Go Four 3 (Six Song EP)

Making the EP

We rehearsed the crap out of these songs before going in to studio, because studio and 2” tape cost so frickin’ much and we were paying for all the recording costs while Zulu was paying for pressing and production. We did 8 track demos at ICA studios with Jeff Goodrich, about 11 songs and we narrowed it down to the 6 on the EP. Ironically the most successful song, Just Another Day, was our 7th pick and wasn’t going to go on the EP, but Grant McDonagh of Zulu records convinced us to record it instead of 7th Victim, which appeared on the Six Friends album. Our original drummer quit before we went in to studio due to artistic differences. We rehearsed with Matt Johnson of French Letters at the time (and later 54-40) but ended up using Ian Noble from The Modernettes in studio. Ian was about to head to Percussion Institute of Technology (MIT but for people who hit things with sticks), but offered to drum on the EP for us. Ironically Ian would return to Vancouver and join us after Six Friends was released, but he didn’t drum on Six Friends, that was Culture Shock (my second band) drummer Rob Tomkow... it’s kind of complicated.

Anyway, we recorded at Mushroom Studio from Midnight to 6am half time rate with Ric Arboit engineering and Greg Reely producing. I borrowed Glenn Reely, Greg’s younger brother and guitarist for the French Letters, Schecter guitar – it was a much “hotter” sounding guitar than the Fender Stratocaster that I am shown holding on the back of the EP cover. I also borrowed Glenn’s Mesa Boogie amp. There was a great camaraderie even though we were on Zulu, as Ric was part owner at Nettwerk. It was a great time and everyone involved with the EP put in way more time and effort than they were financially rewarded for. That included mixing at Little Mountain Sound with Ron Obvious who was the inhouse tech who gave his all to make sure we had a chance to compete with bands that were signed to major labels and had funding that we didn’t have. It is one of my happiest memories. And special shout out to my buddy Nob Ogasawara for doing GoFour3 stickers as inserts for the first EP. There were so many people who really gave their all to help us.

Side 1

Just Another Day

The irony was we almost didn’t record this song for the EP as we didn’t think it was in the top six songs for the EP. We were going to record Seventh Victim instead. Grant McDonagh at Zulu Records suggested we should record it. It was also going to be the first song on side two of the EP as we didn’t think it was a single. Grant took the masters back to the UK and let his sister and PIL drummer Jim Walker listen to the EP and they all thought this was the best song. So what the hell do I know. Grant got the EP mastered and pressed in France and this was the first track and became the song that launched our career. Makes me wonder how many of my other songs that I didn’t think much of might have been hits (probably zero). Song was influenced by Scottish band The Scars “All About You” in the verses, combined with the Beatles Eight Days A week in the chorus, which was one of the first songs I learnt to play, and the Who in the middle eighth for generally mayhem and some backward guitars just because I love backwards guitars. It was a combination though that I was always striving for, a combination of happy upbeat music with melancholy lyrics. Lyrically it was at a political stab at Pierre Elliot Trudeau with the first line of “promises promises” where he back tracked immediately upon being elected in the early 80’s, and then the cheery chorus of “It’s getting so much harder” where in a dark moment I was contemplating why go on with living. But it’s all good…and as the song says “it’s just another day…” so no matter how bleak things look just go to frickin’ bed and maybe tomorrow won’t be so bad.

Death of Love

As a three-piece band with a (cranky but lovable) vocalist, one of the issues was how to make the band sound bigger without a second guitarist or keyboards. One way was to do a lot of the double note guitar playing to fill out the sound. Plus, we wanted to show some growth as musicians and make it a little more challenging for others to figure out how the heck we played some songs. So Gord and I retuned the E string on bass and guitar respectively a full semi tone and that allowed the open E6 to be an F# and combined with the A and D string fingerings to get a more melodic and fuller sound. Was a bit of a pain in the arse live, so eventually we had back up guitars and bass detuned just for this song. I got to put my history degree to use by quoting “rising expectations” in the verses based on the Russian revolution. Some really nice piano work by Gord on this one and his bass line has a bit of an Echo and the Bunnymen and Tomorrow feel to it. Roxanne captures my inner sadness quite well. Love my guitar solo. Someone has to. Greg Reely did some additional percussion on the song as well.

