Issue # 8

As well as the links at the top of the page, we've got..

More Links!

How to book Spectrum for that special function

Get in touch with us and make a comment or two

Give us your thoughts on the file-sharing conundrum

Some helpful links to Spectrum's favourite people

Check out Bill's Twang and Robbo's Blah on page 3

Find back-issues of the Bloody Newsletter and Stop Press

All the very latest news and pics

June declared 'No Thinking' month
To mark the release of the Spectrum Plays The Blues' CD of the same name, June, and maybe even July, have been declared No Thinking months. By No Thinking (we'll call it NT from now on), I don't mean thoughtlessness. Thoughtlessness implies lack of consideration, and we shouldn't encourage that.
No, the sort of NT I'm talking about is more like the 'empty-head' or nirvana, aspired to by traditional meditators - but there again, not the passive lotus-position kind you immediately think of when you think meditation either.
I'm talking about the active kind of NT, the kind that martial artists and musicians aspire to. The incident that inspired the CD's title may be illuminating. We were at Pete Dacy's Secret Sound Studio putting down So Low, a tune that we regularly play live, so we didn't expect that it would take more than the one pass to get it down. As with the Spill CD, I was recording the vocal live in the studio with the rhythm track. As I was singing a line in unison with a guitar lick, I suddenly thought I could improve on it - and completely stuffed it up. We didn't stop though, and the result (complete with expletive) was endearing enough for us to leave it as it was. From then on, the admonishment was -you've guessed it...
So, NT means living in the moment, devoted to the doing of that guitar lick to the exclusion of all peripheral thoughts and issues. I can think of a lot less useful things to aspire to, so why not give it a go?

No Thinking CD available now! See CDs page to get your copy today!

The Real Thing - Bill's Zippo story comes to the small screen
Last month we alluded to a story about Bill's Zippo and how it transpired that the one he owned turned out to be a fake. Bill, and Real Guitars' Brenden Mason, have colluded to create an amusing music/video clip about the real Zippo and the important part it plays in Bill's sad life. Bill's so enthusiastic about the result that he's persuaded me to put it up on the site for your enjoyment. check it out
In the meantime, Bill's Twang has returned. This month Bill passes on some useful info about his other obsession - lap-steel guitars. check it out
And Robbo's Blah makes a triumphant return this month after the disappointment of its totally irresponsible non-appearance last month.

