Friday, December 25, 2015

Song of the Week #383

Merry Christmas everyone. And to those who don't celebrate Christmas I hope you've had a good day regardless.

The Royal Guardsmen - Snoopy's Christmas -

Some of today's songs relate to Christmas gifts. There are about a million people at HQ World Wide Woozle so there's plenty of inspiration to draw from.

First up, a song about aeroplanes, or at least a clip featuring a lot of them. Neil turned up yesterday with a load of balsa wood planes and rubber bands for everyone to have a lot of fun with. Luckily there are tall people here to rescue the aforementioned planes from the trees in the neighbourhood!

Van Halen - Dreams -

Angus, our resident sports fanatic, scored rather well with signed football jerseys from two of his favourite teams. Apparently he's going to frame them rather than wearing them first. Fair enough! Football season is only a few long months away...

Little River Band - Playing To Win -

Christmas or not, I love giving and receiving the gift of music. I was very fortunate to receive a couple of very cool albums to listen to. Well played H in choosing two that I don't have, I know that can be a difficult task!!

Cold Chisel - Home & Broken Hearted (live) -

Opeth - The Drapery Falls -

This one is for my Dad. I know that he likes this song (and album) and I hope that everyone where he is enjoys the kazoo we sent him!

Jesse Fuller - San Francisco Bay Blues -

My Mum gave me Bill Bryson's book about growing up in America in the 50s. In so many ways you can see why Americans see that as a the halcyon days in their country's timeline. It's an interesting read so far with insight into the psyche of a nation and what makes it both great and terrible at the same time. I'm only a couple of chapters in but this song springs to mind...

Billy Joel - We Didn't Start The Fire -

Regardless of your particular religious views let me say that I think that Christmas is a time for peace and goodwill. Guilt about haves and have nots really gets us nowhere but if you can think of a way going forwards to make just one person's life a little better then that's a good thing.

The Beatles - Help (live 1965) -

In band news we played a charity Xmas party last Sunday in 37 degree heat. My fingers were literally burning on the guitar strings due to the direct sunlight. I don't know how H managed to keep the singing together for the whole show as he's been so unwell. Chief learned a valuable lesson about what happens to your feet when you don't have any shoes on and the stage is getting the full force of the sun! Regardless of all this we played well. Next up is the New Year's show at Vivaldi's. There are less than 10 tickets available now if you want to come along. I've only got a couple of songs left to learn but I'm not giving anything away. Watch this space for some rather big news about what we have planned for 2016.

But now, after an awesome Christmas lunch, I may take advantage of a lull in proceedings to have a nap!

Art vs Science - Enter Sandman (live)  -

Lukim yu,

"so lock up your daughters, lock up your wives, lock up your back door and run for your lives...", Anthrax, TNT (live), 2013.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Song of the Week #382

At this time of year I sometimes wish I was still a teacher and therefore on a long break. But then I remember what leads up to that break and I'm sort of glad to be out of it. Anyone who thinks teachers have it easy as a result of a lengthy Summer break is kidding themselves.

Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes - I've Been Working Too Hard (live) -

Usually I'd write some kind of Christmas message about this time but the next episode is due on the big day so I may hold off. There's no guarantee that you'll get an installment next Friday in between the festivities and post lunch nap but you never know.

"The River" is a 20 track Bruce Springsteen double album from 1979. "The Ties That Bind: The River Collection" is that album but a 4 CD and 3 DVD extravaganza of unreleased tracks, live takes and other stuff. I've just begun to work my way through it and I'll report back. I haven't got the DVDs as I'm listening via Spotify for now. "The River" is probably my favourite Springsteen album so I'm hoping for some treats with this release.

Bruce Springsteen - Ramrod (live) -

This week I went into the past and listened to some early Dire Straits. It's easy to get a bit blase about them given the proliferation of their later work via commercial FM radio. Dire Straits were a cracking rock and roll band with fantastic guitar work.

Dire Straits - Down To The Waterline (live) -

I came across this song last week and I've been listening to the album it's from for a couple of days now. It's relatively laid back but I like the groove and feel of most of the tracks. Kurt Vile played in a couple of bands that I've got very little knowledge of but I guess I should do some more research. This is a cool track.

