Friday, December 30, 2011

Song of the Week #175

Good evening all you radio fans! Well, not quite radio but you know what I mean.
This is the last episode for the year, and depending on my whereabouts in Aotearoa over the next little while, we may experience a short break in transmission.
Christmas was interesting. 20 people and 3 dogs in one place. But we had fun. Sydney was Sydney, I'm always glad to leave but it's OK to visit. I'm just not a big city person.
DJ FeeFee gave me a Madness boxset. I've never listened to them apart from the obligatory single here and there on the radio but I'm looking forward to getting into it. Here's something I do remember of them though...
And that leads me to this....
Ah, TV just isn't the same these days! Although for a number of people I guess the Young Ones was close to reality viewing. Thanks Mrs. Thatcher.
My family gave me a double CD entitled 'The Great Australian Songbook' - and it's a great listen. My only gripe is that if they went to the trouble of getting Rolf Harris to paint the cover and do the intro then why not include the full version of his classic song instead of 20 seconds? This is even better...
And if you though that was good, this is stellar...
I was in one of my favourite record shops yesterday - an independent one with an interesting mix of titles and a huge metal section! I picked up a Tom Waits live album recorded in 1975 on the strength of the song titles alone. How could I resist 'Emotional Weather Report', 'Warm Beer & Cold Women' and this one - the clincher...
Of course, I didn't pick up Tom Waits in the metal section. Thought I'd better be clear about that.
But if I was looking for a metal track then Queensryche is a band I always turn to. I had missed the fact that they had a new album out in 2011. Their stuff is always worth a listen - great lyrics and they can really play as well. But, after a quick listen to a few tracks I'm really not sure about it and I don't want to subject you to anything that I wouldn't recommend. The album is called 'Dedicated To Chaos' and I'll have a good listen and get back to you.
Holidays have been good for my training as I work towards a long course triathlon at Huskisson in February. I'm back on the time trial bike and really enjoying the feeling of speed out on the road. There will be some cross training in NZ as my brother has been super-awesome and organised a mountain bike for me. Judging by the weather I have a feeling that I might get a little bit wet into the bargain. Mountain biking can be very Zen compared to most of the training that I do. It is fantastic to disappear into the bush and really raise a sweat without any outside interference. No cars.
There's a newish 4 CD Iggy Pop bootleg collection that I've spotted in the shops. Iggy is cool, especially live, and I'll put this on my must-have list but I've got a bit of other listening to get through before I can immerse myself in that! If you've got any doubt about Iggy being a great performer then give this a good look...(for the squeamish, he says a couple of swear words in the intro - censor yourselves)
But my biggest find this week was one I'd been looking for over the past few months. Glen Campbell (yep, the Rhinestone Cowboy) announced that he has Alzheimer's and has recorded his farewell album. He's on a world tour at the moment doing his best. Man, I very much admire people who can put life into perspective in song. A few are good at it but listening to this album, as beautiful as it is, really makes your heart ache. That's the point I guess, but to be so honest in the public domain and not sound contrived takes talent and guts. The album is superb, Glen's voice just soars. Take a chance on these two tracks, the second one in particular is particularly moving given what we now know about him.
Next time on Song of the Week; a new format, New Year's resolutions, paid advertising and top 40 tracks. Nah, not really. It'll be another year of me rambling about almost anything and playing tunes I think you might like.
And remember...don't put anything on facebook that you don't want the world to see. It's that easy.
Happy New Year,
DJ Rob

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Song of the Week #174

We're early this week. At your regularly scheduled timeslot for Song of the Week I'll be en route to a rather large family Christmas celebration. After I've finished here I better setup a good playlist to annoy everyone in the car with.
It won't be long before TV and radio stations everywhere are reviewing 2011. I'll spare you that and dish out some great tunes instead.
Before I rip into the music, I need to let you know that I'm super proud of both my kids. They both got superb school reports, probably better than anything that was ever written about me. My teacher when I was about 6 wrote, "Robin is a chatterbox". Not much has changed. Zoë worked her way again to straight A grades and that's three years in a row. Amazing!
As tempting as it is to get into a Christmas theme here I've done that in the past. But just so that any rumours of me being the Grinch or Scrooge are quashed....
On Saturday night DJ McG and I ventured forth into town to see Maiden Oz. Although the band were called Live Evil, having started as a Dio tribute, they've branched out. And it was all Maiden that night. For $20 in a tiny venue I was of the opinion that it had damned well better be good. And I wasn't disappointed. Remembering that I saw the real Iron Maiden a few years ago and I'm a huge fan let me say that the entire night was AWESOME!! Everything was spot on. Being an old man now I sensibly wore my earplugs but it certainly didn't detract from my enjoyment. The crowd was LOUD, singing along to every word – I've never seen a Canberra crowd so animated. The setlist was great – the whole "Live after Death" album minus only one song and then a whole lot of others. I was hoarse, sweaty and in need of a sit down after a solid couple of hours. Massive congratulations to the boys in the band and on the sound and lights – it was a night to remember. At the end they mentioned a Judas Priest night might be coming up – if it is even half as good as the Maiden night then I'll be a happy metalhead.
When I was about 16 I was at K-Mart with my Mum and spotted two Judas Priest albums on cassette for the price of less than one...and they both turned out to be classics. "British Steel" and "Killing Machine" are still in my collection but I've replaced them with CDs as I reckon there must be no life at all left in the tape!! Here's what I really like about this track; firstly the guitars are overdriven but not into oblivion – you can still hear what is being played. The keyboards at the start are very cool and the vocals are sung rather than screamed, growled or grunted.
One of the many things I like about writing this every week is that I get suggestions and feedback from a number of sources. Sure I don't play everything people email my way but I'm always listening.
One such person is DJ MsgToYou – through him I heard this artist and I've been in contact and ordered a CD. I can't wait for it to arrive and I'll post a full review.
You can check out John's news stuff at
Another regular contributor is DJ FatBoy. If I took all his suggestions we'd be here for years and years of non-stop Anthrax and Metallica. And maybe the odd jazz tune. This is a cool one that he came up with. One of Australia's finest bands, The Angels, along with Screaming Jets singer Dave Gleeson. If you like a solid rock beat and tasty guitars then this might just be for you...
After a couple of months of looking in record shops I've finally managed to score a copy of Diesel's album "Under The Influence". Diesel aka Mark Lizotte, aka Johnny Diesel is an excellent Australian guitarist and if you like bluesy rock then check out the Johnny Diesel and the Injectors album from the 80s. But the new album is a mixture of covers and originals. He does a ripping version of Hendrix's Spanish Castle Magic but this is the winner for me...(this is an acoustic version unlike the album which has a full band)
There are many guitarists whose songs I like to play, and who I'd like to be able to play like. AC/DC's Angus Young, Armoured Angel's Matt Green and Queen's Brian May would be in my top 10. But it isn't all rock. As a kid I was lucky enough to learn a lot of songs as well as guitar tricks from my Dad. I was really reminded of this yesterday as I heard Zoë pick up Angus acoustic guitar and begin to teach herself a Green Day song from scratch. And by from scratch I mean that she found some chord diagrams on the internet and figured it out for herself – she plays the flute very well and if she can enjoy the guitar as much that'd be awesome. She even let me help her with the strumming pattern!  Here's a tune I got from my Dad many years ago and he'll understand the sentiment. If my fingers could fly as lightly as Tom Paxton's across the strings...
Tom Paxton following Black Sabbath on a gig bill, man – I would've been in heaven that day! I think I've mentioned that Sabbath are back in the studio and will tour in 2012...could be interesting. The fact that they chose Henry Rollins to host their press conference gives me hope...
One more track, hope you've managed to make it this far! Last night I put the movie Tropic Thunder on. It lasted about 5 minutes before I turned something else on – what a load of drivel! But this song was in the starting credits and it is cool. This is a different twist on the song but it's definitely worth a listen...
That's it. Chill out and have a good Christmas! Thanks for listening, reading and commenting through the year.
DJ Rob

