In the year 1979 I had been making lots of noise in the privacy of living rooms and garages in Mona Vale and Manly with a bunch of surfie misfits called the Barons. They were all obsessed with Van Der Graf generator and King Crimson and the namesake star of a low rent TV spy show (ala The Saint). The Baron by his own definition was cool and sophisticated and, like Dean Martin, he was too cool to give a fuck. To borrow a line from the underrated wisdom of the Seekers he was living in a world of his own... So the Barons adopted his name and sense of cool and became pop stars in the privacy of their own home. It was a bit like the movie Point Break; Keanu reeves would have been trying to infiltrate this strange Baron cult. Mitch Jones ("Mad Mitch") and myself came in at a later stage in 1978 as the Barons had been around for many years.
A Barons' session might begin with a wink and a raised eyebrow and an invitation from one of the players "fancy an evening of the barons?" Mmmm... OK!
After many cones and stuff the tapes would start rolling. One Baron recording remains and it is available for trade. This really is the first M-Squared recording as Mitch and I were assembling the equipment that was to become the M-Squared studio and the Barons were our first subject.
The Barons were Muz, Big Bob (with the electro-sexual stare), Devadip Fred (who owned the house where M-Squared was eventually located), Mark Tremlett and Fiona (a different one) and a few others whose names have been erased by chemicals. Mitch met the barons thru Mark and the Balmain collage of the arts, and I met Mitch thru Mark when we flatted together in Central Avenue in manly in 1978.
The music on this recording was edited by Mitch and myself for the "Barons Greatest Hits EP" released on doublethink in 1979 and "Paint It Black" released on "Growing Pains" in 1980.
Mitch, Mark and I reconvened the Barons at xmas 1980 at the newly built M-Squared studio in Wilshire St, Surry Hills. The rest of the Barons didn't turn up, so we went ahead without them.
We became Scattered Order and Mark coined the name M-Squared for the studio and our own label.
Doublethink (Roger Grierson) sent Patrick Gibson over to meet us and he ended up recording at the studio over xmas with Michael Filewood and Fiona Graham as the Systematics.
Patrick also joined up with us on Scattered Order (with Simon Vidale from the numbers on drums).
M-Squared was bred over xmas 1979 and hatched in October 1980 with the first three official msquid EPs.
Though I always consider the Barons Greatest Hits to be the first M-Squared recording, I still remember the thrill and chuckle over our first 'official' record, how EMI had difficulty mastering it, how Stuart Coupe gave it a serious and positive review... etc.
Though I wish we had recorded our version of Twentieth Century Schziod man, where we would play along with the live version off KC's USA LP. We used to play along with records a lot; it was easier as we could not be bothered working out how to play our instruments properly. We just wanted to make a silly racket. Though we used to have a tape edit of the audience cheers from Kiss Alive, which we would play after our performances (for closure and comfort).
The Barons' maxim was "so?", meaning "do you expect me to justify this - I won't".