Badly Drawn Boy webchat – follow along live! | Music

Oh, well – no. They were in the glove compartment of the Audi 80 that I was driving at the time. And I sold the car to a friend of mine. It has been like this for 20 years. I sold the car to Matt Norman, and he is a big fan of autumn – he is a music enthusiast in general, he worked on the Vinyl Exchange in Manchester, he is a friend of Doves, he makes their videos. I think Matt still got them. I'm sure he does. I haven't seen them in a long time. I told the story of how I got them and ended up fighting with Mark E Smith. Bless him. That's how I met him – I was parked outside Night and Day, on Oldham Street. Mark opens the door and walks in, thinking I'm a taxi, and asks me to take him to Stockport. In 1997, I had just released my first EP or was about to – I was an unknown quantity to him.

I said, I am not a taxi, but I will take you. He was really drunk. He went out and fell. He came back, I took him to his mother. The next day, I was cleaning the car and there was a set of teeth on the floor. It was not a whole set of teeth, like a bridge. So I called him, I didn't want to embarrass him, and he said don't worry, I have a lot of them. So I kept them.


In the car, I was playing Pet Sounds and he was like, what is it, I never heard it, it's amazing – and he was talking about it like it was something he had never heard of. He said, can I have it? I said, if you record a song with me. Then he took my number and called me. I had to deal with the teeth incident first. He called me and said they were going to the studio, so I met him, went by his house and played some tapes of ideas that I had. He was excited and loved it, I left the tape and he chose a song and we ended up recording it – a song called Calendar. It is not enough time to tell the whole story of how Mark works in the studio. Just stammering, barking orders, telling everyone that I was the boss. It was also a classic fall lineup, Carl on drums, Steve Hanley on bass, one of the classics. And he took me down and said, this is Damon, listen to him, so he went out and left us. They were looking at me like, who is this boy? I taught them music and then told Mark that they were not getting it right. He said, I thought so – he didn't really know what the hell was going on. It was hilarious, it was chaos. So they moved on to other songs and I wondered what I should be doing. I left and went for coffee. It was so funny. When people ask if there was a time when you could go back and relive it, that would be it – I would love to go back. Even standing in Mark's kitchen in Prestwitch, before the session, he was making me a cup of tea. There were literally two mugs in the cupboard, one for him and one for a guest. Hardly and furniture at home. The curtains were drawn, the TV in full swing. A piano that appeared to have been recovered from a shipwreck. I remember after reading his book, Renegade, and he said: yes, I only have enough furniture for me and a visitor. And so it was. I was in awe of him, but he was also very kind to me – he treated me as an equal. And that was what was shocking. He was giving me a break, a chance. My only regret is that we never work together again, because I would love to do something else with him.

If I ever write a few memoirs, an entire chapter will be about working with Mark, which was both incredible and ridiculously weird. I told this story years ago in Q magazine and I was naive in the game of doing interviews, and I wasn't even sure it would be printed. So Mark E Smith was understandably a little upset that I told him. It took a while to make it up – I said, I'm sorry, I have nothing but respect for you. Fortunately, we made it up sooner or later. Unfortunately he passed away. He was an absolute legend.

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