Friday, December 16, 2011

Song of the Week #173

Hi folks.  Today’s installment marks the end of the school year for me. Well almost!

If you think teachers are lucky to have so many holidays then feel free to apply for a job. But I will admit that it will be a pretty good feeling to walk away for a few weeks.

In Proud Dad moments, Angus received an award for outstanding academic achievement for Social Science. I am so proud of him that I could burst. He’s done well enough to be moved up to the top level for 2012. On Monday night we’ll all be going along to the school presentation night to find out which award Zoë has won. What’s really great is that they are quite proud of each other.

I’m looking forward to a lot of things in my break but none more so than meeting my nephew Finn. He lives in NZ and the last time I saw him he was a lump growing inside his Mum. Angus tells me that Finn is awesome and he seems to be a reasonable judge of character.

But we should get on with some music before you all fall asleep.

Oasis aren’t one of my favourite bands. The hype and nonsense that surrounded them left me cold. But, when it comes to writing a catchy tune there’s no doubt that they had the knack. They were on TV here a few nights ago and I’ve watched a bit of it. While they still come across as twits this is a great tune. There are so many obvious nods to their influences but it always sounds like Oasis. That’s the point I suppose.

This week I was reminded just how good Deep Purple was. It doesn’t really matter but I happened to be having a conversation with Summernats Mogul Chic Henry and he was telling me how and why he loved the band. Chic had an awesome range of knowledge about guitar bands and was interesting to talk to. I didn’t think it was the time and place to thank him for Summernats hooligans destroying trees at my place on more than one occasion! This is my favourite track from Deep Purple. I had it on cassette for ages and the cassette body squeaked so much that you had to turn it up quite loud to drown it out!

There’s been precious little worth watching on TV of late. But what I have stumbled upon are some re-runs of the classic British comedy, Dad’s Army. Even after all these years it is still side splitting humour. Check it out sometime and enjoy a time when comedy didn’t equal profanity.

Uh oh, all the music (and TV) has been British so far.  Nothing like a thematic approach to get me thinking! This next band have a fantastic name and that’s what made me check them out in the first place.  See what you think…

Before I head out the door can you indulge me with a cheesy song of the cheesiest variety? And yes, it’s British again. Turn this one up, slap on your Walkman and look for some rollerskates…

Song of the Week will keep going during the school break but this email system will be down for maintenance from 24 Dec– 8 Jan. You can always check out the tunes here on the blog.+

