My first solo album. It came about when Fred Tomsett, the legendary editor of ‘Pilgrims’, the original Van der Graaf Generator and Peter Hammill fanzine, contacted me in 1991. He had started a DIY record label, ‘Oedipus Recs’, that already had one release to its name, and he wanted to know if I'd be interested in putting out a CD of my old demos. Apparently some of these had already been circulating for years as private cassette tapes, and he thought there would be enough people interested in them to make the project worthwhile.

I was in the middle of recording my first proper album, ‘Dome Of Discovery’, and I wasn't keen on the idea. Demos are, by their very definition, not good enough to be Masters. However, I invited him and Ian Laycock to come and root around in my trunk of ancient, rotting tapes, and their enthusiasm, and their shameless ego-massage, persuaded me that it might not be such a bad idea after all. The less-bad of these ancient relics, I realised, did have a certain period charm, and it eventually proved possible to clean-up the sound to a reasonable extent, and to make them more-or-less listenable.

The album sold pretty well for such a specialist, minority item. Of course, most of the people who bought it were hard-core Hammill/VdGG fans who wanted it because six or seven tracks featured Peter’s playing (he had produced those particular recordings, and co-written four of them) while several other songs were written and recorded with Hugh Banton.

But I don’t care.

Quite a few people liked what they heard enough to recognise me as an independent voice, and to check-out ‘Dome Of Discovery’ when it came out a few years later. So ‘Democrazy’ proved to be quite a good start to my plan of world domination.

However, when Oedipus Recs’ contract expired (what a great name for a record company that is!), I decided that I didn't really want to keep the album in print any longer. Demos are still just demos, when all's said and done, and they were never intended to end-up as a real record (some of them are really pretty crappy.) Let them return to the twilight world of illegal file exchanges. (Even while the CD was available, some arsehole pirated the whole thing and tried to market it as rare, unknown Van der Graaf Generator recordings!)


  1. Viking (Hammill/Smith)
  2. Imperial Zeppelin (Hammill/Smith)
  3. The Institute Of Mental Health (Hammill/Smith)
  4. A Letter To The Lady (Watson/Smith)
  5. The Last Airship In The World (Smith)
  6. Last Night I Dreamt I Played With Alfie Nokes (Hutchinson/Smith)
  7. There's No Time Like The Present (Unless Perhaps It's Yesterday) (Hammill/Smith)
  8. Garibaldi Biscuits (Banton/Smith)
  9. Almost Twenty-Three (Hutchinson/Smith)
  10. Nineteen-Nineteen (Smith)
  11. Time For A Change (Robshaw/Smith)
  12. Sic Itur Ad Astra (Smith)
  13. Been Alone So Long (Smith)
  14. Our Lady Of The Losers (Smith)
  15. Alderfield (Banton/Smith)
  16. Cairo Cairo (trad./Smith)
  17. The Concert (Banton/Smith)
  18. The Hotel Belvue Metropol Beach Excelsior (Banton/Smith)
  19. Dies Irae (Smith)