Kurt Vile - Pretty Pimpin' -

Before I close this week can I just say that I have been defeated by The Beatles. As you know, we're playing a Beatles show on New Years Eve at Vivaldis (very few tickets left). The other guitarist that was playing pretty much all of the technical stuff pulled out at the last minute a few days ago and I'll admit it, I've been panicking trying to learn songs that, for the moment, are beyond my abilities. Thankfully H has managed to recruit another guitarist to help out and I can't begin to tell you how happy that has made me. You can't fake and improvise The Beatles! 

If you're coming to the show there will be loads of surprises in the setlists I can assure you. Beatles fans will love it. I will too now that some of the pressure is off and I can enjoy myself.

Have a great weekend folks. Rock on!


"I got ninety six tears in my ninety six eyes", Human Fly, The Cramps, 1978.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Song of the Week #381

There's not much good about spending hours and hours on an aeroplane other than the fact you're cut off from email and telephone for a while. I took advantage of flights to and from Perth this week to catch up on some sleep, reading and a couple of films.

"The Dead Lands" is a 2014 film from New Zealand. It's an action film, set before European settlement, about a young Maori boy whose family and tribe are slaughtered. Be warned, some of the violence is fairly gruesome but without being gratuitous. The story is easy to follow and it kept me interested for the whole 108 minutes. The dialog is all in Maori though so be prepared to read the subtitles. If all you know about Maori culture is the All Blacks doing the Haka then this film will give you an insight into where a lot of their moves come from. If you're interested in where things have gone more recently you should seek out the book or film "Once Were Warriors".

I also watched the second film in the Maze Runner series. Quite obviously setting us up for another chapter in the story. If post-apocalyptic sci-fi style is your thing then you won't be disappointed. I wouldn't pay to see this one but it wasn't dreadful.

Last week I took delivery of this next song on a 45rpm single. Remember those? There's something about vinyl and the way it sounds. I could never really quantify it but this one sounded fantastic.

Queensryche - Scarborough Fair -

It was sad recently to hear of the death of Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver singer, Scott Weiland. His ex-wife wrote that she would rather that no-one used his death to glorify the rock and roll lifestyle and all the things that seem to go with it. I'm on her side. Great singer, wasted life.

Velvet Revolver - Slither -

The Mark of Cain have been playing a few shows around the country. Sadly, I'm not able to get to one this time. Who knows if and when they will play again but I hope that they can find it in themselves to record a new album and even make it back here for a show. They are one of our best heavy bands.

The Mark of Cain - Grey 11 -

I've just read that Belinda Carlisle has been "clean" for 10 years. It's hard to believe that she was a drug and alcohol addict when she made classic tracks like "Heaven Is A Place On Earth". I've played in bands for years and when it comes to drugs I'm as squeaky clean as it comes. In the early days of playing gigs there was one time at the ANU there were some dodgy looking characters hanging around as we packed up. It's not unusual for people to want to talk to the band. I know I do when I've been in the crowd, Even if it's just to say thanks, ask about guitar gear or in rare cases request an autograph. Anyway, back to the story. These guys kept hanging around until finally DJ DJ said to me, "Rob, they're trying to sell you drugs...just tell them yes or no!" I politely declined their offer and have never been offered anything again.

Love/Hate - Why Do You Think They Call It Dope? -

This morning DJ Hammertime and I did a lazy 100km ride on some roads that I hadn't ridden on for quite a while. Other than racking up another long ride this one took me past 12,000 km for the year. All things considered I'm pretty happy with that distance. I'll get a few hundred in before the end of 2015 but I can't see myself getting to 13,000 km! I've written before about why I ride so far but just in case you missed all started when my foot was injured and the doctor advised that I shouldn't run again...ever. That was the end of triathlon for me and a tough pill to swallow. Riding gives me time to think, keeping me fit both mentally and physically. I've got a few cycling challenges coming up next year but more about those another day. For now I've got 19 days to ride as far as I can!

