01. Forgotten (07:48)
02. Quest for Sanity (04:08)
03. Another Yesterday (05:34)
04. Hang on to Hope (02:41)
05. Another Year (03:40)
06. Forgotten (Demo) (05:19)
07. Quest for Sanity (Demo) (03:10)
08. Hang on to Hope (Instrumental) (2:41)

The First and Last

M M Reid – Vocals
M M Reid – Guitars
M M Reid – Bass
M M Reid – Drums

“Why is this called The First and Last when it’s neither the first thing you recorded, nor the last?” I hear nobody cry.  Well, actually, it was the first thing that I recorded after leaving Fury and deciding to continue on my own as Fioraidh, so that’s where the “first” comes in.  And the “last” part comes because, at the time when I was preparing to release it, two things struck me… it was the last thing I ever expected to be doing, and it would probably be the last thing I ever did, musically, as I fully expected all this to be just a whim.  Turned out, it wasn’t the case.

Anyway, when I quit Fury, I wanted to try something different.  I wondered what it would be like to finally have that keyboard player I always wanted in the band, and have a drummer who legitimately wanted to play odd time signatures and switch things around.  I’d never had that, so it was always quite frustrating to have to write everything with a very straightforward time signature.  I dropped the bass intro from “Forgotten”, dropped the 16s on the hihats, introduced keyboards and a rolling bassline, along with a 7/8 time sig, and I changed the chorus from being straight to having a 6/8 on the final bar.  It didn’t go down too well with the ex-Fury members who, at the time, said they thought it was weird.

I then re-recorded “Quest for Sanity”, but kept it very similar to the original in certain aspects.  The double-bass intro and heavy verse and chorus stayed, but the tinkling clean guitar part was scrapped and replaced by an instrumental section featuring synth pads and a Hammond organ, as well as an off-sync timing where the drums played 2/4 behind guitars, bass, and keyboards all playing in 6/4.  It’s gorgeous.  Vocals were recorded through a £10 camcorder mic… so, there you go!

I honestly can’t remember how “Another Yesterday” came about, but I remember writing it at the time so I could play around with some more adventurous programmed drums.  It was, again, quite an experimental song.  Thankfully, I still had a version of it with no vocals so when I decided to release it in 2021, I was able to go back and record my current voice rather than the one from back in 1999 or whenever it was.  Honestly, I would love to re-record all of the songs from scratch, but I just wanted to get something out.  I might do it some day.

The lyrics and vocals were added to “Hang on to Hope” at the very end of 2020.  I was experimenting with the new recording gear, listening to the instrumental version, pondering the title, and realised that it quite appropriate for what everyone was going through.  Covid, at the time, meant people weren’t able to spend Christmas with their loved ones who didn’t already live with them, and a lot of the people I knew were really starting to feel the impact.  It got me thinking, which got me humming, and that got me writing.  It was never intended to be the song that it is, but I love how it turned out.  It feels hopeful.

I recorded “Another Year” to say thank you to my wonderful better half.  She stands by everything I ever want to do.  When I wanted to buy an 8ft Brotherhood of Steel soldier from a guy who lived on a barge, she had no issue with it.  When I realised I wanted to learn how to play drums, she was originally going to buy me one of those electronic pad unit things but, thankfully, changed her mind and bought me a Roland electronic kit.  I can’t think of any time where she hasn’t told me to follow my heart, and it’s also why I’ve ended up recording all this new music.  She encourages me to be better, and this song was for her.

Personnel on the demo versions

M M Reid – guitars and vocals
Stevie Caveney – bass
Anthony Keogh – drums

Quest for Sanity
John Collie – vocals
M M Reid – guitars
Stevie Caveney – bass
Mikey McManus – drums