Lime Spider's Mick Blood Chats About 'Slave Girl'

Lime Spider's Mick Blood Chats About 'Slave Girl'

Did you tune into ABC last night to watch 'Paper Giants"? If you did, you might as been as thrilled as we were here at The Dwarf when the opening titles played The Lime Spiders finest moment and aussie garage rock classic song, 'Slave Girl'.

Lead singer and Lime Spider's frontman, Mick Blood reminisces and tells the story of this legendary aussie rock classic song.

The original single release of 'Slave Girl'.

The Story Of A Legendary Song...

I'm inspired to write this story after the irrepressible & iconic 'Slave Girl' has had ANOTHER life, blasting outta ABC's production of "Paper Giants" last night over the opening title credits as the lead track (our live version). This song has had an amazing history and changed mine and many others lives for the better. It's a story in itself with it's remarkable longevity after a less then hopeful start. Here it is.

The origins of the song come from a throwaway riff that Richard Jakimyszyn used to peel off automatically at rehearsals every time he plugged his guitar into his amp, to check his sound. It was a variation of The Sonics 'Have Love Will Travel', which I'm not even sure if Jacko ever heard. In any case I became aware that what he was playin' was actually a little trickier then that (a four finger stretch over 3 frets).

The Sonics - Have Love Will Travel

One day at rehearsal I asked Richard to keep playin' the riff, as I thought we could construct a song around it. He looked at me as if I was crazy (possibly correct) but obligingly cranked his amp & played it with venom, as the band jammed on it for the first time. It wasn't going anywhere so I suggested the all important stops to break it up without any actual change.....making it beautifully moronic & hynotic.

I went away with the riff in my head without any lyrics. I woke up one Sat morning at a house I was staying at in O'Connell St Chippendale and the lyrics flooded my head and I wrote them down as fast as I was thinking of them, inspired by the macabre primevil '60's punk song "Good Times"...a very similar arrangement. I wanted to capture a similarly primitive and laconic imagery. This became the early version of the song with only two verses & one guitar solo, finishing with "Watch Out". We started playing this live & eventually decided to record it as our 2nd single. Leading up to the recording I decided it was too short and needed another solo & verse. The Spiders had our last rehearsal before the recording session at Fatboy Studios in Rozelle & I came armed with the last verse. I suggested to Jacko that he play something he's never done before for the second guitar solo, to take the song to another level. We had a good understanding and Jacko blew us away with a searing metal edged freakout before turning around & shyly seeking approval. It was difficult to speak with our mouths agape but we all gave him the neccessary & deserved encouragement. We then entered Central Recording Studios in Surry Hills that Saturday with the monster in our kit.

The recording process was very interesting & educational. We were in the hands of Tom Meisner, an older dude who owned the School Of Audio business (Central Recorders) He warmed immediatley to the vibe of the song & Jacko's amazing guitar playing in particular. We recorded the "beds" of rythmn section (Richard Lawson's powerful beat locked in with "Chief" Bambach's awesome bass playing. Jacko laid down the riff with a fat Les Paul through a Marshall and it was starting to take shape. The producer (Tom) then pulled a master stroke, backing Jacko's ability to replicate the riff with his usual precision. He decided to double track it with a much nastier sound to give it the edge it needed. He proceeded to stick a 12 inch vox practise amp inside a bass drum & crank it up to maximium volume, sending Richard into the vortex of sound to double the riff. I curiously & stupidly wandered into the room without ear plugs as Jacko was layin' down the track & almost had my ears dissolved. I had my doubts about this trashy sound until I heard it married to the Marshall track & realised Tom had the right idea. Jacko played it so tight it's almost impossible to detect the double track.

I then laid down my vocal with enough intensity to match the sound. The intro was my idea as I felt the song needed a haunting atmosphere at the top. We layered the backing vocals and I dripped a Triumph bike chain in front of a very sensitive valve mike. Whilst Jacko and amps were HOT we recorded several tracks of each guitar solo, leaving us with plenty of amazing tracks to choose from for the mix. We ended up combining 2 of these solos in the mix for the second instrumental break, creating a spooky sonic mindfuck.

We finished the session mid Sunday morning & I remember being so excited & eager for anybody to hear the finished product that I raced home to my unsuspecting sister Jenny, woke her up in the middle of the night & stuck the phones on her head...didn't quite get the initial reaction I was hoping for from my poor little sister at that ungodly hour!

I was confident we'd captured something magical & started approaching the hippest Indie labels in Sydney with the double edged sword..."Slave Girl" & "Beyond The Fringe" Waterfront Rcords were my first choice but they weren't interested. I then approached Phantom Records who didn't even give me the decency of an answer for weeks, when they finally also passed on it. Undaunted I then approached Hot Records who also were to reject our recording. I was beginning to think maybe I was imagining things & 3 stikes your out, etc, became disillusioned & lost interest in shopping it around any further.

It was then I received a phone call outta the blue from John Needham from the (at the time) fledgling Citadel record label. John was never known as an effusive chap but his enthusiasm for 'Slave Girl' was palpable over the phone as he described it as "one of the best songs I've ever heard". As nobody else seemed interested we released the beast with Citadel Records as a 7 inch vinyl single in April 1984, without a film clip or major record company backing etc.

The song became an instant smash, rocketing to the top of the Oz indie charts on the strength of massive sales in the first week. It even snuck into the 2WS Top 40 Charts at number 37 based on these sales figures. It remained number one on the Indie charts for a record breaking 37 weeks and remained in the top 10 for almost two years, becoming the biggest selling Oz indie single of all time. It was banned on 4ZZZ in Brisbane for it's "sexist" content & received very little airplay but it somehow made it into the first 2JJJ top 100 songs of all time, at number 87.

The Goo Goo Dolls - Slave Girl (Live At Red Rocks)

It was famously played live by The Goo Goo Dolls & recorded on their biggest selling studio album, "A Boy Named Goo" The Goo Goo Dolls also released a live version of "Slave Girl" recorded at Red Rocks no less to a huge audience (where they sampled our intro). It's still being played in cool Rock 'n Roll clubs & jukeboxes from New York to Melbourne & now has another life with the ABC production of Paper Giants, where the Lime Spiders live version blasted out of the screen at the start of the programme last night over the opening credits. Many other bands have covered it and it's in general been a hugely influential song.

So there it is. I'm not pissing in my pocket but very proud of a song which almost didn't get released....hope you enjoyed the history of it.

Come and witness 'Slave Girl' & other Lime Spider classics live as the band are playing two shows this weekend in Sydney and Adelaide.

Saturday the 8th of June
The Bald Faced Stag
345 Parramatta Rd Leichhardt
(02) 9560 7188

Sunday the 9th of June
The Governor Hindmarsh Hotel with the Hoodoo Gurus
59 Port Rd, Hindmarsh,
(08) 8340 0744

The last time The Lime Spiders played 'Slave Girl' in Melbourne at The Espy in St Kilda

Cover by local Melbourne band, Cold Harbour at The Bowlo.
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