Joseph Porter, Protag Neish, Wob and Darren Tansley
recording that was released on Downwarde Spiral records as 'Pastor Skull'
was not the first, or even the second time many of the songs involved
had been recorded together. Some of them had initially been recorded
by Joseph and a gentleman called Nick Lacey, who Joseph wanted to become
the band's second guitarist. Owing to a bizarre loss of control over
the band's direction, Nick was axed and some of the material became
tainted by association. The same creeping fungus of democracy ultimately
found expression in the artwork for Pastor Skull, but that's another
story. Firstly, though, there was the 'Karpov' debacle. Castle Cary
was not the last recording Blyth made at Berry Street. A dozen songs
were recorded over an extended period, with a working title of Karpov
Crosses the Border. All have since emerged on subsequent recordings,
but the collapse of Midnight saw the tapes sold to Cherry Red, who presumably
have no intention of doing anything with them. The project, due to creeping
ennui and the dawning realisation that it would never be released, turned
into an over-produced mess, and no one has heard it since it was mixed.
End fair enough. So we made Pastor Skull, and the production was completely
fouled up, largely because Joseph expressed concerns over the lack of
brightness on 'Castle Cary'. Thus the entire bottom end of 'Pastor Skull'
got mixed out. Whoops. Having lost ground with the politburo over the
Nick Lacey affair, Mr Porter found himself allowing mugshots on the
CD artwork for the first time, and has regretted it ever since. Presumably
if Khruschev had recorded a collection of ballads in the wake of the
Bay of Pigs fiasco, he too would have been cowed into compromise. Thus
we have Pastor Skull, pulled in several directions by a lack of team
spirit, and messed up in the mix by inexpert meddling. It's a shame,
because it has its moments.