Friday, February 21, 2014

Song of the Week #286

Episode 286. 286 is an important number if you were into computers in the early 90s. If you weren't then it doesn't matter.

Bad Religion - 21st Century Digital Boy -

Lots of people complain about their government lying to them. At the moment the Australian Government can't be bothered even doing that; they just deny access to any information at all. Democracy isn't about those in power keeping the rest of us in the dark. News just in of an Australian journalist being detained on Manus Island and having all of his photos deleted is more than a little disturbing.

What I find ironic is that our government mandated Geography curriculum is all about getting students to ask questions. Just don't ask the current government anything at all difficult.

Thin Lizzy - Don't Believe A Word (live) -

If you missed my review of H and I playing a gig this week then you can check it out on the blog. It was a special night in a number of ways.

Queen - Don't Stop Me Now -

That's one of my favourite Queen songs. It has an infectious energy that so many bands never, ever manage to find.

A quick shout out to my good mate DJ Guzbox. He's the guy in our band that makes us sound good; our peerless audio engineer. Along with that he's a pretty ace mountain biker. I know that the rest of the band are pretty excited to have him on board.

Rose Tattoo - One Of The Boys -

Angus has his first game as a ballboy for the Brumbies Super Rugby team this week. After doing all the warm up matches in 2013 he's moving on to the big time. So if you're watching the match (against the QLD Reds) at the stadium or on the TV keep an eye out for him handing the ball to Stephen Moore or Saia Faainga. GO BRUMBIES!

Jerry Lee Lewis - Great Balls Of Fire -

I answered a question this week on a well know social media portal. The original poster wanted to know what the essential element to a good rock song was. My answer was "Lemmy".

The Head Cat - Big River -

I like a good cover version. You may have noticed. This one caught my ear during the week and I think it's a ripper. Fairly faithful to the original I guess but still a bit of fun.

Def Leppard - Stay With Me -

That's about all for this episode. Thanks for the comments during the week about the gig. I'm still looking for ideas for the 300th episode so shout out if you have one.

I'll sign off with songs that I'm directing straight at our government. What seems to be happening in the name of protecting our borders is wrong. These songs sum up how I feel.

Johnny Cash - All God's Children Ain't Free -

Elvis Costello - What's So Funny... -

The Nightwatchman - Black Spartacus Heart Attack Machine -

Yep, I'm frustrated and disappointed.

DJ Rob

"Won't you sing with me, these songs of freedom?" - Bob Marley (Redemption Song)

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Gig report - George and Rob at Vivaldi's 18 Feb 2014

Just a quick write up folks.

George and I were asked to play some songs at a private function that was held last night. Accordingly, H chose some songs and we had a quick rehearsal last weekend. I was fairly sure that the setlist would go out the window after the first song...and I was right!

We started quietly with some Church, Don Walker, Nick Cave, Lennon and Beatles as the audience chatted and ate their dinner. This was my first gig with the new amp that I bought recently and it's an interesting beast - by the end of the show I almost had it set in a way I was happy with!

After a while some people started to sing along - maybe it was Rhinestone Cowboy that convinced them. 

When you play in a rock band, most songs are three or four chords with maybe a bridge thrown in. They aren't that hard to remember. But when keyboard players get in on the act each song has a gazillion weird notes and chords for some reason. Being told just to "play along" used to really freak me out. But once I got it through my thick heavy metal, punk rock head that the keys were carrying the melody I began just to add bits here and there. I don't know if anyone noticed the screaming blues guitar solo in the middle of Billy Joel's Piano Man last night but it was there.

Eventually some people wanted to dance and H and I obliged with a run through Thunder Road, No Second Prize, an impromptu Crocodile Rock and some other well known numbers. The inevitable request for a Queen song stretched us but by the time we gave it a go with Don't Stop Me Now the crowd were in fine spirits and singing so loud that we managed to get through it.

