10. Selling the Dragon   (5:02)

music © 1990 by colin nicholls & walter nicholls


For the longest time, this was actually a different song called "Slaying the Dragon" but towards the end of the recording process I realised the lyrics needed a thorough change. It turned into something else entirely, something that fits within the general "Steel Tree" concept.

Quite a few "Steel Tree" musical motifs reappear in this piece.

Production Notes

Percussion: XLN Addictive Drums VSTi, via sticks on a SPD-20 pad controller
Korg M1 "Anvil"
Breath sample
Bass: Chapman Stick
Taurus VSTi
Strings: Dimension Pro "Ensemble Quartet"
Synths: Roland Fantom (monosynth and low brass notes)
GSi VB3 VSTi (stabby chords)
Arturia CS-80v VSTi (stabby chords)
Roland VK8 (hammond organ (solo and chords))
PianoTeq 4 VSTi (Rhodes e-piano)
Roland D-550 (GlassVoices pad)
Guitars: Gibson L6-S
Fender Telecaster (last verse and outro)
Ovation Steel String

Early Stages

Since 1988 we've been recording our jam sessions on tape cassette. In 1999 I digitized the archives for reference. Any moments of magic relevant to this track, I've extracted and present here.

Jamming the Dragon (1988):

Take a sample from a Peter Gabriel song; loop it back and forth in the Akai X-7000 sampler; and then hold the key down with a piece of sticky tape. Now Jam! Thus was born what eventually became this song.

Recapturing the Dragon (1989):

Well... we tried to build up from scratch what made the previous demo sound good... and we failed. But in the process, we figured out a bridge section.


Waking up from a dreamless sleep
My instant coffee makes the morning meal
Ready-brewed perfection!

Dressed to kill, and fashion forward
Driving in a rigid frame of steel
Crumple zone protection!

I'm looking good, I’m ready to make the pitch;
to Slay the dragon; Climb the steel tree

Skyping with the Art Director
Social fungus fouls the telescreens
In three exciting flavors!

We interrupt this song to bring you
this important message from our sponsor:
Triple-bladed razors!

It’s 7 o’clock, already, on the East Coast;
and I’ve got a dream, that no-one sold to me...

She’s aging out of ingenue
we have to find a better looking model
To capture the demographic!

The feedback from the focus group:
No-one likes to wear the 3D goggles
We're losing definition!

Herded by the billboard graphic
Aimless sheep return to urban sprawl…
(Subliminal direction)

Exit from the freeway traffic
Headlights nail graffiti to the wall…
(Painted disaffection)

...but I am the dragon.