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Artefact

This was taken in Countdown Recording Studios, which was located somewhere round the back of Tib Street in Manchester - I can't remember the exact address. This photo was taken by Kevin Cummins.

Countdown was a 16 track studio, and it was where Ed Banger & The Nosebleeds recorded "Ain't Bin To No Music School." I designed the record sleeve and I was mates with everyone in the band, so their manager Vini Faal invited me along to the recording sessions. I hit it off well with Clem Lee, the studio owner and in-house producer, and we ended up working together for a while. Clem was a well-known drummer around Manchester, and his wife was signed to RCA (Shann Lee Parker.)

This shows Clem (left) and me, working on a TV commercial for a product called Daintee Popnut Crunch. Clem wrote the jingle, we got a few musicians in, and I did a multi-tracked vocal. After Countdown bit the dust - Clem was great creatively, but an awful businessman - we would record TV and radio jingles at lots of local studios, including Revolution in Cheadle Hulme and Cargo in Rochdale. We did lots of products, such as Timpsons Shoes and West Coast Jeans. We also used to produce AV presentations for ad agencies, storyboards - anything we could blag our way into basically. This was around 1978 and into 1979.

Around 1980/81, video was in its infancy, so Clem and a mate put some money into a video production company. His partner was a bass player who also had a plumbing sideline, so they were known as "the plumber and the drummer." They had a warehouse up near the old Daily Express building, and I know lots of bands passed through there doing videos. Kevin Kinsella was involved for a while, but that's about as much as I can recall.

One of the best projects I did while working with Clem was an album for drag artist Foo Foo Lamarr. Foo Foo owned The Ranch, which was the main hangout in the early days of punk. He also owned The Palace, and ran his empire from a sauna at the back of the Corn Exchange. Clem recorded Frank (alias "Foo Foo") in the club ... we got a well known voiceover artist called Chris Kay to do a bit of narration ... I designed the record sleeve, then we got the album mastered and pressed and the sleeves printed. The album was called "My Life at The Palace" and ended with the narrator intoning "God Save the Queen." It struck me a little later that Peter Saville was now winning awards, whereas I had gone from designing sleeves for Joy Division and John Cooper Clarke to sketching drag queens, and I realised my limitations. I think that's probably when I started to concentrate on newspaper illustration and cartoon strips.
Artefact added : 7th August 2007
by Steve McGarry
john1620 Says –
yeah, Bruce .....? was the brains behind Countdown but Clem was always in the studio. one day the TEAC desk broke down and we had a session the following day so Clem and I drove bits of it down to somewhere in London where they fixed it and we drove bck to refix it just in time - were we cream crackered. i roadied for Shann for a while round the WMClubs in north Manchester. the building is no longer there - pulled down several years ago. Had it not been for 10cc and Strawberry Studios at the same time Countdown could have been a player
COMMENT ADDED 19th August 2018
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