The Staples Singers - Respect Yourself -

Right now I'm off to play more guitar. There's plenty of rehearsal needed for the next two shows. It's also very exciting to think that we'll be recording some original songs in 2016. Cover songs are tons of fun but there's something special about a tune that you've had input into writing. But for now...

Foreigner - Juke Box Hero -

I'm sure you all know that Christmas is almost here. For many people it means different things. All I'll say is to echo something I read on Facebook during the week..."If your religion means that you hate other people then you're doing it wrong".

Lukim yu,

"Arms wide open, I stand alone.
I'm no hero, and I'm not made of stone.
Right or wrong, I can hardly tell.
I'm on the wrong side of heaven, and the righteous side of hell." - Wrong Side of Heaven, Five Finger Death Punch, 2014.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Song of the Week #380

It's been a tough week folks. I'm trying to do two jobs whilst my original one is advertised and filled. Please don't think that I am complaining because I'm not. I'm just very tired! So tired that I delayed my long ride until tomorrow (Sunday) and took today off the bike. Serious stuff....ha ha!

Musically I've been working my way through learning all of the Beatles tunes for our NYE show. Tickets are selling very well so if you want to come along then get in contact with Vivaldi's ASAP to avoid disappointment. It's far from being a standard Beatles show and you can expect a great range of not so well known tunes. I was surprised how many of them I actually knew even though they are not the hits.

The Beatles - Two Of Us -

It's great when a band gets back together and sounds new and fresh whilst not deviating too far from their roots. Veruca Salt were around in the 90s and were a lot of fun. This isn't all that new now but it's still worth a listen. 

Veruca Salt - The Museum of Broken Relationships -

During the week we went to the cinema to see "Tanna". It's a new film about two traditional tribe on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu. Bear in mind that this movie has won a swag of awards and has received some excellent reviews. Still, the screening had to be crowdfunded. The story is about the practice of arranged marriages between tribes which occurred until the late 1980s. It's poignant and sad with magnificent cinematography. There are also some hilarious moments. If you do get the chance I couldn't recommend it more highly. Be prepared to read the subtitles as it is all in their traditional language. I assume that there will be a Bislama subtitle release for Vanuatu - there are over 100 local languages throughout the country.

Tanna - trailer and making -

Life in that film was very different to that I experienced on Pentecost but it still made me "homesick". Thankfully we'll be back there in July next year.

I thought a lot about The Wiggles this week as a result of goings on at work. Somehow that train of thought led me to this absolutely excellent version of a Split Enz tune...

Betchadupa / Tim Finn / Eddie Vedder - I See Red -

Australia is a big place and there are plenty of song about our wide, brown land. This tune is about Scotland which is not all that bit in comparison but still has plenty of wild, open, wet spaces. One day I'll see them. Zoe's tales of Scottish weather and thinking about the relative size of Australia, Scotland and Vanuatu brought this tune to the fore...

Big Country - In A Big Country -

I haven't always been a huge You Am I fan. DJ SlimRollins and I saw them back in the 90's at the Livid Festival in Brisbane and to be frank, they were dreadful. However, Tim Rogers has a great guitar sound and really knows how to write a great pop/rock hook. Try this out...

You Am I - Cathy's Clown -

The Megadeth thrash metal juggernaut has been rolling on since 1983 when Dave Mustaine exited Metallica. They have a new album coming out in January and next up is the first track released from it. Stupid band name...not a bad track!

Megadeth - The Threat Is Real -

A little while ago DJ Al-ee-Sun and I watched the film "Beast of No Nation". It's ostensibly about child soldier in West Africa. I found it to be a disturbing movie but one that had a lot to say. My views on war have been made fairly clear previously; it sucks. Having children involved is nothing short of inhumane.

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

Well there you have it folks, another week gone. Keep me in your thoughts on Sunday morning as I hit the highway on my trusty Cervelo for another long ride. It's exactly 5 years since I did Ironman. Time flies!


"Momma says the pistol is the Devil's right hand...", Devil's Right Hand, Steve Earle, live version 2012.