Sunday, March 29, 2020

Archive: Pure - Pure (video)

This was the last video we made from our debut album Pureafunalia. This song has a long and interesting history too. The song Pure was written when we were still calling ourselves The Grin Factory. Though that name was short lived this song wasn't.  We made a demo with John Webster (the producer of Jordy, Todd and Leigh's former band After All). John had been working on sessions with the likes of Motely Crew and Bon Jovi and had built up a respectable array of sampled drum sounds over that time. When we brought him this song he has a Tascam 488 (8 track cassette multitrack) that we striped one track with sync to drive his Mac running MOTU Perfomer. John loaded up his Akai S1000 sampler with some incredible drum sounds that he told us had been made either for a Motley Crew album or maybe it was Aerosmith, they had been made at Little Mountain Studio for a record that Bob Rock had produced (John was usually brought in to play keyboards and generally make things sound even huger than normal).

Leigh Grant, the drummer in Pure, played his parts on a keyboard, triggering these fantastic drum samples and then Jordy put down the bass part. (I don't remember if David Hadley was in the band at this point). Todd laid down one rhythm guitar part and I sequenced all the strings and the clarinet sample along with the little percussion sequence that I'd done in my Ensoniq ESP-16. I vividly remember the moment when John flipped the tape and told Todd to play a solo, but in reverse. The result was mesmerizing. Jordy's vocals went down pretty quickly and we had a killer demo.

Pure, the song, was then played at a Music West listening panel (in fact the festival was called Westex that year) wherein Ron Goudy from Restless Records stood up at the end of the playback and announced to the room that "this band will be signed in 24 hours." We weren't, but it did lead to us meeting a music lawyer and later signing to Reprise Records.

Months later we found ourselves living on houseboats in Sausalito, California and recording our album Pureafunalia with former Talking Head's guitarist/keyboardist Jerry Harrison producing. We tracked an entirely different version of the song with live drums and Dave on bass but something didn't feel right. Turned out we'd recorded it a bit faster than the demo and we had lost some of its groove. That lead to us getting John Webster to transfer the music to a 2" 24 track up in Vancouver and sending it down to us in California. The real irony came later when we built the song up to so many tracks we had to transfer everything over to a Sony PCM 3348 digital multitrack. We managed to go from the day's cheapest recording medium to the most expensive in the course of recording one song!

Pureafunalia came out, we made a handful of videos, toured several times and then figured we could get one more single off the album and made a video for the song Pure. It was filmed in a rehearsal room that was decorated with the items you see in the video. Co-directed by Rob Chong and Jordy Birch, with camera and editing done by Rob. It's a great song and typically Pure looking clip (all our videos seemed to look alike) that I'm happy to share with the world 28 years later.

Thanks for reading. Stay healthy. Cheers!

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