Saturday, September 19, 2009

My life in music.

My mum, bless her cotton socks, was not big into music. As a result of a hrs life and a car accident she suffered from and still does of debilitating migraines. So deep purple LPs lying around were going to be in short supply. In fact the only record I can remember her playing was a Slim Dusty album. Once. So it would be fair to say she had very little influence on my musical taste.

The first tapes I can recall owning were Dire Straits - Love Over Gold an EP of sprawling stories with lots of beautiful guitar and piano. I'd wanted their album, Brothers in Arms, with all the classic pop songs, but ended up with that. Despite the initial distaste of ungrateful 11 year old, I still love that EP. I also got a few hand me down tapes from my step brother. Choirboys was good. Right on Track 87.

If you are a 13 year old boy can there be a greater lyric than "boom, boom, boom , let's go back to my room"? I think not. I think the first tape I bought was Icehouse - Man of Color. A great Aussie band writing good pop. And of course every Christmas for about five years I got the Smash Hits compilation tape. Bros, Kylie and the gang was the musical equivalent of feeding a baby fairy floss and Dagwood dogs. That's why it is highly ironic that in grade ten, Bon Jovi came to save me.

You see, my mum, money conscious that she is had greeted every statement that I was going to purchase a CD player with a question. "do you need it?". I wasn't sure. A cousin saved the day by buying me the gold tour edition of Slippery When Wet. A fine excuse to pony up the cash. It was then that one of the biggest influences in my musical education kicked in. My mate Motts.

I joined a music club that gave you three CDs a month at a better price. We split the purchases between us. I think Motts got Faith No More - Angel Dust and the Jesus and Mary Chain - Stoned and Dethroned. I got the Chilli Peppers classic Blood Sugar Sex Magic. Of course we swapped CDs and I got an introduction to grunge. Alice in Chains, Soungarden and I hate to admit it now, Pearl Jam followed. Not Nirvana, strangely, it would be years later that the doco series Classic Albums would get me interested in them. Of course I loved U2 and the live Hunters and Collectors double album but I reckon that between high school and Motts and I living together the first year and a half of living in Brisbane, that he introduced my to every new band that I got into.

Except one. A girl that I was more than a little interested in was a big fan of a couple of bands that were very conducive to young hormones and poorly lit bedrooms and dance floors. Portishead and Morcheeba come on down. The love affair with them, Massive Attack, Tricky and others lasted much longer than my teenage hormones.

Another beast was about to raise its head. Brisbane in the late 90s was the best place to go out and see a bit of live music, even if I didn't really know what to go and see. I can remember going to a Livid and just hanging round the main stage. I can only recall a bit of Shihad and two Reef songs while I was lining up for the toilets. Now I kick myself that I missed them, but back then I had no idea who they were. My local watering hole was also a great little room to see the odd local legend like Glockenspiel. The Alley would have a much bigger part to play later.

After a few years Motts, The Wife who was at that stage The Girlfriend and a few others got another share house together and introduced me to a strange new music. Aussie hip hop, specifically Resin Dogs. It rocked my world. I was hooked and for good. And live, Jesus they were something else, with Dave standing at the kit, drumsticks flying and Lazy Grey on the mic. We saw them live a lot. And a few others as well, Moby's tour of the Play album was a highlight. Salmonella Dub. There was lots of music festivals of which I can remember little but live music was about to become a much bigger part of my life.

I was working at The Alley now, in the tradition of getting a job there from spending more than half my waking hours in there playing pool, drinking and listening to music. Trouble was I had this wedding coming up and I needed to pay for some things. Suddenly the boss quit and despite no knowledge of booking bands or running a pub I put myself up for the job. All good. Over the next five years I saw more live bands than I can count but I grew very weary of singer songwriters, there were so many crap ones and the good ones, like Alex Oliver and Asa Broomhall and a few others made the others seem like cats yowling. But Aussie hip hop was what I liked. Starting with my heroes Brothers Stoney, with Len One and Lazy from Resin Dogs and stretching through to Hilltop Hoods with little side visits to bands like 11 hour limit, an instrumental hip hop band, bass, scratching and flute. I booked them all. Ok so there was some crap ones but then there are guys like Koolism or Bias B.

The other big influence from this period was my good mate Darryl Bailey from EMI music. He swung The Alley lots of new music to play between sets and put me onto some artists that I'd never have bought. Paul Kelly, K-OS, Beth Orton. And others that we both loved like Cat Empire and Salmonella Dub.

So now where to. I don't really go to live shows anymore. I've got back into Triple J lately, which is good for new hip hop and rock mindworms like Muse and Passion Pit. I've left a lot out like the great story of Stereo MCs for another time. It's been a great ramble through my back catalog and I might open some of the cracks another day.

But to Motts? Thanks mate.

Lantanaland from the iPhone

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Class of politician

Listening to the fantastic Fran Kelly this morning interviewing a MP on the reduction of the printing allowance and MP's salary in general. It was put to this MP whether $120G was enough to lure talented people into politics. The MP mentioned a number of talented people had turned down going for the safe seat of Bradfield because of the pay. So does that mean the only people worth attracting into politics are ones who think $120G is not enough to leave the private sector for public life. Is anyone in federal parliment now on more money than they were previously?

I wonder all the time about the people in politics. Are they really a representative of us, how many teachers, miners and plumbers are there in federal parliment. If all we have representing us are party political animals, unionists and executives who think $120G is a paycut, how can they write policy for the rest of us little people.

Lantanaland from the iPhone

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Down the coast

Had four days off down at beautiful Brunswick Heads with the folks and my dads brother and a heap of his family. It came at just the right time, I'd had a brutal week at work and was starting to feel a bit heavy from the non stop training so a few days of this was just what the doc ordered.

Ian and Allen (my dad) are old school fishos so there was a fair bit of fishing planned. The fish of choice is the blackfish, a good feed but boring as batshit to catch. Give me whiting fishing any day. Allen has brought me down the little tinny for me to have, so I'll be finding out what's good on the Albert River. I'd planned on doing a bit of eating, drinking beer, cooking, reading and writing.

I read two books in the three days. I picked up the first just as we were getting ready for dinner. Straight away I was not hooked, but intriuged. World War Z is, as the title suggests, a zombie book. I'm not really into the old Zed, never seen a Romero movie or read any Zed fiction. This book was something different though, it was a historian going throughout the world, gathering aneccdotes about the war on Zed. The closest thing I've ever read to this was old Tolkien's supplementary books, the Simmilarion and Unfinished Tales, which were like history books for the world Lord of the Rings was set in.

Great read. Once you read a bit you forget that Zed is a figment of the authors mind and concentrate on the stories and the picture that he builds of how the world could go if something when wrong. Doesn't have to be Zed, could be swine flu or bearded nutters the only problem was with the book is that it switched me into rude mode, where I partially ignore guests and just keep reading.

The next book off the pile was blogger/author Sam de Brito's The Lost Boys. Birmo reccomended this to me, maybe they have a club or a union or something. Anyway despite enjoying having a tradional narritive again, this was a hard book to read. Running the pubs, I knew characters like these, fuck ups that they are. It's one of my motivating factors in life, don't end up like one of them. Despite the depressing and bleak material, it's a good read.

I love Brunswick, small, quiet, good coffee and a beautiful setting. We ate well, fresh blackfish in foil with ginger, chilli, garlic, butter and lime. Shin beef slow cooked with Montieths Winter Ale and split peas, beans and pearl barley. Rib fillet in a marinade of garlic, lime juice, soy, honey and chilli. Four days of not training.

And a three day working week to come.

Lantanaland from the iPhone