Waiting for a Train

A few years earlier I was in Essex in the UK with my relatives and going to couple of gigs for the Purple Hearts and Secret Affair. What really struck me was the different coloured lights at the train stations compared to Vancouver. There was an eerie yellow/orange glow to them that we didn’t see in Vancouver. I was trying to capture that feeling of returning from a gig, waiting at the train station for the last train home, though the waiting for a train metaphor was really for waiting for a date. Jay Homenchuk, mod lead singer of the French Letters was pulled in to do back up vocals. Definitely going for a mod feel on this one. Ron Obvious, who was mixing us at Little Mountain Sound had suggested we change the song to Waiting For A Thrill. We weren’t keen on the idea as it kind of went against the rest of the lyrics, but I wonder in retrospect if that might have been a really good call. As a tip of the hat in a very good natured way we inscribed “Waiting For…” on the inner groove of the EP on side one, and “…A Thrill” on the inner groove of side two of the EP.

Side 2

In My Dreams

We actually thought this was going to be the single for the EP. Heavily influenced by some of the great psychedelic paisley sound bands from the West Coast like The Three O’Clock, Salvation Army, The Bangles and The Things. And the usual theme of unrequited love. Some really nice back up harmonies on this that Gord and Roxanne worked on, and Gord really nailed some great bass runs on this on.

Look Away

I figured out how to play a C bar chord and thought I could write a song on it while mixing in the Dear Prudence guitar lick in the chorus, which to this day is one of the great little guitar licks of all time. I can’t believe how fast we’re playing this one. I don’t even want to think about how many takes at 2am in the morning that it took for me to get the guitar solo. And every rhythm guitar track on the EP is double tracked. Which is probably why Greg and Ric avoid me to this day. The horror... Oh the horror...

Go Four 3 Theme

An instrumental to end the EP. Gord wrote this one, he showed me all the guitar parts. He basically dreamt this one and then woke up and wrote it down. I think he just fell asleep listening to Agent Orange but whatever. There is an alternate version where Mike Davies of the Enigmas plays during the middle eighth, but his guitar playing was so good we couldn’t include it on the album because it didn’t sound like anything else recorded!

Roxy Roller (2020 Release Bonus Track)

Released as the B-Side to the Six Friend’s single Someone, we recorded this one in an afternoon at Little Mountain Sound with Ron Obvious. So recorded after the EP and Six Friends but we always liked the idea of giving fans something extra so we’ve included it here on this EP. Recorded in 4 hours, 2 hours of which was me trying to get the guitar solo down. Ron was sooooo good to us. Roxy Roller was always a crowd favorite and we loved playing some guilty pleasures from the 70’s like this one, This Flight Tonight, You Could Have Been A Lady, Immigrant Song etc. I was a huge Sweet fan, and a big Sweeney Todd and Nick Gilder fan. Classic song.

If you enjoyed these notes look forward to The Day Nobody Came – my autobiography on Culture Shock, Go Four 3, Thrill Squad, and The Irises. Stay tuned for releases of Six Friends and Anchors Away – all unreleased tracks and demos from Go Four 3.

-Stephen Quinn

Go Four 3 is:
Steve Quinn – Guitar
Roxanne Heichert – Vocals
Gord Badanic – Bass, Piano

Special Thanks To:
Ian Noble - Drums
Greg Reely – Additional percussion
Jay Homenchuk – Backing vocals

Produced by Ron Obvious, Grant McDonagh and Go Four 3 at Little Mountain Sound 1984.
Recorded at Mushroom Sound Studios by Greg Reely, assisted by Tilde Fiorda.
Additional recording at Inside Track Studios engineered by Gary Tole and Jeff Goodrich.
Preproduction engineered at ICA Studios by Jeff Goodrich, mixed by Ric Arboit.
Executive Producer Grant McDonagh.
Photographs by David Jacklin.
Layout by Stephane.
All songs written and arranged by Go Four 3, (Quinn/Heichert/Badanic) 1985.
Published by Go Four 3 Music.