I wrote this song in 1986 while on a leave of absence from Cornell, living in London. I went over with a girlfriend who was doing a semester abroad program from Ithaca College, and we found a flat with three people who ended up being good friends. I lucked out: one guy had a four-track cassette machine (a Yamaha MT44), plus a Fender Telecaster and microphone, and another guy had a Squier Stratocaster. It was just a little basement space in an ordinary old row house in Fulham, but I called it Cranbury Road Studios.
My older brother Doug had introduced me at an early age to Todd Rundgren, and I'd always really respected his studio wizardry in addition to his music. It blew my mind that with a multi-track recording studio Todd could play all the parts of a song and sing along with himself in multi-part harmony. Todd was truly the inspiration for The Andy Band --my own experiments of being a one-man band by bouncing between two stereo cassette decks while mixing in more parts. Now, finally, I had access to a four-track!
I seized on the opportunity, and spent a great deal of time in that basement over the next six months, filling nine 45-minute cassettes with new music. I figured out how to bounce two tracks of the four-track to the other two tracks while mixing in a new track, and bounced back and forth, layering sometimes a dozen tracks. But I had only electric guitars and a mic, so I had to improvise to get some sounds, like shaking matchboxes, ticking old mechanical alarm clocks, thumping a speaker with my thumb for a bass drum sound, or whacking a table with a pencil for a snare drum sound. There are also some trippy experiments with backwards sounds made by flipping the cassette over, but that's a whole other story (Otto!).
This is from the album 'the pops' by The Andy Band, from 1986, one of four CDs produced from the 6.75 hours of songs I recorded over those six months in London (see also 'noodle stranger', 'psychedelic freakbox', and 'naive visions'). 'Anything But Love' was a smash song for my band E.B.A. in the following years, really rocking with drums and bass (and our song preceded the TV show by a few years)! Speaking of TV, there's a video of E.B.A. playing this song on TV from late 1989.
In late 2009 I was trying to learn how to use iMovie on my new MacBook Pro, and decided to make a music video using this song and some video from a recently completed vacation to the Turks and Caicos Islands. We'd come home with a puppy, who you'll see in the video, but that's a whole other story (Caico!).
I remember that the lyrical inspiration for 'anything but love' was a feeling that I've always wanted to write lyrics that weren't "just another silly love song", but a realization that love songs are popular for a reason. So I listed a lot of things I could be singing about but "you don't want to hear about anything but love".
Thanks for listening!
Anything But Love You don't want to hear about Pollution and Poverty Bread-heads and Royalty You don't want to hear about Nuclear fallout Ozone layer burnout You don't want to hear about Anything but love (love, love) You don't want to hear about Cults and Religions Animal extinctions You don't want to hear about Myths and Lore Peace and War You don't want to hear about Anything but love (love, love) There's nothing wrong (there's nothing wrong) With silly love songs (silly love songs) But use your heart (use your heart) To do a bigger part (a bigger part) To bring the world together To bring the world together It doesn't take anything but love 3 May 1986 ©1986 by Andy Wyatt