The Unclaimed Prize

Release Date: 1991
Label: Dominator Records [DOMA010]
Producer: Stuart Sheldon & The Mark Of Cain

Track Listing:
9 R&R

Recorded: Artec Sound Vision Productions, South Australia, January/May 1990

Engineer: Stuart Sheldon

John Scott – Guitar/Vocals
Kim Scott – Bass
Campbell Robinson – Drums

Re-released in re-mastered form with four extra tracks in 1998 (rooArt 74321-61698-2) and also in 2006 (Feel 004).
Extra Tracks:
Tell Me
Viet Vet

Alternate Album Cover:

John Scott has provided an insight into a few of the tracks from the album.

Track 1 – Fire In Her Heart

“Written after Battlesick in 89- It began with writing the main riff. The intro reminds me of a Hendrix song “With the Power of Soul” – which I may have subconsciously plagiarised – it’s not the same but reminds me of it with the stop start rhythm at the beginning. I asked Campbell Robinson who was drumming if he could da-da-d-da-da on every second snare hit and the song came together pretty well. The lyrics were about failed love (what else?) and the idea was that this girl that you are wanting to be with so bad is actually like a human incinerator – That by getting involved you will die emotionally (which is why the shout of “Murder” at the beginning). I’d originally worked on this song as Fire in the Hole – but thought that fire in her heart was better. You have to play really tight to make this work.”

Track 2 – Four Grey Seasons

“Written early in the band’s history, when Rod Archer was singing (around 85/86). It was a mix of my llyrics and Rod’s. Four Grey Seasons was about battling through the loss of direction you sometimes get and how it depresses everything in your eyes, hence four grey seasons. It was a cool song to play as you have to be tight to make it work. If the record industry was nice, we would have had an album pre-Battlesick, and it would have probably contained this song. There are quite a few songs from that period of time we’ve never recorded that would have been had we put an album out in 87 say. “Please Try Harder Please” was another song of that type which is on one of Harry Butler’s recordings of one of our Gigs from way back when.”

Track 4 – The Unclaimed Prize

“This was recorded by getting Campbell to record some drums with nothing else playing along, and their was nothing written at all to support him. He just played, we recorded it and then Kim and I sat down and messed around with the song. In those days with no cutting and pasting, whatever the number of bars were stayed, and there were weird counts like 13, 17 etc before chord changes. The idea of the title and the mood of the song came from a sign Kim and I saw years ago at a fete. There was a lottery for unclaimed prizes. We thought that was a bit sad, the prizes people either forgot or didnt think were worth picking up, were put up for another draw.

Obviously you can extend this to life and how it feels in a loss of love or relationship, or with respect to many things. So, we wrote a sort of sad, self-reflective song about being the prize in a game, never won. But it sort of was uplifting too, like it meant all the unclaimed prizes were together and not alone. “Never knew my perspective”, was a line it that I think which again harkens to the idea of trying to find a direction and purpose. ”

Track 7 – Cap On John

“I wrote the lyrics way before we wrote the song and it’s a strange one because it wasn’t what I considered tmoc type lyrics as it was a story basically of a guy called John (no relation to me) who stole a car and then pops a petrol soaked rag in the fuel tank and people are yelling
“Put the Cap-On John, it’s gonna blow, it’s gonna blow!” – and so, he was Cap-On John. I like the riff a lot.”

Track 8 – R&R

“When we were getting to the end of recording The Unclaimed Prize, I heard Campbell do a bossa nova type beat a few times during breaks and we jammed a bit and R&R resulted from it. Since I was still deep in my Apocalypse Now stage and still reading books like Mark Baker’s “Nam” (what a great vocal history of Nam – Rod still has my copy I think and I want it back)- I put a twist on it like Rest and Recreation and Rock and Roll. So it was like that bit where when you get away from the battle you begin to try wind down, but find all you aredoing is wanting to get back to it (“Charlie’s geting stronger while I get weaker” – sort of thing. But I wanted it to reflect the idea of “Never coming back from R&R and never going to R&R – the mixed emotions of guilt in leaving your friends behind etc. Plus, for some reason while I wrote it I held in my mind the idea that Rock and Roll was something I didn’t want to ever leave, but in my times of depression, I also wanted to never go back to it. It’s a weird mixed song, written on the fly to some extent and so has a lot of subconscious stuff in it.”