Friday, November 27, 2009

Song of the Week - Episode 66

Today is November 27th. 16 years ago Alison and I were married on a very hot day. Wearing a kilt in searing heat was an interesting experience. The weather meant that the reception drinks outside were quickly moved indoors. Apart from the obvious highlight it was a pretty good party. And of course, the photo of Alison in her wedding dress holding a shovel still makes me giggle.

So I thought I’d play a few songs this week that Alison and I both like.

This one was pretty popular on the radio here and one of us bought the CD. At some stage I must find out what Angelique is singing about when it isn’t in English!

Angelique Kidjo – Wombo Lombo:

I remember going with Alison to see this next band at the ANU Refectory here in Canberra. They were pretty new on the scene and the gig was a riot. I lost a watch in the crush but I seem to remember Alison losing an earring, several buttons and perhaps a shoe. My good friend Darren was also at the show with us. He made it all the way to the front just to have his knee give way. He was dragged onto stage by security. An interesting if unintended way to attempt meeting the band!

Baby Animals – Rush You -

This next band were one that Alison turned me on to. We also saw them at “The World’s Biggest BBQ” concert which was a huge flop – apart from a couple of bands:

Boom Crash Opera – Hands Up In The Air -

Alison is also to blame for me liking this next band. I really, really didn’t want to go to the concert but she talked me around! In the end it was great – I was amazed at the show that Roxette put on – it was all guitars, all rock and a great night. For all you guitar fans out there you should have a close listen to Roxette – Per Gessle is a seriously underrated guitarist.

Roxette – Fading Like A Flower (live) -

In the early 90’s it was so hard to find a new band that no one else had heard of. I remember buying an album by this next group, becoming a huge fan and then being disappointed when suddenly they were everywhere with a dodgy cover version. However, it did mean that we got to see them live in Australia and they remain firm favourites. Alison and I saw them in concert and I can’t remember where but it was fun apart from the self-indulgent feedback fest at the end of the show.

This is my favourite Lemonheads song and you can probably work out why:

The Lemonheads – Alison’s Starting To Happen -

Until next week, be thankful that we live in a country that seemingly values elite sport funding over everything else (that’s a sarcastic remark in case you didn’t notice). People don’t need education, health care, somewhere to live do they?? And you think the Obamarama show has issues?

DJ Rob

She'd shake it up, was hard to make out.
Now it's plain to see
I couldn't cook to save myself,
found my life a recipe.
I never looked at her this way before,
but now she's all I see...

Alison's starting to happen,
Alison's starting to happen,
Alison's starting to happen to me

It's so mesmerizing,
can't describe it,
all that inside, hey.
No one's heard her last name, I ain't asked,
So, who am I to blame?
An earthquakes started forming underneath my feet today...

Alison's starting to happen,
Alison's starting to happen,
Alison's starting to happen to me

Oh, this world is topsy-turvy,
and it is mine to eat.
She's the pebble in my mouth and underneath my feet.
She's the puzzle piece behind the couch, made the sky complete.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Song of the Week - Episode 65

Well I’m guessing that the lack of comments on the blog or replies to last week’s tunes meant one of two things; either I choose the most awesome songs that you all love, or, no one reads any of this tripe! Either way I feel free to play almost anything this week.

In that case, I’m going for a themed approach. These are the songs that made me want to be a guitar player.

There were a number of stages for me in learning the guitar. First up I had a few lessons that in retrospect were a few blokes teaching a group of kids some basic chords and songs. More than enough to strum along to most things. At the same time I would try and mimic my Dad’s hands as he played his guitar. After that, when I became more aware of rock music I experimented with learning what I could on an acoustic guitar. I bought a pickup for it but plugged in, it still sounded like an acoustic guitar only louder – very much to my disappointment. At the end of Year 11 I bought my first electric guitar and a small amplifier – and I was inspired. I loved it. And I still have the guitar 22 years later. It rocks! Of course, joining a band at university with people who were all better musos than me meant I had to work to keep up but that was awesome fun. And the journey never ends.

Here’s a song that had the first rock riff I really wanted to play. It turned out to be so simple but the electric guitar was essential:
Queen – One Vision:

About the same time I discovered my favourite band via this song…it took me longer to come to terms with this famous riff:
AC/DC – Back In Black:

Probably the first complex thing I learned was the intro to this classic Ozzy Osbourne song. Man, I thought I was cool when I could play this over and over at age 17:
Ozzy Osbourne – Crazy Train:

If you’re looking for serious guitar tone then this player is unmistakable. This was the first piece that I tried (and pretty much succeeded) in learning from a guitar magazine. In 1988 it was seriously credible to be able to pull this one off!
Dire Straits – Money for Nothing:

Then of course there were plenty of things that I couldn’t play. I had a short Hendrix phase and of course an admiration for guys like Van Halen and Yngwie Malmsteen. Somewhere in there I remembered that I liked acoustic and country music as well. If it had a guitar in there somewhere I was happy.

But, if I had to put down the most important influence to me guitar wise then it isn’t any of the well known guitar heroes. A friend gave me three LPs to listen to in about 1990 and they were all Billy Bragg. Truly life changing. One man, one guitar – all you ever need:

Billy Bragg – Between The Wars:

So there you have it. Of course I have heaps of other favourite guitarists but these are the ones that made, and continue to inspire me to play.

Thanks to my Dad for selling his piano accordion to finance my first guitar. Thanks to my Mum for taking me to buy the electric guitar probably against her better judgment! And of course, thanks to Alison who understood when I wanted a huge Marshall amplifier.