DJ Rob

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Song of the Week #172

My apologies for the lateness of this instalment. It's been a big, big week and some of the events will be covered below.
Song of the Week #172 has two distinct parts. The first has some cool tunes and stories of fun times. The second bit is very serious and pretty raw. Please feel free to read as much or as little as you like. I figure that it's my blog and there are things I want to say – I encourage you to exercise your right to self censorship.
Part 1
I spent all of last week on camp with a group of 14 year old students. And it was a complete blast! I've never had a group who were all so enthusiastic about everything we asked of them. We were based in Jindabyne which is the gateway to the snowfields and Kosciusko National Park. As a group we spent a week mountain biking, hiking, camping, canoeing and river sledding. We camped close to the snow at White's River Hut as well as at Thredbo Diggings and Island Bend. I hate camping, the Army destroyed my love of it a long time ago, but the experience I had this past week went a long way to changing that. Next time I want a thermarest though. I should explain river sledding: you put on thermal underwear, then a wetsuit, then a spray jacket followed by a PFD (not quite a life jacket). Add to that water shoes, a helmet, knee and shin pads and gloves with webbing. Then you jump on a tough, inflatable body board and head down the river over rapids and a waterfall! It is fabulous fun even if the river was colder than a cold thing. I certainly got a few laughs after the waterfall spat me out upside down! Great camp, great kids, great times! But yep, nice to be home.
One of my new favourite bands as I've written about previously is "Winterpills". Two of their CDs have now arrived from the USA and I continue to be impressed by their sound. They are on the Signature Sounds label and the good folks there were kind enough to include a sampler of other bands on their roster. There isn't a dud on the sampler but this one stood out because I knew the tune but it took me ages to pick it!
Kris Delmhorst – Magic – I bet you never expected this song to be covered this way....too cool!
Last night Alison and I saw John Waters in the story of Lennon called "Looking Through a Glass Onion". He had a great band backing him up and the show was great. I wonder if John Lennon would've coped well with his audience becoming ultra conservative in so many ways. I could make a joke that they were rattling their teeth rather then their jewellery but I wouldn't dare! Some of the incidental music,  which was Lennon of course, had a real Pink Floyd feel to it. Tell me this one wouldn't fit perfectly into "The Wall"...
In interesting music news, Henry Rollins ran the press conference that announced that Black Sabbath would be recording a new album and then touring. It'd certainly be interesting to get to see the absolute masters of Heavy Metal at work regardless of their age. If Henry got a band together and toured with them that would almost be the ultimate show of all time. So you get Ozzy singing twice this week, I'm sure you'll all cope! This is possibly my favourite Sabbath song for a number of reasons. The intro is cool, the lyrics make me laugh and the the main riff just chugs along perfectly without the mechanical feel of so much modern hard music.
Recently Triple J radio has released a NicK Cave tribute album. I was pretty excited for a while until I heard some of the tracks. It's just Nick Cave covers with different singers – no real changes I heard. Here's how to pay tribute to a band...
Lenny Kravitz & Stevie Wonder – Deuce (from the tribute album KISS My Ass)
Part 2
During the week away on camp I found out that one of my close friends had collapsed and been taken to hospital. To cut a long story short, he has inoperable cancer. I had to process this information on my own, in a tent. We've been close friends for a while now as are our families and I feel like I've had my insides ripped out. But it isn't about me, it's all about him and his family. Today I was able to visit him (at his request) in the hospital. Another one of his friends had left a cap there that was significant. As many of you know I wear three wristbands all the time – one is the yellow Livestrong band supporting research into cancer. I started wearing one in 2005 and I've worn one ever since, every day, everywhere. I wear that yellow band for Bob, Chris and Rach who all died as a result of cancer. I wear it to show how much I hate this disease and how much it would mean if a cure could be found. I wear it for other close friends who have been touched by cancer as well. My wristbands are a conversation starter and a reminder. And after a week at camp there's a tan line around them. Now I wear yellow for my friend Dave and his family while hoping with all my heart that he will be a survivor.
A while ago Dave, Alison and I went to see a show about the life and times of Johnny Cash. Dave likes good music – music that means something. This isn't about wearing yellow but I think the sentiment fits well with the way I am feeling.
DJ Rob

Friday, December 2, 2011

Song of the Week #171

Woo hoo! It's Friday, I've finished work for the week and I'm going on camp next week. I get to spend time mountain biking, hiking, camping, canoeing and other neat stuff. Oh, and look after some students!
In cool music news, legendary Adelaide band The Mark of Cain previewed their first track in 10 years on the radio last night. It was great! You can download it from their website for free ( from midnight Dec 5th. I've seen TMOC a few times in Adelaide, Canberra and Brisbane and they never disappoint live. If you like Rollins Band or Helmet then check out their back catalogue. Here's an old track...
I've been listening a lot to a band called Winterpills this week. I played their track "Broken Arm" recently for all of you. Their music is a solid mix of influences including Simon & Garfunkel, Jefferson Airplane and Neil Young. Their CD is a great listen and I've got another one coming in from the USA. Here's another track for you to try out:
Zoe met Australian rock legend Angry Anderson recently when he played in a concert at her school. I think she was shocked at how short he was and how many tattoos he had! I remember meeting him at Melbourne Zoo when I was a schoolboy. I was to nervous to say a word! Here's Angry...
Today DJ McG returned my copy of the movie Anvil. It's a hoot, if you haven't watched in then get on with it, soon! We were talking about cool music – he has GREAT taste – and he reminded me of an awesome guitarist from Germany. I remember reading about Michael Schenker in guitar magazines and really digging his black and white Flying V guitars. I had a V for a while but the neck just felt too chunky for my hand. But, here's Michael...
Hats off this week to DJ HotB who participated in a hell selection week for cycling scholarship. I can't believe what these cyclists had to endure – it should have been filmed for TV. I laughed when I read that the first thing they had to do was re-cable their bikes. That would've been me gone in the first 5 minutes. But I wonder if she'll come and service my bike?
Angus has become addicted to the "Back to the Future" movies. That's not all bad as they are good fun! I think there might have finally been a breakthrough in his music education though when he loaded these tracks from the movie onto his iPod...anything's better than "yo, yo" music.
Huey Lewis & The News – The Power of Love (it takes about 15s for the sound to kick in...WAIT!)
If you're in Canberra on Dec 17th then get along to the Transit Bar to see the Iron Maiden tribute show. DJ Scotwithonetee reckons I'll need a wig but whatever, it should be awesome. Probably not as good as when we saw the real band a few years ago but it'll be horns up all night!
Adrian Smith is playing a red Ibanez Destroyer guitar in that clip. I had the chance to buy one a few years back for a bargain price and I'm still not sure why I passed it up. I think the shop was too busy and couldn't be bothered fighting my way through the masses! Oh well.
If you don't know that Billy Bragg is one of my all time favourite artists then you mustn't be paying attention! He's reworked one of his classic it is. Lyrics are at if you nee d them.
Anyway, he's got a new CD available through his website which is a collection of protest songs he's done over the last few years. In the liner notes he reflects that the time seems right for these type of songs again. I'll leave you with one of them. I don't agree with all that Billy has to say but this is a great tune and I reckon DJ G will like the reference to Dylan as well.
That's all folks – see you next week – and it'll probably be late as I'm going from camp to see the awesome show "Looking Through A Glass Onion" with John Waters. It's a one man show about the life of John Lennon. He has a band too so I guess it's more than one man. We saw it years and years ago – probably before we got married and we've just ticked over 18 years so...
DJ Rob

Friday, November 25, 2011

Song of the Week #170

This week I’ve got a few cool songs and three important events to discuss.
But before we start, if you’re a fan of Henry Rollins’ spoken word stuff then run, don’t walk, to the internet and book some tickets as he is heading down under in 2012. I already have my tickets to see him here in Canberra (thanks DJ FatHenry for the heads up). I reckon I’ll be sitting enough that he might sweat on me. I plan to bottle said sweat, put it in a pill and sell it to anyone who I think needs to toughen up!

Event #1 is my Dad having a birthday. And it’s a biggie. He might not think so but reaching a milestone between 60 and 80 is a fair effort really. I have my Dad to thank for my love of guitars and endurance sport as well as my lack of hair. Here’s a song for him that you can all enjoy as well.

