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What guitars did you use on Do Not Bend?
'Guitars used on DNB were, mostly my '57 Sunburst Fender Strat for the solo's, plus my '58 White Strat used mostly for rhythm on tracks like 'Rappin with Yves', and 'You are not Me'. The '58 Gibson Les Paul TV model was used for the slide work on 'Fred and Dis-Audrey', and 'Mr Decadent', my Fender Telecaster custom on 'Norman Conquest II ', my '62 Gibson 335 is the picked guitar on Fred, and the solo gtr on 'Set in Blancmange'. I used 2 basses throughout, first my 60's Fender Precision Bass with wire wound strings, and played with pick or thumb, plus my '70's MusicMan Bass with flatwound strings played with a pick. The acoustic bass used on 'No No Nettie' and played underneath main bass parts on various tracks adding a little more depth was a bass sample from a Kurzweil MIDI module.'

Why are there no other musicians on the album?
'I played all the instruments on DNB initially to see if it could all be done "in house". I'm normally quite happy to work with other musicians, but this project is something that I have developed over 5 years, just dipping into a song or track when the mood felt right. Even the largest session budget in the world would not sustain paying other musicians to wait around that long! I am very pleased with the results, and I am knocked out with using the girl backing vocalists, something I've never used on any of my previous work.'

DNB continues the trend of most of your albums to not have a track with the same title as the album (How Dare You, Girls and Frooty Rooties sort of as notable exceptions). Why is that then?
'Why Not? I can't think of any logical reason why I didn't use the title of the album DNB as a song title as well, but................. you've given me an idea now, and you can bet your ass that the next effort from me will have a track called "Do Not Bend" on it. So There!!'

The "original" title of this album was "My Dear Friends". Why the switch?
' "My Dear Friends", was originally a song title that I changed to "The Gods are Smiling", and as usual with me, nothing is "carved in stone" till the fat lady sings (what the hell that means I will never understand). Anyway, I saw my son Jody making a postal label on his computer to send some photos to his publisher. It simply read (Simply RED?) "Do Not Bend", it was so immediate and visually grabbing, I loved it instantly a lot more than the title "My Dear Friends", which I thought was just becoming a bit of an "In" joke that only my close friends would follow.'

Did modern technology change the way you approached this album either from a writing or recording perspective?
'Yes, and how! Modern technology has enabled me to swap things around very quickly after I had recorded the tracks. This was a huge bonus in that it kept me excited about the songs while making these changes. In the "Old Days", it would have taken me many tedious hours of editing etc. to do what I can now do in a few seconds, Halleluyah!'

What was the most fun aspect of doing a new album - writing, arranging, engineering, mastering, cover art, etc???
I can say quite honestly that I've enjoyed every aspect of the album, being able to make quick personal decisions on every level has been a Godsend. I'm knocked out of course that Jody's photos and graphic artwork have been used so positively throughout, his ads are stunning. Getting that first "Test" CD for approval from SRT was a great moment though, as was swapping ideas for the running order 7 times with Gilly, all these creative processes are a big buzz for me cause they really keep the old brain cells jumping.' [Note from Gilly: "The released running order is still known as List 5!!"]

As a 10cc fan of old it's truly great to see that Strawberry back. Why did you decide to call the label Strawberry?
'Strawberry Soundtracks was a logical continuation of the name I had used for my first serious studio in Stockport, named after "Strawberry Fields Forever" of course. The idea was put forward by Gilly, who found that the site names were still available and got them for me. I love carrying on the Strawberry tradition started in 1968, as you do!!'

Do you use drums or drum machines? If it's programmed then it's well done.
'I think the "feel" of what I played is one of the strong points of DNB, and I did play it all using drum pads and real Hi/Hats and Cymbals, which is about as close as I can get without sitting at a full drum kit. Steve Gadd I ain't, but I love the feel of my tracks.'

When was the demo 'Shine' written?
'I wrote it when I was writing the songs for "Press to Play" with Paul, I asked him to consider working on it with me but he thought it was too "poppy", and with hindsight he was dead right. It would make a great single for one of the "Flat stomach" Girl/Boy bands though.'

Did you deliberately try to avoid the album sounding too much like a 10cc one?
'I'm very pleased that people have noticed already that I have steered clear of 10cc type backing vocals, they are after all easy for me to re-create, but I made a definite decision not to do them that way. The bottom line I suppose is that I am not competing with anybody, including 10cc's past glories! People should just sit back and take it all in in an un-biased way, if they think it works for them, great, if it doesn't, maybe next time. Life is too short to analyse DNB up it's own backside, it's just me having some fun.'

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