H and I had agreed a while ago that any money that we were paid would go to the "Crossing The Divide" charity. It's one aimed at helping disadvantaged young people aged 12-21 in and around Bundarra and Tingha in New South Wales. We were blown away when the company who we were playing for announced that they were donating $1000 to the charity. Even more exciting was that individuals there on the night donated more money so we ended up with close to $2500 to pass on.

I'm not sure I've ever played a gig where, in the middle of a song, the singer has called someone up so that they can hear us playing. H did that last night so that Matt from Crossing The Divide could be a part of the gig. That's just awesome.

So, we played some great tunes (some of which we had actually played before), the crowd had a good night and the food (thank you Vivaldi's) was fantastic. A gig with a feed included is just the best. But most importantly, a significant amount of money is winging its way to a worthy charity.

We've got a couple of small (and free) gigs coming up; click here for dates and information. And don't forget the huge, full band, Midnight Oil tribute shows coming up in May.

Thank you again to Snedden, Hall & Gallop (it was their party) for their financial generosity and their singing prowess. Also to Mark and the staff at Vivaldi's for looking after us so well.


PS: here's the setlist - we think it's right!

Under the Milky Way

The Way You Are Tonight

Ship Song


Across the Universe


No Surrender

The Streets of Philadelphia

I’m on Fire

Rhinestone Cowboy

The Scientist


Better Be Home Soon

Grow Old With Me

Thunder Road

No Second Prize

Crocodile Rock

It’s Almost Saturday Night

Throw Your Arms Around Me

(What’s So Funny About) Peace Love and Understanding

Solid Rock

The Dead Heart

Piano Man

Morningtown Ride

Jumping Jack Flash

Tie Your Mother Down....well almost

Don’t Stop Me Now

Fortunate Son

With or Without You

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Song of the Week #285

Only 15 episodes to go until we reach 300. I remember getting to 100 and DJ Ben-E telling me that I could make it to 200! I guess I better start planning an anniversary episode; anyone got any ideas?

I've been watching Morrissey's live concert, "Who Put The M in Manchester?" far too much for my health! It's a bit of a homecoming for him I believe. After the first song he mentions a couple of places which are I assume where he grew up. And he gets the requisite cheers from the crowd. Being that my blog where this entry lives is called "World Wide Woozle" I thought I might do the same for some crowd noise from all over the world. Here's a call out to all the places I've lived in.... hello Falkirk, hello Munster, hello Changi, hello Bristol, hello Dundee, hello Longforgan, hello Tawa, hello Moe and of course hello Canberra!

Def Leppard - Hello America -

I'm not a fan of camping these days, that's no secret. As a kid in Scouts I enjoyed it a lot but the Army took all the fun out of it. My good mate Macca loves it...and he's always keen for me to come along. It was kind of ironic I thought that I was in a tent in December 2011 on a school camp by myself having just heard that Macca had been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Just a quick fast forward - it's now February 2014 and I went to the rugby with Macca last night. As you can probably imagine, he's had an amazing journey and so has his family. Anyway, I felt pretty sorry for myself in the small hiking tent but given that I was working (it was a school camp) I had no choice but to put the news to one side and keep working. Fortunately, the students I was with (who never knew) were such a great bunch and so keen to enjoy themselves that it was manageable. Pretty much as soon as I got home and we got the OK from Fiona we were at the hospital to see her and Dave.

I guess you really want to know why I'm writing about this? Well, Dave has written a book and its just been published. It's called "Hope Beyond Cure". I sat down and read it on Thursday night for a few reasons. I must admit that I'd had it for a week or so but was putting off starting it because I wasn't sure I could handle reading about Dave's story - this was someone I know, not an anonymous author. It's not long but it's powerful, honest, upsetting and inspiring. I really doubt that anyone out there reading hasn't been touched by the scourge of cancer in some way. And everyone deals with it differently.