Event #2 happens on Sunday. If I can count then that will be the day that Alison and I have been married for 18 years. Egads! Quite frankly I’m amazed that she puts up with all my nonsense but I’m glad she does.

Oh my, Lou Reed and Metallica have got together to put out an album. Why? Who knows. I like some of Lou’s stuff and most of Metallica’s but the collaboration is really, really hard listening. In fact I just can’t bring myself to listen to anymore and I like to think my musical tastes are reasonably eclectic. Here’s a rather amusing reaction to the album that you might get a chuckle from…

Foreshore is a music festival that is on this weekend in Canberra. The weather looks like it will be good and wet for all the revelers. I’ll admit that usually none of the music on offer makes me that excited but it would probably be worth the price of admission to see these two…

When I played in my first band in Canberra we were friends with another band called ASAP. They had better haircuts than we did and I’m pretty sure their guitarist had a real Fender! I first heard this track when they played it at the Canberra Uni Bar. It’s a song I still like – a lot!

That’s so much better than their Under The Milky Way tune, that’s one that really grates on me.

One of my good friends became a Grandpa this week. And with the technology the way it is, I was able to get regular updates on what was going on in the USA as the baby came into the world. Massive congratulations go to Lizzie and Bradley on the birth of their daughter. And in terms of proud Grandpas, DUG, you take the cake! As you may know, sometimes Facebook tells you where a person is posting their updates from. Well, DUG was posting from “near Tacoma”. That means that this song is for all of you in the Ames/Kennedy family.

Bye for now,
DJ Rob

Friday, November 18, 2011

Song of the Week #169

Hooray, the weekend is here. I think I could sleep for the whole 48 hours without too much trouble.

Good news is that after an amazing palaver involving the Hospital, the Doctor and the X-Ray Clinic it seems that Angus’ arm is not broken. Poor kid, he had to wear a cast for over a week and I think Alison is ready to declare war on the medical profession. I think the final insult was being given some paper scissors and being told to remove the cast herself for x-ray. Here’s an appropriately titled tune. Great vocals too!

Anyway, I was lucky enough to be involved with some colleagues in performing to around 1000 people this morning. It doesn’t matter what kind of musician you are or who the audience is, performing live is a real kick. And when almost all of them sing along it’s a real treat. I’d love to play to a crowd like this next one…

And yes, I’d wear the makeup too. You betcha!

DJ GarE17 put me onto the CD that this next track is from. The album is growing on me slowly. A must if you need to chill out to some serious musicians playing soul and blues. Probably a really good Sunday morning listen.

Georgia Fair are an Australian band that got a leg up when one of their songs was featured in a commercial. I know that other bands object to this but you’ve got to get a start somehow…and it’s a great catchy tune.

An artist who certainly wouldn’t want his songs used to advertise anything is Neil Young. I guess this next tune puts his views forward quite clearly!

OK, so I’ve had some quality time with the new Tom Waits LP at last. It’s great. But describing it is a bit of a challenge. It’s accessible to most people and I’m sure his fans still love it. Possibly the best way to imagine it is having an old fashioned carnival playing in your lounge room. It’s a hoot. Spend your hard earned cash on this one – but not the expanded edition that comes with a “40 page hard cover book”. It’s a rip-off. You get three extra tracks and the book just has the lyrics. I was disappointed to say the least.

I guess it would be remiss of me to mention a visit to our fair city by President Obama and his hundreds of minions and hangers-on. Personally I like the man. He seems personable, he hugged a school kid when she asked, and he smiles a lot. Unlike a lot of other US politicians at the moment he also seems to be able to string a coherent sentence together. Dubya always looked like someone was prompting him or he was under the weather. But that’s just my opinion. There was hardly any traffic chaos caused and really, living in the National Capital, we should expect a little when dignitaries come to visit. But I must say, despite my love of American music and the fact that I have quite a few American friends, I wish they would sort their country out. Really. When you have to be a millionaire to be the President something is wrong. Sometimes if you pay peanuts you get more than you expect…

This week I will have been to see Zoë perform in two concerts. Once in the concert band and tonight in jazz. It really makes me very happy to see so many kids enjoying playing music, and playing it well. One of the bands played this next tune…and I knew all the words! I surprised even myself. The only thing they missed was the funky guitar at about 1:20. Does anyone else see the link between this and Tenacious D? And there’s a guy with a broken arm in this clip!! Who knew?

Sometimes a melody is so well crafted that it just sticks there in the back of my mind and sails in and out of my consciousness. This is one of those tunes. Play it a few times and see if it does the same for you. So much better than “Slice of Heaven” and that’s a big call!!

Rock on folks.

DJ Rob

Friday, November 11, 2011

Song of the Week #168

Today is 11/11/11 – Remembrance Day. Whoever you are, whatever you believe I urge you to stop for a moment and think about those who have made the ultimate sacrifice or who have served or are serving in the armed forces. I can guarantee that the vast majority are hoping never to have to fight. Our guest speaker today quoted von Clausewitz; "war is a continuation of politics by other means". Remember that your elected representatives aren't the ones in harm's way.
Bruce has been a bit of a theme for the past few weeks. Blame DJ H for that!

Pink Floyd released a double live LP when I was at the end of my last year in High School. The TV marketing and the title got into my subconscious and I ended up buying it. "The Delicate Sound of Thunder" opened my ears to Floyd who I'd previously had trouble getting into. The opening track, all 12 minutes, is my favourite and I was reminded of it this week. This is the version from that album and despite what some Floyd purists might say, I still think it is awesome. Spacey intro, soaring lead guitar and a gritty sax. Give it a go, it's only 12 minutes and it is oh so worth it!

One of the bands I saw last week had this next tune as their intro tune. It's my favourite song from the Blues Brothers soundtrack album. But here's Taj Mahal. It's his song after all. Righteous!

Taj Mahal made me laugh with his song "Big Legged Mommas Are Back In Style Again"!

REM are calling it a day. I've only really been a casual fan of theirs but this is a very, very cool track. Peter Buck's guitar has a great sound and the echo is used to great effect.

