Producer Gary Katz, 10cc
...Meanwhile is the tenth studio album by British pop band 10cc. It was recorded at Bearsville Studios in Woodstock, New York, The Hit Factory, New York, River Sound Studios, New York, Bill Schnee Studio, Los Angeles and Village Recorders, Los Angeles and released in 1992.
The album was the band's first in nine years and marked the brief comeback of original 10cc members Kevin Godley and Lol Creme: Godley performed lead vocals on "The Stars Didn't Show" and backing vocals on two songs, while Creme supplied backing vocals on six songs. It also featured appearances by singer Andrew Gold, blues pianist Dr. John and accomplished session musicians including Michael Landau and Jeff Porcaro, who were hired by Katz.
The album's closing song, "Don't Break the Promises", was co-written with Paul McCartney.
Background to recording
In a 1992 radio interview Graham Gouldman revealed the background to their reunion: "A couple of years ago, an album came out called Changing Faces – The Very Best of 10cc and Godley & Creme. That did really well and we all met up again for a lunch. It was to be presented with these fabulous platinum discs. Also round that time our record company made us a very nice offer that we couldn't really refuse, and the fact that we'd all come together again ... we'd sort of resisted working together again and it seemed like a nice thing to do."
But five years later he expressed some disappointment with the finished product. He said they had entered the studio with a stockpile of 22 songs. "We had some good songs," he said, "so we felt confident that we could still do it. Polydor were pleased with the demos, and so we did the album. But then we got to the studio, and we had problems with our producer. There wasn’t always harmony and I think it created it a very one dimensional album. It’s also got this darkness to it that I don’t like. Some of the songs, particularly 'Welcome to Paradise', which were brilliant when you hear the demos, didn’t translate into the studio."
He told Goldmine magazine he thought Polydor might have chosen Katz because of his strong association with Steely Dan, a band with whom 10cc were often compared. "Our record company wanted an American producer, they thought it would help break the American market, and once you start to follow things like that, it’s the slippery slope. That and other things combined to make an album which could have been a lot better. There were two things that were wrong for me, I didn’t like his idea of bringing in session men; they weren’t our players, they weren’t our band. Jeff Porcaro was one of the finest drummers in the universe, Freddie Washington the finest bass player. But anyone could have them and I was against this. Gary wanted to use his people, though. He’d always used them, he was very secure with them."
Eric Stewart, also expressed some regrets over the album. "I love the Meanwhile tracks, but wish we hadn't gone to Gary Katz for production. At the time it was thought by Polyglot that we needed 'new blood' to produce us in a different way. I really enjoyed working with other musicians though, especially Jeff Porcaro on the drums, but in retrospect the production mess we got into leaves a bad taste in my mouth."
On 10ccworld.com, Gouldman says that Stewart ended up leaving the sessions early. He also goes on to state that due to the bad memories of its making, he has never been able to listen to ...Meanwhile.
Both Gouldman and Stewart point to the experience of making ...Meanwhile as the beginning of the end of their partnership and 10cc.
Apart from Kevin Godley's vocals on "The Stars Didn't Show" and a bonus version of "Woman In Love" with Gouldman singing lead, all of the album's lead vocals were sung by Stewart.
The album ended up costing £750,000 to make, thanks to extra production from Eric, and extra mixing from Robin Barclay. By the time the album was completed and ready to release there had been changes at Polydor and the new regime didn't believe it would be a hit, and spent very little to promote it – "Polydor spent £750,000 to make it and £7,500 to promote it," Graham Gouldman in a hospital radio interview in 1993. The album narrowly missed the Top 75 album chart in the UK (though it made No.66 in the Network chart – an alternative to the official chart). The first single "Woman in love" was released on cd, cassette single and vinyl, backed with the non-album track "Man with a mission". The single included the album version of the track rather than the single edit that was issued to radio – and was finally made commercially available on the 2008 re-issue of the album. The second single "Welcome to Paradise", a favourite of both Eric and Graham's followed, available on vinyl and cd single. A catalogue number was made available for a cassette single but this was never issued . The single also included the album version of the title track, with 2 further non-album tracks – "Don't" and "Lost in love", the former being the only track with lead vocals from Graham. The single failed to chart and sank without a trace. In a magazine interview with Eric stated that there were 4 or 5 singles on ...Meanwhile. Graham Gouldman was interviewed by Mark Wardle on Tarka Radio – a hospital radio station – in 1993 and asked him what other songs had been selected for singles. He replied that "Don't Break the Promises" would have been the third single, and then "The Stars Didn't Show" and "Wonderland" as fourth and fifth possible singles. Due to the lack of success on the first two singles, these were cancelled. Later that year, Polydor, who the band had signed a five-album deal with, didn't take up their option and dropped the band.
In a 2006 interview Kevin Godley recalled the tension in the studio as he helped record it. He said: "I wasn’t involved with the making of this album at all so I know very little about how it was put together. I was simply asked to sing lead vocal on one song and was flown to New York to record it. The three of us had a lovely reunion breakfast on day one. As I recall all the basic tracks had already been recorded so it was myself, Graham, Eric and producer Gary Katz for two vocal heavy days.
"I do recall a strange atmosphere in the studio. An intangible awkwardness. Everything sounded 'great', everyone got on 'great', but there was an essential ingredient missing. I also sensed G and E growing apart. Gary Katz was acting as a political as well as creative buffer keeping personalities as well as music on course. I’ve never actually heard the complete album, although I did enjoy singing "The Stars Didn’t Show."
The album's liner notes included the line: "In memory of Hyme "The Rhyme" Gouldman (1908–1991)". Gouldman, an amateur playwright, was the father of Graham Gouldman.
The cover photography was supplied by the Prefecture de Police, Paris.
All tracks written by Eric Stewart and Graham Gouldman, except where noted.