If you'd told me years ago that one of my closest friends would be a man of God who was also a  rugby fanatic, lover of coffee and music and a motorbike rider I doubt I would've believed you. But that's Dave. He's been a Minister for quite a long time now (as well as being the Chaplain for the Brumbies Super Rugby team) and one of the main thrusts of this book is a well reasoned look at why he believes in God and Jesus. Regardless of your own religious views (or lack of them) that part of the book is interesting and thought provoking. The story of his journey from being diagnosed with inoperable and terminal cancer to now having a status of "N.E.D." - no evidence of disease - is painful, heartbreaking and uplifting all at once. You should read it.

Dave's book is available from here. You can also look at Dave's blog here

But we're all about music here on the World Wide Woozle. And Dave is a big Johnny Cash fan like me. In the book he quotes from a passage in Corinthians. What Dave didn't know at the time I think was that Johnny had recorded those lines in a song released in 2010. It's on the album "American IV: Ain't No Grave". The album is haunting in so many ways and the songs were recorded right up to the time Johnny died in 2003. Check it out....

Johnny Cash - 1 Corinthians 15:55 -

A couple of weeks ago I read a news story on my feed about guitars. An English songwriter had her guitar and bass stolen and had put out an internet plea for their return. As a result I checked out her website and music. After listening to only a track and a half I clicked the PayPal button and ordered her two albums. Being the modern world, the CDs will arrive soon but you also get a free download of the songs. But my download had some issues so I sent Laura (the artist) an email. I was pleasantly suprised to get a personal note from her today that sorted my issue out and thanked me for my comments about her music. That's cool. If you like bands like The Clouds or The Falling Joys or singers like Liz Phair and Suzanne Vega then you might like this. Or of course, if you're just brave enough to take a chance on me recommending something....

She Makes War - Minefields -

Fans of good music should come along to Beyond Q at Curtin Shops on Sunday 2nd March at 4pm (be on time) for a quick set that features yours truly on guitar and un-mic'd vocals. Luckily H, Chief and Joel will be doing some singing as well as covering all my mistakes. No need to book and it's free. Learn this song and be ready to sing along as I get my loud guitar working the room! More gig info here.

Matthew Sweet - Sick of Myself -

Coming soon for a full review is an album from US punk rockers "The Dollyrots". I was turned onto them by a friend in the States (hi Tom!) and I've been listening to them for a few weeks now. Tom and his son Phil were involved with recording and playing on the album. There's an acoustic CD that you get too if you pre-order. How funny and cool is this track?

The Dollyrots - Anarchy & Disney -

iTunes radio started up in Australia this week. I've tried Spotify before as well as a couple of other streaming services and I was never all that impressed. But when I clicked on the iTunes version and chose a couple of "stations" that I thought might be interesting I will admit I was pleasantly surprised. The sound quality is OK too. I'll investigate further (including their model for paying the artists) and get back to you. One of the first songs that was played was Ozzy's "Shot In The Dark". Pretty neat really - it's part of the time in Ozzy's career where Jake E. Lee was playing guitar for him. Jake was in the band after the technical ecstasy of Randy Rhoads and before Zakk Wylde came along with the pinch harmonics and huge hairy riffs. I always thought that Jake did a great job.

Ozzy Osbourne - Shot In The Dark -

I had a bit of a laugh with my good mate DJ MuchLessOfAFatBoy this week. The screen on his MP3 player had died and it was stuck on the Metallica album "Death Magnetic". As we both agreed, it could be a lot worse. It's such a good album especially when you consider the pretty much irredeemable effort that they put out prior to it. The only thing that was annoying was the fact that the mastering was so LOUD that a lot of the dynamics were blasted into sonic oblivion. But I've written about that before.

Metallica - Cyanide -

I'll close this week with something a bit quieter as, apart from Johnny Cash, I've managed to make this a fairly noisy episode! This one's for you Chief...

Diesel - Cinnamon Girl -

Have a great weekend brothers and sisters. Rock on!