A picture of DJ Randwick asleep with his head on an angle whilst wearing headphones led me to remark that he was doing a Steve Wonder impression. But since he didn't get ther reference here's a tune. Young people these days!

And I'm not making fun of Stevie – he rocks.

I've been listening to a fair bit of Motown and soul music recently. And of course I stumbled on an unexpected cover version. This is groovy in all the right ways, even if the bass line is a bit overdone!

Billy plays this next song on a dodgy live recording I have. I'm guessing he was influenced by the Bowie version but maybe not. I'm happy to admit that I thought it was a Bowie tune until very, very recently.

MC AB and I headed out last Saturday night to see King Cannons play here in Canberra. We were pretty keen as they had ripped it up supporting The Living End not all that long ago. They didn't disappoint. If you like punk, ska, reggae and a good beat then these guys (and girl) are worth checking out. In a small venue they worked hard to get the smallish crowd excited. And their few bars from Fleetwood Mac went down a treat! There's no doubt that they give it all when they perform and I'm surprised that they could even stand afterwards. I guess for me one of the great things about this band is that with two guitars, bass, keyboards, drums and percussion no one overpowers the mix. Here's their latest single which I can assure you, sounds so good on vinyl.

Ah, what the hell, this is a cool song. It reminds me of the Little River Band. Have a great weekend!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Song of the Week #167

Here we are again folks at the end of another busy week. I haven’t managed to get to the shops to buy the new Tom Waits album so I’ll hold that over for another time.

So, what’s news? Well I’m VERY proud of Zoë who got two distinctions in a French competition at school. Tres Bien indeed! I’m also impressed that Angus did the extra part of his Maths homework that was optional. Good kids – certainly better than I was at their age. While I always got my schoolwork done I was a last minute kind of guy. Somehow I still got good grades. But then I think that so much more of our work was done in school time.

I like guitars – if you hadn’t already guessed. Almost as much as bicycles! This week’s episode is all about my guitars. If that doesn’t interest you just pop down to the end for this week’s featured tune.

Guitar #1 – Eko Acoustic – this was my Dad’s and it’s older than me. It weighs a ton and has a big sound to match. A great guitar for open chords and strumming along. As a teenager I loved the way that the headstock looked like a Gibson one. This is the guitar my Dad would play and I would play along following his fingers. On songs like this…

Tom Paxton – The Last Thing On My Mind

We saw Tom playing in 1988 – he has such a light touch on the strings. A great player indeed.

Guitar #2 – Fender Stratocaster copy – it’s a red one! I bought this in NZ in December 1987 and it changed my life. Along with a small practice amp this guitar let me play rock music as a teen and it was the ultimate release. I still have the guitar and although it’s had a fair bit of work done to it I think it’s the most comfortable guitar ever. I played my first rock gigs with it and I’d struggle to find a show I’ve played where it wasn’t at least there as a backup. I chose it, not knowing much about guitars, on account of two great players. Here they are:

Dire Straits – Sultans of Swing (live)

Jimi Hendrix – Hey Joe (live) (the album cover has a red Strat on it)

As Bono said, all you need is red guitar, three chords and the truth.

Guitar #3 – Gibson Melody Maker (Joan Jett Signature Model) – I’ve had this a couple of years now. I always wanted a Gibson as so many of my heroes played one. But, the couple I had in the past really didn’t suit me. This one was going for a song so I bought it on impulse. For a “cheap” guitar it sounds fantastic. It’s a real rock and blues machine that is best when simplicity is the key. Melody Makers were student guitars back in the day but you see them a lot being used by a wide range of players. The pickup is particular to this guitar and smooths out distortion and overdrive so that it growls rather than bites.

Green Day – Jesus of Suburbia (Billy Joe plays a Melody Maker here)

Guitar #4 – Tanglewood Resonator – sometimes the old Eko is a bit huge and heavy for me and I was looking for something different in an acoustic guitar. I hadn’t really considered one of these until I saw it hanging in the guitar shop next to all the expensive Matons I had been trying out. Most players would use a slide and play in an open tuning but I just tuned it up to regular and bashed out a Neil Young song – and I was hooked. It’s twangy, it’s LOUD and it’s a small body and comfortably slim neck. This is the best guitar just for sitting around on the lounge with.

Bob Brozman is the king of resonator guitars…check this out CLICK HERE

Guitar #5 – Burns Steer – there’s a big story behind me getting this guitar. After deciding to buy one I couldn’t find one here in Australia. But a guy in NZ imported them. So, he imported it from the UK and shipped it to my Mum in Wellington. Then my brother picked it up and my Dad brought it back to Australia after a visit. The final delivery leg was undertaken by DJ HB who braved the excess baggage scales to get it to Canberra! Was it worth it? YES! It’s an extremely versatile guitar. I could probably leave all the others at home and play almost anything from any style on it. It’s a guitar synonymous with Billy Bragg and I’m happy to say that’s the reason I bought it. The versatility was an unexpected bonus.

Billy Bragg – Help Save The Youth of America

That’s probably enough about all of that.

The problem with trying to get my training schedule back into some sort of groove is that I’ve been really tired in the evenings. Usually I retreat to bed and I reckon I’m snoring the place down by 9.30pm! Listening to a few tunes helps me chill out usually. Here’s two tracks that work and one that didn’t! You can probably work out which one woke me up!

Elvis Presley – Always On My Mind

Dixie Chicks – Travelling Soldier

Dragonforce – Through Fire And Flames

Have a good weekend y’all!

DJ Rob

Friday, October 28, 2011

Song of the Week #166

This has been an AWESOME week. I’m not really sure why. So you’re probably only going to get any slow, sad songs in this episode.

First of all, the wedding we went to in Port Mac was awesome. People should be happy when they get married but Will and Jacqui were beyond that and it was fabulous to be there. Port Mac is a pretty cool town. Good weather, good coffee, Ironman banners everywhere and big groups of cyclists. Can I move there now? At least for the Winter. I got a magic 9km run in up and down the paths that hug the coast. I haven’t run up and down so many steps for a long time. Did I mention the gorgeous lap pool on the roof of the hotel?? The only drag really was 13 hours of driving to get there and back.

