In the story below there is a recipe for saving analog tapes that have started to deteriorate. It says the method had not been tried. Well, one night Zero set his oven in the kitchen to 130 degrees F. and stuck a tape in there. This was a last ditch effort because this tape sounded really bad and contained one of the bands earliest and greatest songs. There was five or six copies of it and all were shredding as they were played.
The result is you get this funny high end distortion that ruins any listening pleasure especially in the quiet parts. So it was with crossed fingers that Zero jumped in the sack that night for his well deserved hours of restorative slumber. The next a.m., bright eyed, bushy tailed with a cold and shiny nose, he awoke to face the next day of the rest of his life and took out that tape. Because there was a few copies it didn’t matter if one got fried, but, lo and behold, a little later when it was played…it was fabulous! It sounded brand new!
When a-b-ed with the other attempts at saving the same song, there is no comparison, any one with ears can hear the difference. So the old gem ‘Astro-Play’ is now transferred and part of the ‘Anthology One’ collection available on iTunes.
If The Kings were in it for fame and glory and big bucks they would have packed it in long ago. The truth is that so many people have told the band how much they like the music that as long as the ideas keep coming The Kings intend to keep writing and recording. Someday it will be nice to reach a large audience and make some decent money at music again but until then – press on regardless.
One day awhile ago Diamond and Zero were talking about the different albums that had been released by The Kings. They added up all the different original songs and came up with somewhere around 48.
Of course there is a lot more material. Folks just haven’t been able to hear it yet. It was time to start looking into the past. What was discovered has turned out to be very interesting. One of the important things has a technical side and that has to do with analog tape deterioration. In today’s digital world it is presumed that long-term storage is not going to be a problem.
Analog tape is another matter. Some tape manufacturers put out tape that did not last as long as others. It just so happens that one of the big companies’ product was pretty much a music industry standard. If it was not stored properly the problem is even worse. The good news is The Kings had a good storage area. So, a few years ago Mister Zero accumulated and did his best to organize all the Kings stuff he could lay his hands on.
Given the fact that The Kings have never split up and have been writing and doing demos and live tapes since the beginning this turned into quite a chore. Some of the original two track masters were found and some were only on cassette. Some songs are not in their final form and are only first versions. Some of the tapes were been okay and were been easy to transfer to the digital medium.
There are many however that were dubbed onto that nasty kind of tape (we won’t mention the brand name but it begins with A and ends with X) and they actually started shredding as they were played. After talking to some experts about the problem it seemed that the solution was to bake the tapes. Really. First you have to make sure they are on metal reels and have no leader between the songs.
Then you put the tape in an oven set at 125 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for eight hours. This reapplies the binder and makes the tape playable but only for a limited time and number of passes. This method has not been tried by The Kings as yet but may be the only way. (see above) The good news is that a lot of the tunes seem to have survived in pretty good shape.
More than sixty songs were safely put into the digital world. There are songs from the old days of WhistleKing and songs from after the band had lost all their record deals. There are rockers, ballads, country songs and prog-rock marathons. There are some fabulous songs and there are some stinkers, some stand the test of time and some are hopelessly dated.
Some feature the old original line-up and some just Diamond-Zero with a drum machine. Some have Sonny singing lead!
What it really means is a bonanza for the tried and true Kings fan. The result, ‘Anthology One’, available only on iTunes, is a great collection of this rare material.