And look, if you really feel the need to see me play then check this out….rough but honest.

DJ Rob

Friday, November 13, 2009

Song of the Week - Episode 64

Has anyone been watching “Ashes to Ashes” which is the sequel to the BBC drama “Life on Mars”? It is set in the eighties and although the story can be a bit hit and miss, the soundtrack is just a blast! In the latest episode they played a couple of my favourite bands: Motorhead and The Anti-Nowhere League. I wasn’t surprised to hear “Ace of Spades” but a song by The Anti-Nowhere League was a shock. So we’ll have some great tracks from the eighties this week. Not that there were too many.

John Parr – St. Elmo’s Fire:
This one is a classic. What is even funnier is that DJ AB requested it the same day that some of my students had been playing it. It is now the unofficial Team Funky Trunks theme song for this weekend’s Triple Triathlon here in Canberra.

And just proving that someone could be uglier than Rod Stewart and the Faces and have a hit:
Anti-Nowhere League – Streets of London:
I know that this is a cover of Ralph McTell’s song but it is the only song by the ANL that isn’t fairly offensive. Google them if you want more. Funny but crude.

Now here’s a song that I really hated at the time but that has grown on me. All the girls at my school were in love with the singer in this band. Personally I thought he was rather lame! I saw this song covered by local ska band “Los Capitanes” and I have quite a different opinion now:
Aha – Take On Me:

Of course heavy metal got extremely cheesy in the 80’s. Big hair, loads of makeup and not a lot of lyrical content worth writing home about. It was about having fun though. Former Van Halen singer David Lee Roth had the formula down pat. Amusing videos, mountains of hair, fake tan and a hot guitarist (Steve Vai in this case) – as a teen I LOVED the way the guitar spoke at the start of the song.
David Lee Roth – Yankee Rose:

There was an absolutely fabulous Australian folk/rock band in the 80’s called Redgum. Their biggest hit was the song about Australia’s experience in the Vietnam War, “I Was Only 19”. A great song but I like this one better:
Redgum – The Long Run:

This weekend I’m competing with some friends in the Sri Chinmoy Triple Triathlon. 3 tri’s back to back with all legs being cross country. There are some serious hills in the running and mountain biking. Thankfully the lakes are pretty warm now as well. The whole thing could take 11 or 12 hours and it is bound to be hot. We’re “Team Funky Trunks” and I hope I can live up to expectations! Hell of a race.

I was so tempted to put the obvious song from this artist as song of the week but after a quick flick through YouTube I chose this one. Suzanne Vega has a fantastically dreamy voice. Luka is a great (and sad song) but today I liked this one better so it is the song of the week.
Suzanne Vega – Left Of Center:

So, for those of you that survived the 80’s, I hope that these flashbacks don’t cause you to regress. Anyone who missed them then just go to YouTube, type in “Wake Me Up Before You Go Go” into the search, listen and be glad you missed such wonderful fashion!

Hasta La Vista Baby!
DJ Rob

Friday, November 6, 2009

Song of the week - Episode 63

Well, it had to happen and I must admit that I am relieved. Someone has made a request for a song. Mind you, this Song of the Week nonsense is all about me so I’ll choose whatever I like, but I am heartened that someone out there actually reads what I blether on about (blether is the word of the week – read on).

Now, I’m not sure why anyone in their right mind would have a hankering for Rod Stewart but that is what was asked for. Immediately I pictured a mop in a tartan waistcoat!! Rod has had his moments though so here is one from his time with The Faces. I much prefer this to his solo stuff as there is infinitely more swagger and attitude. Oh for the days when one could be as ugly as a hat full of rear ends and still be a rock star!

The Faces – Stay With Me:

Now, this little sojourn into the world of Rod Stewart reminded me of a clip from my favourite comedy of all time. My apologies are given in advance to those of you that have been subjected to this before. Mike Myers made a film called “So I Married An Axe Murderer” which is a lot funnier than Shrek or any of the Austin Powers films. Here’s a clip to whet your appetite:

So I Married an Axe Murderer (Mike Myers as his character’s father):

That segues nicely into the word of the week, again from Scotland, and it is “blether”. Blether means to talk nonsense in essence, normally ad infinitum. For instance, if someone was talking non-stop just to hear the sound of their own voice you might tell them to “stop blethering”. Blether comes from the Old Norse word “blathr” which means nonsense. I’ll stop blethering now and get to this week’s song.

It is no secret that I like guitars. At the moment I only have 4. Guitars are like bicycles in that the perfect number to have is one more than is in your collection. For a long time I have been a fan of Irish guitarist Gary Moore. He plays with taste and a great tone regardless of whether it is rock or blues. My mate Will got me to listen me a whole heap of his stuff a while back, whilst I was a casual fan at the time, I am morphing into a fanatic. One of my favourites is his song “Over the hills and far away” which has an obvious Celtic influence – here it is:

Gary Moore – Over The Hills and Far Away:

But the Song of the Week is not that, it is even more guitar oriented and I guarantee that not all of you will like it – sorry. I’m hoping that you’ll listen with an open mind. Dragonforce are from the UK and they play loud, fast and melodic (to a point) heavy music. Their lyrics make me laugh (and they are not meant to) as they are very much in the dragon/fantasy vein. I like this song, it rocks, it is technically fab from a guitar point of view and it has a good melody and is catchy. I hope you like it. The only unfortunate thing is that really, most of their stuff is very, very similar. Too similar for me.

Dragonforce – Through Fire and Flames:

DJ Rob