Today I was fortunate enough to be working away when I heard Tom Waits speaking on the radio. He was being interviewed about his new album and playing some of his favourite tunes. I hit record on the cassette deck so that I can listen to the whole thing later on. But I did hear him playing this song and it is well worth a listen…

Jim Reeves – Put Your Sweet Lips Closer To The Phone

Here’s a track from Tom. The album, “Bad as me” was released on Monday. I’ll track it down this weekend. Here’s the title track.

Tom Waits – Bad As Me

I looked for this next track a couple of weeks ago but it wasn’t anywhere to be found. Thankfully the band themselves have uploaded it! The song has been getting a lot of radio play and the chord sequence has a great hook. Nice 80s vibe with the clapping as well. As for acting one's age…we’ll see.

Bluejuice – Act Yr Age

The piano at the start conjures up memories of Ben Folds for me. I heard him interviewed recently, he must have a box set or demos or something similar available. Once I was in a show where we played “Rockin’ The Suburbs” by Ben. Anyone who references Quiet Riot in a song is OK by me.

Ben Folds – Rockin’ The Suburbs

Now, I’m not a fan of manufactured pop stars and teen idols but every now and then one of them surprises me. Def Leppard were in town this week and you all know that I though $150 to see them was too much – I still do. So, to drown my sorrows I had a few tracks of theirs playing in the background. YouTube allows people to set playlists and this came up. Who knew? It’s pretty cool.

Def Leppard and Taylor Swift – Love Story (that’s her song)

Def Leppard and Taylor Swift – Pour Some Sugar On Me (their song!)

Good luck to all my friends racing this weekend in Noosa as well as here in Canberra at the Sri Chinmoy Tri Festival. I hope the weather is good. I’ve never raced in Noosa but it might have to go on the ‘must do’ list!

To wrap up this week I want to remind you of a band that I keep coming back to. The Proclaimers have been around for years and if I am to believe information gleaned from Twitter then they have a new record coming out. They sing songs about real people and real places in a style mixing pop, country and folk music.

The Proclaimers – Everybody’s A Victim

Have a great weekend folks. Mine’s looking sweet with some cycling, time as a parking attendant here at work and then avoiding some of Angus’ cricket!


DJ Rob

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Song of the Week #165

Unlike the last few weeks, this is a really, really, really early edition!

Why? Well, on Friday Alison and I will be on the road to Port Macquarie. Why? Well it’s Will and Jacqui’s wedding on Saturday and we’ll be there for the occasion.


I met Will when we were both new staff at St Eddie’s a few years ago. We both played guitars and loved music. We’ve been good mates ever since.


Here’s a song I know Will thinks is pretty damned good. Me too.


Stevie Ray Vaughan – The House Is Rockin’


Elvis and Bruce do a pretty good job on this next song…until they can go no further!


Costello & Springsteen – Pretty Woman


And that sort of leads to this version which I’m really not sure about. In interviews with the band they claim that David Lee Roth made them do it!


Van Halen – Pretty Woman (fast forward about 1:45 into this to avoid the boooooring intro)


Now, Alex Van Halen’s outfit and bare chest brought me to this next song. An 80’s cheesy classic!


Baltimora – Tarzan Boy


And when we hit the 80s there are just way too many dodgy songs that come to mind. The original version of this next one is a classic but I’m happy to admit that when I heard this cover in the 90s on the radio I thought it was Lemmy from Motorhead singing!


Lawnmower Deth – Kids In America


And I know that I heard this song about the same time. The original is beautifully produced, heartfelt, well played and the vocals are sublime. The Lemonheads roughed it up perfectly but it just goes to show that good songwriting transcends genre.


The Lemonheads - Luka


Canberra readers please don’t forget to check out George & Junk Sculpture’s Springsteen tribute show. Details – click here.


It’s been more music than general mayhem this week. I’m avoiding some controversial issues until maybe next week. But the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh are here in Canberra right now. Hooray. How exciting. It’s a shame you can’t really hear my sarcastic tone. I’ve got nothing against the Royals personally but I think it can’t be long before Australia moves down the republic road. At least we haven’t got Charles here with his ears interfering with everyone’s radio and TV reception! Oh, that was mean. Oops.


Motorhead – God Save The Queen (I LIKE the video – the Queen driving a bus!)


If you’ve got a spare moment please have a look at . It’s a movement to provide working watches to health workers in developing nations. What an awesome idea. I’ll be ordering.


Right. I ‘d better pack my bags. What will I need for a wedding at Port Mac? My Funky Trunks and sunglasses? Oh, and a hat I guess.


