Abbey Road. Studio of legends. Across its hallowed pedestrian crossing and over a porch you wish could talk have stepped a legion of rock’n’roll titans: Kate Bush, Radiohead, Pink Floyd, Oasis, Manic Street Preachers, Blur, Coldplay and four Liverpudlian called The Beatles.
And now, trumping all of those revered names, an artist arrives at Abbey Road in the wake of whose visit the entire studio might as well pack up and retire, all its ambitions achieved. That artist is David Brent, the born entertainer and musical polymath from The Office, and the man behind such classics as ‘Free Love Freeway’, white reggae unity anthem ‘Equality Street’ and new single ‘Lady Gypsy’, the pastoral folk tale of a young Brent negotiating with a travelling temptress for the price of his virginity: “I said ‘to be clear then, the sex is free, yes?’/She said ‘yes, the sex is free, the heather’s a pound’”.
Brent, in the form of his real-life alter-ego Ricky Gervais, hit Abbey Road to master the David Brent & Foregone Conclusion album ‘Life On The Road’, soundtrack to the forthcoming film of the same name and, as Gervais explains, “a musical journey, sort of Americana country rock alt through to modern rap”. Naturally a film crew was on hand to capture this momentous occasion, as Gervais gives the viewer “a complete history of recording”, including his professional summary of the mastering process – “It’s just making it sound lovely, yeah?” – and several minutes of gazing in awe at how a record player works. Watch in wonder by clicking above.
“Even though the songs are funny in context, they’re not comedy songs as such,” says Gervais of the album, recorded at Air Edel Studios and produced by Gervais and Andy Burrows. “David Brent doesn’t think they’re funny. He thinks they’re important. And actually they’re not terrible songs. And they’re insanely catchy. But the tragedy comes from the fact that a 55 year old tampon rep is singing rock songs about travelling across America picking up Señoritas or trying to end racism in reggae songs while singing with a Jamaican accent. He’s also paid for the best musicians and studio time out of his own hard earned cash and pension.”