat etc. all individually... It should be a good sound :-) We have figured out that we now have over 100 more tracks of vocals, keyboards, lead guitar etc. still to sort out. Aargh! We'd love to get something to release at Blankenheim, but will we be able to hit the deadline? Possibly not, as we still have to rehearse for the Wrap Party, Blankenheim itself, and conduct some semblance of a normal life... (hohohohohoho) There is a lot to be said for the "man meets guitar" approach to tape recording! All of this ignores the fact that both Tim & I and Phil (& Lissa) are planning tapes to be released late this year or early next year, and we're also planning on helping Erica Neely record hers this summer. AAAAARGH! Save up your money for Xilophone - there are going to be a lot of good tapes to buy :-)

Memorable quote file:

"You forget one thing - I'm the vet who cut off your balls!" (Anne)
"Lissa, can you give me the dum, bum, ba, dada, please..." (Tim)
"Mike, can you give me a good thrash please?" (Annie)

We haven't figured out the next recording date yet - Anne and Mike have some stuff they can do without the rest of us (the recording studio is in their house), and we have to do some serious rehearsing for the Wrap Party as we are all getting a little wound up by the prospect of not being ready :-) Still, the CD is going to be really good. I hope you are all going to buy it!

-- Annie

24 May 1998

Hello, faithful readers! I(Annie) am sitting at Mike's computer, updating this page, having finished a very busy weekend of Phoenix recording. We've actually gotten quite a bit done - we've laid down 9 complete rhythm tracks out of the 14 that we intend putting on the album. We almost finished laying down "Dragonflight" but exhaustion struck with a vengeance, and we all gave up, vowing to have another go next weekend. We have had problems with delay on Cubase (the recording software), but we think we've found a way around it... The Phoenix CD is closer than it was three days ago. And we're all knackered! This was my first experience of recording, and I am absolutely exhausted...

Memorable quotes from the weekend...

"Will it make you sick?" "No..." "Then carry on eating!"
"None of you get out of here until you've done it..."
"I'll just scream and widdle..." "A bit like Jared,then..."

A vote of confidence was carried in favour of Anne's cooking - particularly the pot roast... Yum! Jaredwas a very good boy, and the watch word for the weekend is "woowoo" (ie. train impression). See you after next weekend!

-- Annie

Check here for some photos of the fun we had!

-- Mike

16 February 1998

(Written by Annie...)

Well, Mike promised to set this thing up so that the rest of us could add stuff, and I guess it works! Wow! Decadence... It was an odd kind of set - strained by ill health and equipment problems. I certainly felt slightly constrained by the fact that the noise limiter seemed to be mainly triggered by treble range - ie. my voice. There was at least one GLORIOUS note in "Edge of the Night" which I wanted to go for, but was worried about plunging the entire hotel into darkness... But the really bizarre thing was that people seemed to think this was our best set yet! It certainly wasn't as good as it had been in rehearsal... However, I'm really looking forward to FilkCONtinental this year, as we'll get the opportunity to do some of the same stuff again, with good health and ample equipment (I hope!). Now I just have to find someone to translate some lyrics into german for me... Katy and Juliana very kindly told me how to order a beer and find the toilet in german, so I'm all ready for the rock set... When we manage to get all of us fit and healthy we're gonna be real LOUD! (Not that we aren't already, of course...) So, otherwise memorable Phoenix bits from Decadence... Well, mostly poor Mike being like an extra from "Night of the Living Dead"... The wonderful photo from Rafe of the "Superman Sex Life Boogie" with the matched pair of arses... (it'll probably appear here in good time, and you'll see what I mean). My unfeasibly tight PVC trousers... Bill Sutton's renaming of the group - Big Phoenix, Bouncy Phoenix, Evil Phoenix, Purple/Loud Phoenix, Posh Phoenix and Scary Phoenix. Me? Scary? It was the hair, I swear - it took me 15 minutes to backcomb and hairspray it like that ... It was fun - it's always fun performing with Phoenix. I love playing music with friends, and Phoenix are all great friends - I just hope we manage to convey some of that fun to the audience! Join FilkCONtinental - come see us again!!!

11 February 1998

Back from Decadence, and mostly recovered. What follows is my (Mike's) impressions of our set and the con, which are probably coloured by the fact that I was seriously out of it and had almost no voice.