Cliff Richard & The Shadows – Summer Holiday


DJ Rob

Friday, October 14, 2011

Song of the Week #164

Today I finally finished watching a TV documentary about Jimi Hendrix. I've mentioned it before and I especially liked it because Jimi was the narrator. I remember buying my first Hendrix LP when I was about 16 and being really quite disappointed. It was "Live At Winterland" and it really took me a long time to 'get it'. And by a long time I mean years. There really isn't that much Hendrix that rates a casual listen, you have to take some time and think a bit about it. In the doco Jimi is being interviewed about his rendition of The Star Spangled Banner and the host tells the audience to consider that Jimi served in the 101st Airborne before they write in to complain!
Here's an accessible Hendrix tune, and funnily enough the first track on that album I bought back in the dark ages.
Last weekend I heard Manfred Mann's "Doo Wah Diddy" on the PA system at the 24hr mountain bike race. It stuck in my head and I asked DJ Mikki if she'd seen it in the movie "Stripes". I guess it was before her time! But here's a clip from the film and also the original tune. Classic!
It always disappointed me that the Australian Army didn't keep us marching in time with cadence calls the way the Americans do. I remember one of my friends starting it up when we were at Tully and him being told to "cut out the Seppo bullshit"!
There must've been something about nonsense lyrics into songs back in the day. Try this one as well, another gem! Driving beat, pretty girls AND the Phil Spector wall of sound – this song has it all.
Flogging Molly are a band I got into after listening to The Pogues (for years) and The Dropkick Murphys (for 5 minutes!). They have a newish record out. The review in R2 Rock'N'Reel Magazine (which is a fab publication by the way) says that their sound is now more Detroit than Dublin and also channels Springsteen. Good enough for me. Here's the first single from the album "Speed of Darkness".
I've also played Seasick Steve before. I come back to his tunes quite regularly as they are honest, uncluttered and sometimes amusing. He's also got a new CD out. This track was on the sampler CD from R2 magazine which I threw on in the car. I was certain that this was being sung by Kris Kristofferson. But I was wrong and it's a great song from Steve. I can imagine Kris, Johnny Cash or even Nick Cave singing this one.
Fantastic news is that Billy Bragg has a new disc out. Called, "Fight Songs", it is a collection of non-album tunes with a common theme. As far as I know it is only available from his website – I'll be ordering as soon as I finish boring you all this week!
One of my best friends and Song of the Week regular, DJ FatBoy, had a birthday this week. I've been lucky enough to know him since we were thrown together by the Army in 1994. Three long months at the School of Signals forged a solid friendship that remains even when he tells me I'm soft with some of my musical choices! This one's for him, I know he's still spewing that he missed seeing this band with me all those years ago. It was a life changing moment for me and for him as well as I forced the cassette on him later on! Happy Birthday mate.
I hope you'll take the time to check out this next song. It's by a friend of mine, Marji, and her band. Also, the film clip was put together by another friend, Ed. Pretty fantastic stuff. They are a great live band and they also do a wicked version of Dolly Parton's "Joelene". Leaves The White Stripes for dead. Lovers of good guitar should run, not walk, to iTunes to pick up some tracks.
Zoë bought some tracks from iTunes this week. Nothing too unusual in that. But some ended up on my iPod and this one played while I was running the other day. Apart from the fact that the band sounds exactly like Good Charlotte or Guttermouth, the song is hilarious! I love it!
Guttermouth? Who are they I hear you ask dear listener. Well, I caught this music video years ago after taping an all night video show. Taping folks, old school. The track is a bit crass but they looked to me like a band that knew how to have a good time. Extra points to anyone who can spot how I know this band has been to Australia for a visit...
DJ JoJo was telling me during the week how she used to record songs from the radio to help decipher the lyrics. Of course, this was before the internet made life way too simple. What's funny is that JoJo is from East Gippsland and I was surprised that they had electricity that long ago! Here's one that confused me as well. It wasn't until I was playing in a band myself that the lyrics to this one became clear! I had no idea at all that James was singing, "beau-tiful people"!
Is that enough? Can you handle more? Does anyone read this far??
Well, with the Rugby World Cup drawing to a close it was pretty awesome that England lost to France. I hope my boss isn't reading this far! England have been almost as tragic in the competition as Australia. All that remains now is for Wales to beat the French and setup a win against the underperforming Wallabies. New Zealand? The All Blacks? Not a chance. With Richie's sore foot and two kickers out with groin tears they are a lost cause. I'll probably be eating my words next week!
Let's finish with a band that could be Australian and could be from New Zealand depending on your point of view. They're playing here in a couple of weeks and while I was initially tempted nothing will compare to seeing them in the 90's at the Yass Soldiers Club. There were about the same amount of people in the audience as there were on stage. But the band still rocked.
That's it. With any luck the magpies won't swoop me in the morning!
DJ Rob

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Oh come take my hand...

...and get to this gig any way that you can manage it. Travel down the Thunder Road, through Darlington County, Nebraska and the Streets of Philadelphia if you must. You have to be there live as it won't be on Radio Nowhere. Take your Sherry Darling, Drive All Night and avoid a Tenth Avenue Freeze Out. Don't get waylaid by Outlaw Pete and finally, remember that You Can Look (But You'd Better Not Touch).

Seriously folks, George and the crew from Junk Sculpture ALWAYS put on a great show.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Song of the Week #163

A late issue this week. I'm on school holidays and somehow it slipped my mind that it was Friday. Oops!
When it comes to inventions, I have an open mind. That is apart from vocal autotune technology, boy bands and Lady Gaga! But the trackpad that sits on a laptop for us to use instead of a mouse does my head in. I hate those things. Give me more keyboard space and I'll plug a mouse in – anytime.
That brings me briefly to Apple. You can read in my previous blog post about me and computers but let me say this. If you're an Apple hater or a PC derider then get over yourself. For most of us they do exactly the same thing. I'm a big fan of my iPhone but all my computers are PC based. Who cares?
I finally got around to purchasing one of the Cold Chisel remaster CDs. "You're Thirteen, You're Beautiful and You're Mine" was a limited edition vinyl live EP back in the day. It has been out of print for a very long time and something of a holy grail for record collectors and fans. I tried to buy one on eBay a few years ago but I'm not that rich! The title is a reference to Jerry Lee Lewis marrying his cousin.
This week, being holidays and all, I picked up some CDs to immerse myself in. One was "The Promise" from Bruce Springsteen. It's a double CD of tracks that weren't released for one reason or another when he recorded "Darkness On The Edge Of Town". It's a killer set. There is a fair proportion of Bruce's work that leaves me cold but this certainly does not. After my first listen I penned an email to a friend I know is a huge fan of The Boss. I told him that listening to these CDs made me feel like I was standing in middle America in the snow with my workboots and a heavy coat on waiting to go to work. The songs draw you in and make you a part of them. That's a rare talent for a songwriter. Here's disc 1, track 1 – what an awesome starting point. If someone played this to all those poor kids learning scales on the piano they might stick at it longer...
I also picked up the new Kasabian album on the strength of the song "Re-wired" that I played a while ago. If you mashed up The Beatles, Supergrass, Herman's Hermits, Oasis, Blur and any other English pop band you can think of you'd approximate their sound. But it works. I've run the CD through a few times and I think it was money well spent. I keep hearing bits of other songs mixed in to Kasabian's work and trying to pick their influences is half the fun. Here's the first track and I think the melody line from about 48s in is a dead ringer for that from the vocal in "Rising Force" by Yngwie J Malmsteen – you be the judge!
Right, a quick political rant. Surely everyone knows who Desmond Tutu is. And the Dalai Lama as well. If you don't then Google is your friend and you should be ashamed. And did you realise that Dr Hibberd on "The Simpsons" has the same laugh as the Dalai Lama? Check it out, I'm serious. But what is important is that the Dalai Lama was invited to speak in South Africa and attend Tutu's 80th birthday. But the government there refused him a visa. Wow. That just blows me away.
At one place I worked the students weren't allowed to wear heaps of jewellery which is fair enough. But they were allowed to wear "a small religious icon". I always wondered what would happen if someone turned up wearing Archbishop Tutu. That's a joke folks.
Bert Jansch died this week. He was a sublime guitarist and this is probably his most well known piece. Crank it up, it doesn't get much better.
There have been a few jokes about Steve Jobs potentially rising from the dead in three days. Tasteless yet amusing to a point. There's no doubt that he was a very successful visionary whose impact is huge. But have you read about the $35 computer tablet being rolled out to kids in India? Now THAT is visionary.
And that's about it from me. I'm off to the Australian 24hr Mountain Biking Championships to be the support crew for Team WMGS (AB and Shelley) who are racing the whole thing as a pair. Ouch, ouch, ouch. It would be awesome if it doesn't rain.
I'll leave you with a track from an album I expected to be a load of drivel. Anthrax have been around for ages. They ditched their singer, got a great one called John Bush and then got the old one back. It shouldn't be allowed. Watching him on DVD at "The Big 4" concert was just cringeworthy. But then they released this album and it is just great. The guitars are driven hard without being harsh and the vocals, well, I'm impressed! Perhaps the metal release of the year.
DJ Rob

