Needle in The Red had been around, in some form or another, for a couple of decades or so before it finally saw its release on Swallowing The Sun. I'd actually written it during my time with The Headlights; we'd even played it live a couple of times and recorded a demo of it at some point. For some reason, it never became a regular part of our setlist and I suppose I just filed it away for a rainy day.
One day, when Ed and I were assembling songs for our Cycle album, it happened to be pissing it down... so I decided to have another crack at recording the song. After basic tracks and vocals were done, I invited Dave Gregory to play on it to see if he might help breathe new life into it. He did.
Frustratingly, the new recording was beset with all sorts of technical problems (probably all my fault) and a protracted period of trying to work around assorted glitches, time clock issues and other headache-inducing concerns pushed my co-producers, Ed Woltil and Brian Merrill, close to breaking point. So, the song was shelved. Filed away for a different rainy day, you might say.
I hated the fact that a song that we'd worked so hard on might never see the light of day, so when I began work on Swallowing The Sun, I always hoped that Needle in The Red might find a way to poke its head out from between the rain clouds and make a belated appearance. Since Ed was tasked with the bulk of the production duties, it fell on his shoulders to wade through old files, discarding problematic ones and insisting upon the re-recording of others. Despite coming perilously close to donning a straightjacket at one point, he somehow managed to get the song ship-shape, and on to the album it went. Now you know who to blame...
So is it a snarky song about religious beliefs, or is it perhaps my clunky effort at an anti-drug song? Buggered if I know; it's been way too long since it was written for me to recall. It's probably best just to ignore my plaintive bleating and simply languish in the glory that is Dave Gregory's guitar playing.