Many meetings in several pubs were called to come up with the right world-captivating nomenclature for our new musical ensemble.
I can't remember which ideas the other boys chucked in but everybody piped up with names. None of us could nail it. Whoever came up with a name, at least four of the other members of the band would say "not a chance, I'm not being in a band called that".
I had been back home at the flat, pottering about and catching up on the ironing. I had the TV on in the background and an episode of Star Trek was showing. It was the original series with William Shatner as Captain James T Kirk and Leonard Nimoy as Mr Spock. In the storyline of the episode Amok Time were two of Spock's Vulcan female relatives, T'pring and T'pau. I really liked how T'pau sounded, I couldn't get it out of my head, so in another emergency 'directors meeting' in The Crown and Two Chairmen, in Soho, I put it to the lads: 'How about T'pau?'
There was a silence. The band looked at me and said: "Well that's the least worst name that anyone's come up with". So I said: "OK if no one's got anything better, that's it, we need a name". T'pau was born.
Years later Roy Thomas Baker managed to get me a signed picture from Leonard Nimoy. He had written the Vulcan greeting "To Carol & T'pau, live long and prosper". Although I was not a Trekky , I realised this was a very cool photo to have, but I had never got around to framing it and it was just propped up on my bedside table.One day I decided to have a quick dusting session in my bedroom. I sprayed my duster with furniture polish & gave the now quite dusty pic' a wipe .The dedication came clean off. There was not even an imprint or pen indentation I could go back over. I now had just a picture of Leonard Nimoy. I don't know what he signed it with but had the man never heard of a Sharpie!
We found a studio near Chicago called Royal Recorders. It was part of a golfing hotel complex that had been owned by Hugh Heffner. The studio ran independently of the hotel and was keen to get Roy on the résumé.
All I heard when Siren told us where we were recording was 'Chicago!' Having been raised in sleepy Shropshire and having had a huge crush on those iconic American cities, it was a dream come true. I could see myself cruising round The Windy City, having happy hour cocktails in cool bars downtown, jogging round Lake Michigan even though I hated jogging.
We said goodbye to the fields and cows and small towns of Shropshire and flew out to Chicago O'Hare International.
We were picked up by the studio staff in a couple of vehicles and began our drive to Royal Recorders. As the tall glass shards of Chicago's gleaming sky scrapers faded into the distance, I started to get a bit worried. After a two-hour drive we were in Lake Geneva Wisconsin, a small country town surrounded by fields and cows.
Carol Decker's autobiography Heart and Soul is published on Monday, January 25, for £16.95.
Readers of the Shropshire Star can order copies at a reduced rate of £15.95, including free p&p from here.
I had not picked up on the word 'near' Chicago. It would not be the last time I only heard what I wanted to hear! Though the fact we were miles away was probably a good job as I am not sure how much work we would have got done if we'd been in the city. We did of course have some days and evenings off and got to shop and party in Chicago.
For the first month we had rooms in the hotel. That was really convenient as we could work as late as we wanted, then fall into bed. We got into quite a bit of trouble for stealing the golf carts, hot wring them and driving all over the golf course at night when we were drunk. The studio manager received a formal complaint from the hotel. We denied everything, of course. But we got our marching orders and the label had to rent two big houses a few miles away for us to stay in. They were just like the ones you see in an American sit com with a big kitchen, big living room and a big spacious square hall with a shiny wooden floor, perfect for our new late night game of skid-rug!
Skid-rug involved drinking a lot then, after placing the hall rug in the middle of the room, you had to back up to the far wall, sprint and launch yourself onto the rug and skid it to the other side. It was hours of fun and the cause of a lot of bruises. Leg wrestling and trying to hit each other on the head with a spoon held between your teeth were other sports we enjoyed to pass the time.
Recording Bridge Of Spies was a special experience for us all. For the most part we had a ton of fun. There were a few blips however. Michael met a woman in a bar, a divorcee who had a clutch of kids and overnight he more of less moved in with her. From then on we had a bit of a job getting him into the studio on time, he was more interested in being with her and fixing her car. It was all very sudden, very intense and very odd. It was like they were his kids. He barely knew them but now had a pop-up family. She was not your usual groupie, ie young and hot. She was middle-aged, had a complicated personal life and, well, was not hot at all. We were all very confused by the deep attachment he suddenly had. It was like the Moonies had their hooks in him.
The hotel was a regular stop off point for most of the big bands who were touring the States. It was a reasonably luxurious hotel, if a tad 'golfy'.
I remember one night, we were all in the hotel bar and at that time you could smoke in bars. Ronnie smoked roll-ups. I had quit by then to save my voice. We were at the bar, Ronnie was making a roll-up, when in walked a large group of rock'n'rollers. They looked like a band, but I didn't know who they were; everybody had a leather jacket and a perm back then. A guy in a flat cap with really curly hair, that turned out not to be a perm, stood beside us at the bar and asked Ronnie in a Geordie accent if his tobacco was golden Virginia.
It was Brian Johnson and the band with him was AC/DC . They'd been on tour for many months and Brian had long since run out of English cigarettes. He asked Ronnie for a roll-up. Angus Young jokingly asked him if he'd done time as the roll up was so very thin. Ronnie has really long, elegant fingers and he could roll the most perfect, skinny cigarettes. Cons in prison used to have to make their 'backy' last so they'd have to make really skinny rollups.
We ended up spending the whole night with AC/DC, bonded by rolling tobacco.
We were living our dreams. There we were recording our first album and hanging out with giants of the business. But they were totally unstarry and the evening was very natural, just like a lively night in a bar with mates.
AC/DC are not the tallest guys in the world but that did not stop them from having the tallest, most model-like groupies.
Eventually, the evening came to an end at around 2am and we all said goodbye.
As we watched the band stagger off with their groupies towering over them, they looked more like female security guards than women that they were about to sleep with. I thought: "My God, girls will sleep with anybody if they're in a rock'n'roll band, even if they only come up to their navel".