8 Jun 2017
We're going to Barbados (but not Miami) 
Happy Mondays Barbados and Miami cost estimate

Happy Mondays famously went to Barbados to record their final Factory Records album, FACT 420 Yes Please! Stories abound of moped accidents and selling studio furniture to raise money to buy crack cocaine. And, of course, it is alleged that the costs of the trip were a major contributory factor in destabilising Factory financially to such an extent that it eventually folded. However, Factory's other commitments, especially in property following the development and opening of the New Factory HQ were also major reasons why it all came to an end.

In a 2000 interview with The Guardian, AHW said: "Although Factory was always a precarious pile of shite, everything had to go wrong. Happy Mondays had to discover crack cocaine in Barbados! New Order's album had to be two years late! Claire Leighton had to die, of a tablet bought in Stockport, but in the Hacienda! There had to be an international property collapse! Do you want me to go on?".

Shaun Ryder told The Independent in 1992 that Nathan McGough (ex-Mondays manager) called Yes Please! 'the most expensive indie album ever made' only that was in jest but it became a myth that the press perpetuated.

But how much money did Factory actually spend on the Barbados sessions? Book-keeping wasn't a Factory speciality but Tony Wilson had a definite penchant for making lists and below we have an advance cost forecast of the whole operation. It seems that six weeks in Barbados were originally planned to be followed up by a further six weeks in Miami. However, this second part, which was outlined at just of £74K never transpired but further recording time was required because no lyrics were recorded in Barbados. The album was eventually finished at a studio in Surrey.

The trip to Barbados itself was planned at just over £68K including flights. The handwritten note at the bottom estimates production costs (for the services of Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth) at $5K per track (about $60K in total) and an undisclosed percentage on top. The Surrey costs are not known but are not thought to have been excessive as they mostly only involved recording vocals. Certainly, when put into to context of the reported £2.5m that Factory was in debt at the time of going into receivership, the contribution of Yes Please! to this amount is not as large as it is often reported to be.

Transcript

(in handwriting: "Mondays")

RECORDING BUDGET

Barbados (6 WEEKS)               £

Flight Man-Ldn-Jam-Miam-Ldn       7,236
Villas (8 people) $4,000 pw x 6  14,120
Studio $1,000 pd x42             24,705
Food                              3,175
PDs 6 x 8 £20 pd                  6,720
Freight                           8,810
Wages                               500
Ground transportation             2,823
Tape                                      -

MIAMI (6 WEEKS)

Apartments 4 x 2 @ $3,400 pm     18,000
PDs £25pd x 8 x 42                8,400
Ground transportation             2,941
Studio $1,800 pd                 44,470
Equipment (strings, repairs etc)    500

CONTINGENCY                       6,978

TOTAL                           149,378

NB Above does not include producers fees.

(in handwriting: "Estimated fee. $5000/track Don't know % yet")

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