Recorded at Cherokee Studios, Los Angeles.
Additional recording at Sigma Sound Studios, Philadelphia.
Mastered at Sterling Sound, New York.
It's no secret that Espionage is headed straight for the top. But what's intriguing is why Espionage works. Here's a duo who can complement each other, yet rarely agree on anything. Chazz and Paul make it work, although each has his own opinion on why and how. The resulting LP, ESP, incorporates all the writing talent and influences that Chazz Coghlan and Paul Hutchinson have accumulated in their lives and travels - and more than five years together as Espionage.
Both Chazz and Paul were born in Liverpool. They've known each other for 13 years, but it wasn't until years later that they met up again and decided to form Espionage.
Chazz has played keyboards since he was five years old, adding new instrurrents along the way. Paul's father taught music theory; Paul recalls, "Oh, I used to get lost on Sundays when he was teaching. I hated it. All the best pupils were reading from music and it was all so stale. I know the notes but I view the rest of it as technical hurdles standing in the way of musical progress."
Chazz started playing cabaret bars and nightclubs when he was 17. He traveled extensively to exotic places (i.e. Saudi Arabia), and says that he was greatly influenced by the musical sounds of different countries. He notes that his song, "Imagination," reflects an Arabian rhythmic style. Paul played in several bands, and did some traveling himself, to places as far away as Algeria.
When they did meet up again, five and a half years ago, they recruited several other musicians and formed Espionage. Chazz suggested the name because "there had been a lot of industrial espionage going on at the time, and I thought it applied to the music industry as well, and thought it would work for us." Paul liked it too, because it is a word that needs no translation in most continental countries. It's self-explanatory because music is universal - "it's only fair that our nane shouldn't be obscure because of a language barrier."
Their demo tape came to the attention of Roy Thomas Baker. He produced their first album in 1982 with Gordon Fordyce engineering. It signaled the beginning of some rough times for the band. They went through a stormy period With label and band troubles. As Paul puts it, "There was a political imbalance within the band, with some members doing the least work yet wanting the biggest slice of the cake!"
Chazz and Paul had dropped their band and forged ahead on their own, when they came to the attention of Elektra Records. The result being ESP. This time, Roy Thomas Baker played the role of Executive Producer, with Gordon Fordyce as Producer. Chazz says "I'm pleased with the way ESP came out. The first album was obviously rushed together for one reason or another. This album, represents a more relaxed and experienced approach obviously, because it's our second time around!" Paul adds, "We made the decision to stay together, we're still doing it because we know we've gOt something new and different to offer, and we deserved the chance to prove it. It's great to be able to say that because we didn't feel too good about the first album, though it did have its moments."
Chazz: "We don't write an idea and think we shouldn't use it's a different sound than the last thing we did. Lots of bands On the charts seem to inhibit their own talents because their afraid to move away from the style that has brought them success. we're willing to experiment and not stick to any one formula."
This is where the uniqueness of Chazz and Paul's relationship over the years becomes apparent. "We're not a writing team," says Chazz, "we used to try to write together in the early days, but it didn't work, it became more of a task," Each of the songs on the album is written by either Chazz OR Paul. There are no collaborations. Chazz adds, "It wasn't by choice that we decided on each writing our own material. But we are so different in style that we decided it was better that way, because anything else would be a compromise." Paul confirms, "We did co-write when we first conceived Espionage over five years ago, and although I learned a lot from Chazz, we found it was a waste of time and became too much of a 'headache!'", BUt he does say that they both watch over each other, "We sometimes sit each other down when we become adament about anything and say 'you're going to hate me for this. but...' - the general result being two sets of quality control - but even so, the writer always gets the last say."
So why do they stay together? Paul continues, "It Works so well, we can't push each other around on our own material because we give each other the artistic freedom we need individually."
And the recording process is unique as well. Paul says "Chazz was in Philadelphia recording Grover Washington, Jr. on "I Couldn't Get To Sleep Last Night," while Roy was in L.A. putting the running order of the album together. At the same time, I was recording overdubs while Gordon Fordyce was setting up mixes, so sometimes we weren't even around each other though the project was forging ahead on all fronts. But as far as collaboration goes, Chazz plays some pieces which I wanted him to do because his style was perfect for it - he played timbales on 'Cinema Majic' and I played the bass slap on the introduction of 'Imagination.'"
Something that both Chazz and Paul adamantly agree on is a total commitment to Music. Chazz says, "It's simple really - it's the only thing I know how to do. It sounds so cliche, but music is my life!," and Paul, "I'm quite happy, I can't do anything half as well as music." Chazz adds, "we are not money-oriented. we are musicians, we do that and nothing else. we are not typical musicians - we don't write anything down on paper, we tend to put down what we first and foremost feel, and try to capture the original inspiration for the song and not lose it along the way."
Chazz Coghlan and Paul Hutchinson - together they form ESPIONAGE - armed with a new label, stacks of songs and ideas and raring to go! As Chazz succinctly puts it, "When all is said and done, I'm what he's not, and he's what I'm not - and if you understand that, you must explain it to me sometime!"
Special thanks to: Bob Krasnow and Elektra Records, Con Merten, Toby T. Wright, Bruce Valk, Paul Levy & John Boghosian.
Gary Grant, Chuck Findley, Larry Hall, Larry Williams & Bill Reichenbach appear courtesy of Columbia Records.
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