After the unsurprising but disappointing lack of success of
'$hit Factory', Rebel Records wanted us to get back in the studio as soon as possible and come up with another 'classic' Test-Tubes album. I think secretly they hoped that we'd come up with something at least as good as 'Soberphobia'. Trouble is, it doesn't really work like that, you can't just conjure up great songs from thin air - they need more time and work.
I remember Del saying to me at the end of 1990 as we came back from a gig somewhere, "Chin, we've really got to write some more good songs again and soon". Thing is, my creative genius had hit a wall, on the song-writing front I was fucked, total writers block. A few months later Del phoned me up to find out how the lyric writing was going, "it isn't" I said, "don't worry" said Del,
"I have just written the new album". I was more than a little surprised but also a bit relieved. Anyway, as soon as we could get Ogs to find some time, off we went to the Sunday School Rehearsal Studios in London.
True to his word, Del had written a load of songs some of which were really good. We spent about 10 days rehearsing but at this stage in the game we could all tell that Ogs heart wasn't in it. The famous "I ain't drumming fast for your benefit" saying came out at this time and at times the atmosphere was a little strained to say the least.
It must have been during April that we were rehearsing because I remember our bet on the Grand National. What happened was me and Del and Trap decided to 'invest' a fiver of band funds at the bookies, Del predicted which horse would finish 3rd, I predicted 2nd place and Trap the winner. This as you probably know is called a 'tricast', so we placed our bet and went off to the rehearsals. Shortly before the start of the race we stopped for a break, and the four of us went to the pub, you won't believe this but Del's horse finished 3rd as he predicted, mine finished 2nd and Trapper's...fell at the first fucking fence! I later worked it out we'd have won over 21 Grand! Nice one Trap!
Anyway, we went back and a few days later we had sixteen new songs ready, my only contribution was some crappy lyrics to the title track. So although I felt a lot of the songs were rubbish, it was as much my fault for not writing anything better. Del knew this but of course nothing was said, also by now Ogs had decided that he wanted paying for rehearsal and recording which in some ways was fair enough.
Well, if Ogs was going to be paid so were the rest of us. I think from the album budget (which wasn't a lot to start with) we paid ourselves a grand each, this was something we'd never done before or since. Fortunately, as always we'd arranged a lot of cheap deals along the way, thank god for the power of hard cash! Del knew this bloke called Shaun Harvey who could get us cheap studio time and who'd help us engineer and produce the album, and so it was that in May we went into Boundary Row Studios to make 'Cringe'.
Trouble is the combination of Ogs' attitude, only a handful of good songs and trying to cut corners everywhere 'cos we had no money took its toll. Whereas
'$hit Factory' sounded great, 'Cringe' sounded poor and it wasn't Shaun or Del's fault, we cut corners, we rushed it and it sounds like it. That's not to say it's a complete disaster, in fact there is a few good songs on it (hidden amongst the shit). I really like 'Shit British Tour', 'The Gardener', 'The Man Who Did Nothing', 'Shit At It' and 'Goodbye Forever'.
Actually, whilst I have been writing this obviously I've been stopping and reading back what I've written. I thought perhaps I'd been a bit rash so I've just had a break, gone upstairs and played the album again for the first time in years. Jesus Christ! Is 'There's A Penis On My Shoulder' the worst song we've ever done or what?! It's so bad it could almost be good...NOT!! Sorry but for me this is our worst album by far, as for the sleeve, well that just about finishes it off, some babies holding test tubes...Hmmm, very original !
I'm sorry Del, I know you worked hard on this and I'm not blaming you but fucking hell we certainly got one thing right and that was the title!