Empire of Potential

Empire of Credits

"Losing You Makes Crucifixion Easy"
(Original: The Horse's Tongue, 1993. Remake: 2010)
I was trying to rip off the Pretenders' "Back on the Chain Gang" when I wrote this in 1992, so you can imagine my delight to have Robbie McIntosh playing on this 2010 remake.

Ant: vocals, acoustic guitars and Wurlitzer
Andy Metcalfe: bass
Michael Urbano: drums
Robbie McIntosh: electric guitar
Kevin Allison: electric guitars

"Third Eye"
(A Splendid Tray, 1999)
I'm clearly wearing my XTC fan-boy wig here. Scott Miller did a great job with the mix, weeding through my countless (and pointless) overdubs!

Ant: vocals, guitar, synth, electric sitar, Wurlitzer
Jeff Simons: bass
Creed Maggiora: drums
Kevin Allison: curly riff guitar
Joe Scuderi: backing vox
James Neil: percussion
Allyson Seconds: "ah" vox
Chris Webster: "ah" vox.
Mixed by Scott Miller.

"Keep My Face Clean"
(Original version: Guladong, 2003)
Recorded for a hometown compilation and involving the bassists from two of Sacramento's biggest-selling bands. Tesla's Brian Wheat produced this dark tune at his midtown studio, Cake's Gabe Nelson playing Hofner.

Ant: vox, piano, acoustic gtrs, synth
Andy Crisp: drums, backing vocals
Brad Cross: orig. drum loop
Gabe Nelson: bass
Recorded by Brian Wheat.

(Psychedelic Mynde of Moses, 2010)
Inspired by a trip to the Norfolk coast and recorded in Cambridge and Sacramento, this track represents my kitchen-sink-and-cutlery approach to psychedelic pop.

Ant: vocals, fuzzbass, guitar, synth, chatter
K'Allison: Hagstrom Swede
Dave Middleton : Strat/solo
Allyson Seconds: vocals
Alison Sharkey: cello

"Waterbugs and Beetles"
(Waterbugs & Beetles, 1995/2005)
I was big into Big Star when I wrote this. Some people think I threw away a good song with such a silly first verse, but this is the way my mind makes things make sense to itself.

Ant: bass, Hagstrom solo
Don Hawkins: extra guitar touch

"Automatic Door"
(The Automatic Door, 2007)
An anti-fundamentalist rant, recorded with Su Jordan in Oxford. This song went viral on YouTube, hitting something like 5,000,000 views before it got pulled down!

Ant: vocals, drums, Novation, acoustic guitar
Gabe Nelson: bridge bass
Su Jordan: vocals

"Leave It With Me I'm Always Gentle"
(Drug Free, 2006)
I'm not often overt with personal traumas or political concerns. So here's a painful breakup tale for you squished into the shape of a cheery murder ballad. With a whistling solo.

Ant: vocals, gtr, drums, bass
Su: vocals
Laima Bite: backing vocals
Julie Meyers: pad synth

"This Is Why They Call Me Guru 7"
(In the Village of the Apple Sun, 2006)
I was living a rather large psychedelic dream at the time, and this track was my manifesto. Village is my fave Ant album, and I'd have loved to include the whole thing here on Empire!

Ant: vocals, Wurlitzer, percussion
Gabe Nelson: bass
Rick Lotter: drums
Brad Cross: b-vox
Kevin Allison: spaced, twittery and chordal fuzzed guitars
Don Hawkins: bell guitar, dawn-eye fade-out guitar
Alan Strawbridge: beak guitar, rock and roll guitar

(King of Missouri, 2003/2005)
From the album I made in Bromley with the Bevis Frond. A brilliant recording experience, very streamlined and not at all the psychedelic mud-puddle I'd expected.

Ant: vocals, guitar?
Nick Saloman: lead and strummmmed guitar
Ade Shaw: bass
Andy Ward: drums
Recorded at Gold Dust, Bromley by Colin Andrews.

"Please Sir I've Got A Wooden Leg"
(A Splendid Tray, 1999)
I can't trace a line of influences for this song—it's fuzzbassed, synthy me. James Neil's drumming is stunning, no? Thematically it's in "Banana" territory.

Ant: fuzzbass, synths etc
Kevin Allison: riff guitar
James Neil: drums, backing vox
Lee Amir: backing vox
Janet Remley: backing vox

"MTV Song"
(Waterbugs & Beetles, 1995/2005)
I only wish someone would steal my songs, as at least I'd have a chance of making money in a lawsuit! These days it's the Three Minute Tease set-closer. Maybe I can sue myself.

Ant: guitar, vocals
Erik Kleven: bass
Creed Maggiora: drums
Don Hawkins: lead guitar

"Heather Song"
(The Horse's Tongue, 1993)
This was in daily rotation on the big "alternative" radio station in town. Girls and boys at gigs would weep to it, back when people actually came to my gigs!

Ant: guitar, vocals
Erik Kleven: bass
Creed Maggiora: bongos
Don Hawkins: lead guitar

"Pilot Plane Passenger"
(previously unreleased; this recording, 2010)
A basement demo version of this lonely teenage ballad got a nice review in a British magazine called One Two Testing. Years later I'm living in England, telling everybody to leave me alone so I can watch "Doctor Who"!

Ant: vocals, bass, piano
Michael Urbano: drums

"Another Stoned Piano"
(17th Century Fuzzbox Blues, 2000)
A Swedish review spoke of the "faux emotion" on display here. However much a craftsman I am, there are certain aspects of writing and playing music I can't control. Maybe my performance is a bit gangly, but this is as genuine as I get.

Ant: vocal, Guild guitar

"If I Could Bring You Trouble"
(Bag of Kittens, Allyson Seconds, 2009)
Al's voice is so honey-sweet and it was a challenge for me to sing with her without ruining the vibe of her album, but I love the softness of this track. Backing vocals from Stornoway and trumpet from Vince of Cake.

Allyson Seconds: vocals
Ant: vocals, drums, Wurlitzer, guitar
Larry Tagg: bass
Stornoway: backing vocals
Vince DiFiore: trumpet

"Banana Song"
(Original: A Splendid Tray, 1999. Remake: 2010)
The most enduring song I've got, and it's taken on new life with audiences in the UK and Europe. The truth is, I'm still begging for my reward every time I hit the stage.

Ant: vocals, synth, guitars
Morris Windsor: drums, backing vocals
Andy Metcalfe: bass
Scott Miller: lead guitar
Recorded at South Star Recorder (Berlin) Birdwood Swamp (Cambridge)

"Boat Called Home"
(Plastic Guitar, 2009)
Inspired by Stewart Lee's "Pea Green Boat," of all things, my stoned vocals recorded at 2am at my dad's. However far from "home" I might be, I'm always hoping this song will find itself a place to moor.

Ant: vocals, keyboards, Wurlitzer, drumbox
Larry Tagg: bass

"Mahjong Dijon"
(Guladong, 2003)
The wide-eyed anticipation of the journey ahead, all Julian Cope'd and keen. It's the flip-side to "Guru 7", but it's also simply a joyous little oddball tune that finishes up the album nicely, no?

Ant: vocals, fuzzbass, synths, guitar, drums
Brad Cross: backing vocals
Christina Maradik: viola


© Anton Barbeau. Photo of Anton by Karen Eng. Web site: interbridge.