Pete Quaife's story about the recording session for the "Virgin Soldiers" theme

Date: May 31, 2000
From: Pete Quaife
Subject: the ultimate embarrassment

Ok. As you might know I used to live opposite Ray on Fortis Green - which meant that I was often at his place listening whilst he was composing. I was there when he finished The Virgin Soldiers theme and, being very fast on the uptake, I had the melody and arrangement down pat. Ray suggested that, as I knew the piece, I play session bass on the recording - which I agreed to. When I arrived at the studio the room was filled with real, live musicians! This was a first for me and so I proudly made my way over to the bass amplifier and plugged in - in full view of the professionals (who were probably wondering who the hell I was). After a while the arranger came round handing out the sheet music to each musician. He got to me and asked "Are you the bass player?" "Yep!" I replied, smiling at the others. I put the music on the stand and began to studiously study it - dismissing the fact that I couldn't read a note! With a cool shake of the head I sat back complacently and waited for the first run-through. We went through the number several times without any problems. I can tell you I had never felt so proud. Suddenly the arranger decided to make a change to the arrangement....! I knew now that my musical ear was about to be tested to the max! I sat and listened as hard as I could to what the pianist was doing. After a couple of tries I felt I had it in the bag - the change wasn't that drastic. However, the arranger began to make his way slowly around the studio making the necessary changes to each musician's score. When he got to me he again asked, "And you are the bass player?" I nodded and he took my music score and went to make the changes. Suddenly his face took on a confused look as he studied the score - then, with a sigh he turned the score upside down - that is, the right way up....    Can you imagine how I felt?   Regards, The Crutch.