THE BOTTLE
Lyrics by Ian Marshall; Music by Gary Radford
Debut: Chicago, Illinois, May 25, 1996

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Recorded at Suite 16 Studios, Piscataway, New Jersey, November 1997
Produced and Engineered by Paul Sukovich
Stephen Cooper - Bass; T-ski - Lead Guitar;
Robert Kubey - Drums; Jennifer Lehr - Vocals; Gary Radford - Guitar/Vocals



The Professors 20th Anniversary Show (1995-2015)
The Dreyfuss Theater, Fairleigh Dickinson University, Madison, New Jersey
December 12, 2015

The first demo tape of "The Bottle" was recorded in the bedroom of my parent's home in Sutton-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, England, on August 9, 1979. I was eighteen years old and in the sixth form at Sutton Centre Comprehensive School. The demo was recorded on two mono portable tape recorders. There was no audio jack to connect the two machines. Rather, I played a rhythm track on one machine and then played it back into the microphone of the second machine while singing or playing over it. I borrowed the electric guitar from my cousin, Patrick Wilcock, who said I could take it if I bought him a set of new strings. Here it is for your listening pleasure. Be warned - it is rough!



"The Bottle" was the first song I had written for the band called Sosostris. I played rhythm and lead guitar on instruments loaned from my cousin and, later, a sociology teacher named Max Kaye. He had a black Les Paul copy, and my love affair with Les Paul guitars was begun. We had a keyboard player, Gary Marsh, who had one of the very first commercially available synthesizers which people like us could actually afford. It was a Korg and looked like one of those old telephone switchboards; full of jacks and wires. He could get some weird noises out of it, once he had figured out where to put the jacks and wires. A lot of our songs consisted of Gary trying to find the right sound or effect he was after. He rarely, if ever, got it the first time. Our audience thought we were doing it on purpose - "oh very Pink Floyd, dudes!"

The band was was named after the character "Madame Sosostris" who appears in T.S. Eliot's classic poem, "The Waste Land." We were studying "The Waste Land" in our A-Level English class and thought it would be a cool idea to set it to music! The project failed, but the name lived on, reminding us of the original impetus for a group of sixth-formers to form a band in the first place. We really thought we were the next "Genesis" (you know, the good early "Genesis" with Peter Gabriel and Steve Hackett)

The idea for "The Bottle" was a set of lyrics written by my good friend Ian Marshall. He was also in the sixth-form and was in the same A-level English class. He claimed to hate English at the time but since went on to earn a Ph.D. in English Literature from Bristol University. Go figure! Anyhow, it is clear from the words in "The Bottle" that Ian had a very bright future in the world of the language arts.

"The Bottle" was a mainstay of "Sosostris'" repertoire, and we played it, or some version of it, at every gig we performed over the two years the band was together. It was a rocky number, with the teenage angst of the words combined with the raw sound of guitars on high distortion. Distortion is way cool when you're 18!


Recorded live at the Ashfield Youth Centre, Kirkby-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, UK
March 14, 1980
Recorded by Kieron Beazley
Ian Marshall - Bass; Gary Radford - Guitar;
David Bean - Drums; Paul Archer - Vocals; Gary Marsh - Keyboards

Fast forward some 18 years later, and I am in another band, "The Professors," looking to experiment in the domain of orginal songs. Instead of starting from scratch, it seemed a good idea to bring "The Bottle" to life again in the late '90s; a good, hard-edged, angst-filled headbanger to get the Profs onto the right road. Well, it was a shame that when the Profs played it, "The Bottle" sounded more like the Beach Boys. "Hey," says Bob Kubey, "that has a nice surf feel to it!!" No matter how we tried, we couldn't recapture the raw, teenage angst sound. It sounded like pop! I guess it doesn't quite happen that way when you're 36 and an Associate Professor.

"The Bottle" has since been retired from the Professors' set list. But it had a good run over 18 years. I'm glad to say that "The Bottle" had its day in the sun when it was performed live by the Profs at Kenny's Castaways in New York City - the Big Apple, no less! So this is what it was all for! That young 18 year-old struggling with two mono tape-recorders and his cousin's electric guitar in his bedroom in Sutton-in-Ashfield would never have known, in his wildest dreams, that this is where his song, and him, would be going. It's a funny old world, intit? - GPR

The Bottle Returns!

The Bottle made an amazing return to the Professors' repertoire at Rutgers University in October 2015.

Enjoy this amazing performance of The Bottle at the Park Plaza Hotel, Boston, MA, in January 2016. The Bottle just keeps on rockin'!

The Lyrics

Like a fragment of glass upon a shelf
My brain totters nervously
It thumps as though attached to an inner self
My eyes watch my feet apprehensively
As they attempt to move towards doom
Heck no! This is just a dusty room

And I feel like a bottle on a shelf
Examined and prodded by all
Until I'm afraid to look at myself
And I have to place my eyes in the wall

Yes sir, no sir, three bags full sir ***
Echo the three-legged chairs
As the table, with a certain degree of flair
Orders my eyes to jig with the teddy bears
And hell! My hands feel in pain
But no! Itís just a blockage in the drain

And I feel like a bottle on a shelf
Examined and prodded by all
Until I'm afraid to look at myself
And I have to place my eyes in the wall

My mind is a sewer of fluids
Changing from red and to green
Marching with a colony of druids
My body quivers and my blood begins to drain
I slowly begin to dig my own grave
As the druids begin to rant and rave

And I feel like a bottle on a shelf
Examined and prodded by all
Until I'm afraid to look at myself
And I have to place my eyes in the wall


** debut of verse two for the first time ever at the Red Lion Cafe, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, October 30, 2015

Copyright 1979 by Gary Radford and Ian Marshall. All rights reserved



This page last updated February 4, 2016 by Gary Radford.
Many thanks to Kurt Wagner, Marie Radford, and Jon Oliver.