Well, the major problem turned out to be the noise limiter in the main programme room - apparently the hotel have had complaints about the volume of their discos, and the council have fitted a noise limiter and imposed an 11pm curfew. Phoenix's set was hastily moved forward, and we spent most of it with a nervous eye on the pretty meter over the sound desk, which was a little inhibiting. Added to that, the room acoustics were pretty dreadful, and poor GK was having understandable difficulty producing a balanced sound.

The usual complaint for Phoenix is 'whoah, you guys are loud'. We know - it's an unavoidable consequence of playing with a drummer - drum kits are loud, and, especially, cymbals sound awful (they go 'ting') if you hit them gently, so everything else does have to be turned up to compensate. It's not self-indulgence, it's necessity. Playing in in a 'live' and 'bangy' room only makes it worse, and harder for the sound guy (hi GK) to control.

Anyway, back to the con: I think we played OK - audience reaction would tend to suggest we did, anyway. I can't really comment because I felt pretty dreadful, and just about managed to sing 'Song Of The Fremen' without croaking half way through (that and I completely messed up the settings on my guitar pedal board, and was spending most of the set concentrating on playing with the controls on the guitar to make it sound halfway decent). Bill Sutton sang 'Midnight At The Well' with us, and he obviously had a ball, and 'Bang Today' was runner up in the con awards for either Best Humourous Song or Best Rip-off. Just goes to prove that it's what the audience think that matters.

We sold lots of t-shirts, and we're going to be guests at FilkCONtinental, the German filk con in October!

-- Mike, hoping someone else with a better memory will add some more to this

4 February 1998

Another weekend, another rehearsal. Half the band had flu, Anne had a migraine and, in general, we were all pretty beat. Despite all that, we spent 12 hours over the weekend putting the finishing touches to the set for Decadence - it promises to be fun!

Minor disaster on Monday night - Mike dropped the Juno synth from a height of about six inches onto the music room floor, and managed to break a key (the G an octave and a half above middle C, for the insatiably curious). Fortunately, we've found a Nice Man in Swavesey (on Mike's way to work) with an absolute treasure trove of Roland and other spares. who's promised to have it fixed by Thursday. Phew.

Today our first run of Phoenix t-shirts should arrive from the printers. Watch the web page for a picture of Anne modelling one and price/ordering details - we've done a run of 30, and we can re-order if there's enough demand.

-- Mike the clumsy

13 January 1998

Slight late news, but hey. We (Mike and Anne) spent the new year converting our garage. Having decided the car wasn't ever going to fit (compounded by there not being space to turn into the driveway when the people opposite parked outside their house) we gave up, removed all the junk, painted the walls, laid carpet, moved the junk into the music room upstairs and moved the musical instruments into the garage. Nice and handy, given the office/computer room is right next door, and we splashed out last year on Cubase VST for Anne's Mac. 24-track digital home recording here we come.

Which, I guess, means we ought to record a Phoenix album sometime in 1998, now we have the space and most of the gear...

-- Mike

12 January 1998

Picture the scene... 6 exhausted filkers, 2 exhausted babysitters, 2 perpetually sleepy cats and a baby full of energy.  This was us yesterday after finishing our penultimate Phoenix rehearsal before Decadence.  We put in a LOT of work over the course of a 12 hour rehearsal, and things are starting to look a lot better than at the last rehearsal, where we were all a little worried about the amount of work facing us.  Now we have a set list and are pretty positive about all the arrangements, and our own parts therein.  We've even played the set list through!  A couple of things need reordering though, if Phil isn't to break every vocal chord in his throat, and expire in a heap on the floor. (That counts for me too, actually!)

There's something for everyone in this set, I think.  Serious rock-filk, funny rock-filk, beautiful ballads and raunchy rhythms.  A lot of new things, a couple of old favourites and hopefully a guest vocalist.  It's gonna be good, I'm sure of it! If the amount of preparation time, effort and sheer hard work is even slightly proportional to the audience's enjoyment of the set, I can promise a stonkingly good time!  PAAAARTYYY!

-- Annie

21 December 1997

About time we had a general chat page, just 'cause it's fun, and because Annie and Lissa bugged me into setting one up. The newest stuff will wind up at the top.

News-wise - well, we're rehearsing for Decadence on two weekends in January, with a few new songs, some familiar ones, and, as ever, a surprise or two. Will we do 'Black Powder...'? You'll just have to come and see.

We went shopping this past weekend. Some of us resisted the temptation, but Lissa splashed out on a new cymbal (see, we told you she didn't have enough) and a bell-tree, and Phil and Anne went halves on a very nice (and very loud) Peavey KBA-100 keyboard amp. Talk about impulse purchases!

-- Mike

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