Thursday, October 6, 2011


The death of Steve Jobs got me thinking about my involvement with computers.

In 1984 I was fortunate enough to be allowed to 'play' with one of these at school on a regular basis. I had to hang around for a while to catch a train home and the Principal thought it might be a good idea. Guess he was right!

The VIC20 was fun. Of course you plugged it into a TV and any programmes were loaded from cassette.

Shortly after I was allowed to spend the absolutely massive amount (and it was!) of $200 on one of the below beauties for myself. I learned some rudimentary BASIC programming and lusted after the 16kb RAM expansion module! Foolishly I gave this computer away. It was an MC-10 which was made by RadioShack.

My school got into computers in maybe 1986. We had some Apple IIe units as well as a lab of IIc computers later on. I think we did some basic word processing and publishing using AppleWorks and PrintShop. And we'd moved on to 5.25" floppy disks!

For a while I wasn't all that interested in computers. I tried a unit in Information Systems at university and was disappointed when it was pretty much all maths that I couldn't do.

But then I ended up working in IT in the Army. By mistake. In 1992 was lucky enough to work on PR1ME minis as well as Wang. They were dumb terminal systems. We also started rolling out the first XT, 286 and then 386 computers. The first PC I built myself was a 386DX-40 with 2x 120Mb hard drives and 4Mb of RAM. Man, that thing flew!! We also worked on the first laptops that didn't even have batteries. Heavy! We got into networking using Novell which was the bomb for a while. I didn't really enjoy working in civilian life though - the lack of a common purpose apart from earning money was a real drag. And that's when I got into teaching.

Although my degree is in Politics I had more than enough work experience to be able to teach computing. And it is a hell of a lot of fun. We try and cover the whole gamut of IT from basic word processing and spreadsheets through to animation, video, databases and various programming languages. And, really, the platform or flavour of software doesn't matter at all. It's all about being able to use whatever is put in front of you.

When I look now at my iPhone, laptop and all the various pieces of technology lying around we really have come a very long way since that VIC-20 in 1984.

I really couldn't give a hoot these days about the Apple vs. PC debate - just choose whatever works for you - they all do roughly the same thing for the majority of users.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Song of the Week #162

This is one of my four favourite Fridays of the year. Why? Because it is the end of the school term and that signals a few days of relaxation! My plans for the break include churning my way through some books I’ve had delivered from the Book Depository, playing my guitar and getting some solid training done. Who knows, I might even spend time with my family.

Books? Yeah, I have to leave reading until the school holidays or I never get any work done. I like to get into a book and stay there. I’ve got some crime fiction (Tess Gerritsen), a Jack Kerouac book and The Diary of a Dr. Who addict! That might take me a couple of days. I reckon I’ll also need a trip to a few record shops. With any luck there will be some good deals on LPs.

Angus is back from his trip to the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand. And I’m sure there can’t be any memorabilia left for anyone else! He had a blast with my family there and particularly enjoyed spending time with his young cousins. It’s a great place Wellington. If the weather was better it might be close to perfect.

Last week I mentioned Nirvana and played a tune. If you believe certain sections of the media then my generation wants Nirvana to be revered as our Beatles. I really don’t think so. Maybe if Kurt hadn’t killed himself then we might’ve got to see what he was truly capable of. As it is, they were influential without a doubt but they can’t hold a candle to John, Paul George and Ringo.

This is my favourite Beatles song(for today). I saw some friends do a particularly excellent cover of it last Saturday.

The Beatles – Norwegian Wood

The thing about the Beatles is that there is such a huge amount of material to listen to and really, there is very little that isn’t good.

Last week there was a documentary about Jimi Hendrix on TV followed by his Woodstock performance. The doco was ace, narrated in the first person, but Woodstock always leaves me cold. There are just so many better Hendrix live performances. I can already hear the cries of “sacrilege”! The funniest thing on the doco was when Jimi broke his ankle training with the 101st Airborne in the US Army. He relates how he pretended to have a sore back by groaning every time a doctor looked at him! Check out the feather boa and the Brian Jones intro as well as the tune from Monterey 1967.

Jimi Hendrix Experience – Killing Floor

It’s hard to imagine Jimi on tour with The Monkees (who he referred to as the Plastic Beatles).

The Big Day out is a huge music festival here in Australia. The headline acts were announced today. Kanye West – yawn. But Soundgarden are playing and that would be good to see. They have some great guitar tracks and Chris Cornell’s voice is just fab.

Soundgarden – Fell On Black Days

Speaking of songs with great guitars…I’m really NOT a fan of this next artist but this song really has it all. I can see why it was a hit. The lyrics are cutting and the guitars have bite too.

Hole – Celebrity Skin

I’ll finish with something new. A track I heard on the radio yesterday while sitting at my desk working away. It sounds like a combination of so many good bands but without being a ripoff.

Stonefield – Black Water Rising

Oh, and before I go – fingers crossed for a great AFL Grand Final between Collingwood and Geelong. Here’s what the fuss is all about – the greatest football code in the world.

The Two Man Band – Up There Cazaly


DJ Rob