Hi there everyone. Welcome to this week's episode which is coming to you from Tingha in Northern New South Wales. Yep, we're here on tour. Internet coverage is patchy so I hope I manage to get this out to you before we're on the way home!
The tour started on Thursday morning with a long, cold, wet and grey drive from Canberra through to Coonabarabran. The highlights of that day included morning tea at Boorowa, lunch at Molong, kicking the footy at Coona and me snoring on the bus. Truthfully though our quick walk and then three songs at sunset up high in the Warrumbungles was the special part of the day. Three people even heard us playing. Later that evening we ran through some songs in the motel for our hosts as well. Small, intimate moments that mean a lot.
Friday saw us motoring from Coonabarabran through to Tingha with a stop at Inverell to play our first proper gig at the "Out The Back Cafe". En route we marvelled at the price of diesel, kicked the footy at Narrabri and visited Sawn Rock which looks like someone has taken a massive pile of ochre artist's pastels and stuck them together into a mountain.
Just before getting into Inverell we had a stop at Myall Creek. It's a sad place with a red dirt walk in the shape of a rainbow serpent and a monument to 28 Aboriginal women and children who were massacred there in the late 1800's. But it's also a place of hope. We sat quietly at the memorial and played a song to pay our respects. There's a lot of things that need to be done for reconciliation to take place in Australia and everyone has a part to play. That was our part for that day. It's a state of mind.
The show in Inverell was a lot of fun. Whilst there's nothing more boring than the space between sound check and the actual show it was great to meet some of the locals and find out a bit about the area. You can see some photos and the setlist on the band's Facebook page at www.facebook.com/junksculpture. You don't need a Facebook account to look at it. The stats for the Facebook page are pretty good...over 600 people have looked at some of our posts and photos. Let us know if you do too!
And it's cold out here. Really cold. On a personal note I really feel the cold these days after I lost all that weight a while back. But this morning the sun is out clearing the frost and there's not a cloud in the sky. The cold is more fresh and invigorating now that it was with the van heater not working and me surrounded by the band gear!
This evening we're playing at the Tingha Sport and Rec to raise some money for the local folks. It'll be great to unload the whole PA system and the drums and really get into some rock and roll.
It's a bit hard to link to many tunes for you with no internet so I'll give you some suggestions that you'll need to look on YouTube. If I get back into town with the laptop you'll see the links too.
This week there will be no Oz Rock and no Midnight Oil. I've had enough of listening to that for quite a while I think!
Playing the music live is tons of fun but I understand why touring bands devour so much different music!
Tim, our sound, keyboards and coffee guru is a bit of an electronic music fan. He explained how he got into it by tinkering with keyboards and synthesizers (like reprogramming and rebuilding them). Good electronic music is really cool, but there is so much monotonous and soul-less stuff to wade through to get there. It's worth a look though. Bands like New Order, Massive Attack, Pet Shop Boys, Underworld, Daft Punk and Kraftwerk should be on your list to try out. And if you like stuff with a slightly harder lyrical edge then KMFDM, who DJ SAB turned me onto, are highly recommended. Tim likes the poppier stuff which is well layered and includes space rather than a constant wall of sound.
Pet Shop Boys - The Way Through The Woods - http://youtu.be/FGGyGJlz8t4
George is driving the van. Aside from running through CDs of the tunes we're playing to rehearse the lyrics he's been treating us to some prog. Sometimes I find the odd time signatures, strange melodies and lyrical posturing annoying. But when you're in the mood bands like Dream Theater can be a real sonic tonic. John Petrucci from that band is a real guitarist's guitarist. He has a smooth tone and never overplays.
Dream Theater - Hollow Years - http://youtu.be/KgI_ngEoaQU
There are some songs we've discovered that cover bands just can't get right for some reason. I know that I was in a band once that abandoned Cold Chisel's "Shipping Steel" because we just couldn't make it click. DJ Chief said he's had the same issue with this next song...
Kris Delmhorst - Drive - http://youtu.be/Sti2quR_4dQ
Yeah, that's a Cars song but Kris does a great job. She put out a whole album of Cars covers as a tribute to a band she loves and it's sublime.
That'll do for this week. As I said we're at the Tingha Sport and Rec tonight at 7pm then at Green Valley Farm on Sunday at 2pm. During the week we'll be spending a day at Tingha Primary with the staff and kids there as well as playing a show for them before the tour continues. We're at the Warrumbungle Mountain Motel on Thursday from 7pm. Rock on brothers and sisters!
"...a shower and a rub down and a quiet sense of pride..." - Redgum, Just Another Moment On Your Own