Quick Thought About Silver Laughter Sharing Motel Rooms

Freezing our butts off in winter at Worthington Minnesota. From left: Jon, Ken, Mick and Paul.

Freezing our butts off in winter at Worthington Minnesota. From left: Jon, Ken, Mick and Paul.

When we were on the road and had to rent motel rooms, the usual way we did it was to put two people in two rooms and then let the fifth person (remember we were a four piece band with a sound and light man) take the third room alone. This meant rotating out so that everyone had the solo room once every 5 engagements.

During the writing of the music for “Sailing On Fantasies”, and “Bad News”, in particular, I remember sharing a room with Jon so we could finish our compositions before presenting them to the band to arrange. I don’t know which town it was in, but I can still picture the room with its wood paneling. Jon and I were sitting on the floor with his guitar and my bass working on the song. Maybe I played guitar too. I don’t remember that part.

Jon always had bunches of paper on which he kept notes of musical ideas that would come to him, and together we would lay them out on the floor while writing the lyrics, crossing them off as we used them. Then once that was done, or maybe during the writing, we would talk about harmony parts, if there was going to be a lead guitar solo and so on.

Once it was decided that Jon would play the lead part for “Bad News”, I remember him driving me nuts as he practiced over and over (and over and over) the lead riffs, trying different things, but mostly playing the same guitar line which seemed like it was forever! By the time we went into the studio, I could almost hum it note for note! Jon was a hard worker tenaciously fine tuning each note and sequence until it was perfect. I think it shows in the final mix of the song.

Mick Orton

Categories: History, Music

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