DJ Rob

"It's a long and a dusty road
It's a hot and a heavy load
And the folks that I meet ain't always kind
Some are bad some are good
Some have done the best they could
Some have tried to ease my troubled mind
And I can't help but wonder where I'm bound" - Tom Paxton 1964

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Song of the Week #284

Radio fans; hello! Turn out the lights, press the speaker up to your ear and hide under the covers in case Mum or Dad catch you listening after bedtime!

I guess you have to be a certain age to remember that. For me waiting until night time to listen to the radio was more about the fact that I could tune into AM stations from all over the country and SW stations from all over the world. Radio Moscow used to send me a regular programme guide. Which was amusing up to the point that my Dad forwarded one to me when I had just joined the Army. A few questions were certainly asked of me! Radio Moscow certainly wasn't "rocking in the free world" in the late 80s but it was the first place I heard Siouxsie & The Banshees. Looking back that is fairly surreal.

Siouxsie & The Banshees - Painted Bird (1982) -

Let's move to something relatively new. English band "The Temperance Movement" are causing a fair bit of interest with blues and rock fans. After reading about them I listened to a few songs. To me they sound like a swampy, bluesy version of Thunder crossed with the Allman Brothers, ZZ Top and The Black Crowes. It's good stuff. ANd less contrived than Joe Bonamassa. Try this out...

The Temperance Movement - Only Friend (2012) -

I had a conversation with DJ MCG this week about Roxette. They are still playing music. I was reminded of seeing them live and the whole show being full on rock and roll with more guitars than I remember ever seeing on one stage. The only band that might be able to top that would be Cheap Trick I imagine.

Roxette - Sleeping In My Car (live 2012) -

Did everyone see the keyboard players hat in that clip? He must be a Bee Gees fan.

Lilyhammer season 2 has started on TV here in Australia. If you haven't seen the first one then run to the DVD store/online and get it. Both series are only 8 episodes but well worth your valuable time. Steven Van Zandt is even more hilarious as a mobster relocated to the town of Lillehammer in Norway than he was the first time around. And now that he's finished making this series he's back on tour with Bruce Springsteen. I don't think I'd be overstating it if I said that the TV show is one of the best I've ever seen.

Steven Van Zandt - Espresso Martini (live 2013) -

Sadly one of my favourite Australian/NZ bands broke up last year. King Cannons were just fantastic. In great news though, Luke and Mikey from the band are back with something new. Out of Melbourne, "The Spirit" have just released their first song. See what you think...

The Spirit - Forever Gone (2014) -

Music isn't all meant to be serious. Sometimes cheesy lyrics, a great guitar riff and a big chorus is more than enough to lift your spirits. I was, and never will be, a "red blooded, fun lovin' all American boy" but I thought this was a great fun song when I was a teenager. I'd forgotten all about it until this week when the band's name popped up in the YouTube recommendations. This is one they should've included in the "Rock of Ages" soundtrack. More cliches than you can poke a stick at...

Y&T - All American Boy -

Lastly is a man whose career didn't really start to take off until he was well past what many would consider to be the prime of his life. Charles Bradley spent around 20 years playing small gigs and doing bits and pieces of work. But, he was discovered by one of the guys from Daptone Records and the rest is history. His debut album was released when he was 62. "The Screaming Eagle of Soul" will be here in Canberra on the 1st of March playing a free gig at the National Portrait Gallery (details here). I'll be making the effort to go and you should too if you like good honest music. Here's a couple of clips to whet your the theremin!

Charles Bradley - Why Is It So Hard? (live 2011) -

Charles Bradley - Confusion (live 2013) -

Did you all spot the guitar player breaking a string in the second clip....he doesn't bat an eyelid. Respect!

That's all brothers and sisters. I hope you enjoyed the tunes this week.

DJ Rob
Do you remember lyin' in bed, with the covers over your head, radio playing so no-one could hear?
"Do you remember rock 'n' roll radio?" - Ramones, End of the Century (1980).