I didn't have my first cup of coffee till I was about twenty years old. It was at the legendary Stagedoor in Christchurch, as bohemian a joint as could be found in that neck of the woods in 1965. As I recall (and I wouldn't necessarily put great store by my recollections) the Stagedoor had not long been taken over from one Des Monaghan (the same Des Monaghan currently presiding over Channel 7's serene slide into Network oblivion) by the family Ryan, late of Liverpool. Des had always seen the venue as a haven for Christchurch's enthusiastic bevy of thespians, (one of whom was my future wife, Helen), who practised being trees just round the corner at the local repertory club. He'd renamed it the Stagedoor (from its original monicker of the Kingbee Kellar) with just that in mind, and encouraged poetry readings and the folk club (the lesser of the musical evils prevalent at the time) in the hope that the
crass, loud mod music, as practised by my band, the Chants, could eventually be dispensed with.
The reality was, as much trouble as we and our loyal band of followers were, without us there was no turnover to speak of, so it was actually Des who capitulated first and sold the business on to the Ryans, who, no doubt inspired by the famous Liverpool example of the Cavern Club, took up the challenge with enthusiasm.
It was about this time that I first succumbed to the mellifluous blandishments of the smell of coffee, (with the exception of freshly baked bread, there can scarcely be a more alluring smell), and had my first hesitant sip. Despite the fact that I was still a white-with-two tea drinker, I took coffee neat i.e. black with nothing. It was one of those filtered coffee arrangements that you see most commonly these days in yer McDonalds McCafés, and I thought it was pretty sohisticated. What did I know? A café society in Christchurch probably existed, (similar to the Australian experience, there had been an influx of crafty continentals in the mid '50s after the Hungarian revolution), but it may as well have been a secret society as far as I was concerned. In fact, the general populace in Christchurch was denied the delights of true espresso coffee for one reason or another until quite recently. (It was only a few years ago I saw many a Christchurch sandwich board emblazoned with the proud boast, WE HAVE PLUNGER COFFEE)..
Anyway, even this emasculated version of the real thing affected my delicate system so radically I could only manage one cup a week. (Remember, in those days I didn't drink, smoke or even use bad language!) Today I can drink one short macchiato a day. A long macchiato, or two shorts, and I'm up all night. (So, I'm still quite delicate, but I swear like a fucking trooper).
With a macchiato (macchiato means 'stained with milk' and refers to the modicum of milk that barely distinguishes it from a short black, which I'm occasionally given by mistake), you have to be satisfied that the basic making of the coffee procedure has been done well. There is no margin for error. If the coffee isn't fresh, or if the product simply hasn't been made well, i.e. with love, then you're in for a rough ride, albeit a mercifully short one.
If I've assessed there's little or no chance of the coffee being wonderful, I'll order a cappuccino, the hot chocolate of coffees, and to hell with it. When I'm at a quality restaurant, I might reasonably expect the coffee to be good, even spectacularly good, but, (and here comes the gripe), it's astonishing how often a fantastic meal is soured with crap coffee.
What is going on? I can't tell you how often I've been scared to death at restaurants when I've caught sight of the cook/s (all right, chefs - but that's another story), young, (bastards!), unshaven, dank hair, rings in all the bits, stud in the tongue (I hate that), wearing the uniform silly checked pants that have rarely seen the laundry, only to be pleasantly surprised to find that the food's not only edible, but really pretty delicious.
I don't care what the coffee maker looks like. As far as I'm concerned, the only qualification is that he or she must be a coffee drinker, and must love making good coffee.
read more
The world of down-tuning
Welcome to Twangworld. This load of Twang is about down-tuning. Basically, there are no rules. You can make up your own tuning and create any open chord you like. A word of warning. Make sure you WRITE IT DOWN. There are a lot of down-tuning books, and you can access the same info off the Net. Some tunings are suitable for playing chords and licks/solos, and some are only for using slide. At the moment, I am using three different tunings. My Yamaha classical nylon string is tuned down to open C (c-g-c-g-c-e) This tuning is great for fretting and slide. My 1938 Sutton Centurion Lap Steel is tuned to open G ( g-b-d-g-b-d). This beautiful little instrument was a gift from our manager Jenny, who spoils us rotten and plays tricks on us. Finally, a 1960 Commodore Lap Steel, which, much to my delight, was made in New Zealand and is one of the funniest looking lap steels I have seen. read more
  I'm getting married in the morning!
Hello everybody ….. I’M BACK and so are the Mighty Pies. YAY!! Back to Back. AT LAST! It’s nice to be a winner again.
Talk about being a winner – I can now officially announce that I’m getting married in June to my long time de facto babe and 2 year fiancé, Lisa. We’ve decided to withhold the actual date, time, and location ‘til after the event because of the fear of paparazzi and media madness, etc……We don’t want helicopters hovering, Ray Martin groveling, or Naomi Robson giving us her opinion. But I promise you’ll get to hear all about it and get to see some shots of our very special day.
We must apologise to some of our friends that didn’t make it on the guest list – we’re very sorry but we had to make some tough decisions due to a limit on guest numbers. P.S. We’ll still accept your very generous gifts though. ONLY JOKING (NOT). read more

L-R Lou, Mario, me, Nick and, well, Nick Matovinovic

Dealer of the month
Back on track with an actual dealer of the month - must be CD release time! I first met Nicky (Nicola) Matovinovic, (the moody looking bloke on the extreme right of the accompanying pic), back in the days of the Heaters - that'd be the '80s. Back then, Nick aspired to be a photographer, and took some damn fine shots of the band as I recall. These days he owns and runs Audiophile, a real audiophile's haunt at 519 Brunswick St, the other side of Alexandra Pde in North Fitzroy. As well as being an audio nut, Nick's a Spectrumophile, so if you're looking for any of our CDs, and you'd like to upgrade your sound system at the same time, see Nick. audiophile website
- click to update the news

back to the top