well as the links at the top of the page, we've got..
to book Spectrum for that special function
in touch with us and make a comment or two
us your thoughts on the file-sharing conundrum
helpful links to Spectrum's favourite people
out Bill's Twang and Robbo's Blah on page 3
back-issues of the Bloody Newsletter and Stop Press
the very latest news and pics
remains a month of Zero thinking
intimated in the last edition of the Bloody Newsletter, July has
been declared another month of No Thinking. It was the path of
least resistance really, requiring no effort at all - a perfect
example of No Thinking in fact. The rewarding part of releasing
a CD is the feedback we get, and this No Thinking CD
has been no exception. Apart from the fact that our fans are simply
happy that we've released anything at all after such a long dry-spell,
there's been some genuine surprise at our versions of some well-worn
not-really-very-bluesy standards, on what, afterall, is supposed
to be a blues album.
After decades of pushing our own rather idiosynchratic musical
direction, it's easy to forget that the first-up listener can
often be daunted by the unfamiliarity of what they're hearing.
(A retired fellow musician at our recent in-store in Kyneton said
that he had to 'walk away' from our music when we were playing
at Latrobe Uni in the early '70s, because of its 'dissonance')
They are simply unable to form an opinion as to whether it's worth
So, it's with a some amusement, tinged with the teensiest smidgin
of chagrin, we hear comments like 'I actually like this!'
and 'These guys can play after all!' etc., all because
we're doing something recognisable. Look, I'm the first to admit
I'm not a virtuoso anything, but I like to think I've got an ability
to interpret and arrange, a desire to put things in some kind
of coherent order - well, coherent in my mind, at least.
I once heard a respected conductor (aren't they all?) explaining
about the creative process. 'Anybody can write a song,' he said,
(it took a couple of days to absorb this point alone), 'it's what
you do with it that counts.'
Once I'd got over the initial shock, I found this to be profound,
and I think that's what we do; we do things to songs.
Along the same lines, the Police claimed that, (at some moment
when they actually got along well enough to write together), if
they worked on a song for a certain time and it wasn't happening,
they scrapped it and went on to another song. They weren't at
all precious about 'the song'.
This is going nowhere in particular. Just more No Thinking
aloud. Obviously time to move on to the next project.
PS - The
Pith & Wind this month may seem a little melancholy. I'm happy
to report that my faith in the bitch music has been restored since
though. A friend came over from Adelaide and I suggested we go
to the Rainbow on the Tuesday evening to catch Paul Williamson.
Of course, Paul plays on a Monday night, so we scoured the streets
of Fitzroy on foot, trying to find a bar with some decent music.
We'd all but given up, when we spotted a trombonist silhouetted
in the upstairs window on the corner of Johnston and Brunswick
Sts. We trundled up the stairs to find a jazz trio (drums, bass
and sax) augmented with the trombonist we'd seen from the street.
The bass player turned out to be Jeremy Alsop, (Bill's choice
for No. 1 bass guitarist in the land), and the ensemble played
with wit and panache, in the course of which they made a bitter
old man truly happy.
and roll is dead - again
Over the years there have been many pronouncements to the effect
that rock & roll is dead. These pronouncements are obviously
made by people with enough clout to get their thoughts published
in the first place, but are usually made at that point in their
careers when they can’t think of anything else to get their
names in print.
In some cases this view is sincerely held, but I’ve always
consoled myself that it’s just their opinion, and doesn’t
necessarily reflect the true and objective state of things. I rank
it with the sporadic utterances to the effect that God is dead,
and then it’s only sensational when the Archbishop of Canterbury
expresses the view, (and even then it was only really newsworthy
because he opined that God never existed in the first place).
Now I’m having second thoughts about rock and roll. Nobody’s
going to publish my
|views (apart from myself), but
I feel disillusioned and depressed, and ready to argue the unarguable..
Mind you, my frame of mind could be the cumulative effect of the
events of the weekend. Allow me to recount my adventures.
That well-known musical and intellectual dilettante, Humphrey B.
Flaubert, invited us to TISM’s CD launch on the weekend, and
so Bill and I, being otherwise unoccupied, happily trotted down
to the Hi Fi Bar on Friday night.
We timed it so we’d arrive as TISM hit the stage, thereby
avoiding any problems getting in. The only hitch was that the crowd
was well and truly stacked to the rafters in the main room when
we did finally arrive, so we elected to watch the show from the
Now, this is where you might begin to quarrel with my credentials
as an audient, but I’ll immediately confess that, as a performer
of long-standing, I have a problem adjusting to the role of audient.
You see, I don’t want to participate; I want to observe, I
want to see what the act has to offer, I want to see how the audience
reacts, and I don’t want to become involved in that transaction.
As a consequence, the fact that the upstairs bar at the Hi Fi Bar
is glassed in and has an after-thought audio feed from the sound
system is not a problem for me. OK, so I’m not hearing the
band as is the bulk of the audience, but I’m not being pushed
from pillar to post by happily deranged, booze-swilling TISM fanatics
either, and I’m actually quite glad of that.
So, our vantage point was comfortable enough, but because of our
finely timed arrival, there was no seating available, and Bill and
I were compelled to stand. TISM kept us waiting (of course!) and
didn’t actually take the stage until 11.35-ish. (Interestingly
there seemed to be very little sense of anticipation – the
crowd just chatted amongst themselves while underwater versions
of songs by Jet and other pop acts TISM savagely take the piss out
of, played in the background; meanwhile various roadies and other
TISM coterie casually sauntered in and out of the curtains on various
unspecified missions, also rather attenuating any potential drama).
When the curtains finally opened, a representation of the Australian
Idol set was revealed, replete with a panel of judges. Then the
eight TISMs emerged, looking much as they did on the cover of the
EG, (i.e. rather like Woody Allen sperm), but with enormous
placards on their heads declaring themselves to to be John (x 3),
Paul, George or Ringo.
I’ve not seen a TISM performance before, but I imagine they
were premiering quite a bit of new material. The audience was totally
unfazed; new, old, it was all the same to them. Anyway, I’m
not about to critique the performance. (I would, however, like to
engage in a discussion with Humphrey about the much-vaunted politics
of it all. It seems the thing they most detest in pop music is the
success of mediocrity, and so their own success must be an anathema
to their ideals). read
going down - again!
After an overwhelming response to last months rave re' down-tuning,
I will continue on in the same vein. Try this little exercise: put
on a CD you can play along with, (it doesn't matter which tuning
you are using), and play along. Then change to another down-tuning
of your own choice and play along again, (same CD). Repeat the process
with any tunings you like playing in, and then change the CD as
well. This will prepare you for when you play live, and it won't
matter what key the song is in or which tuning you are using, you
will be comfortable any which way. Most good blues CDs make for
a good training ground. Might I suggest our Spectrum Plays The Blues
CD Spill. Most of the songs have three chords,(or less),
and are a twelve bar, or a variation of same. Once you can play
along with your CDs, that is, without screwing up or inaccurate
pitching, you will be able to sit in with anybody and hold your
own - read
What A Night!!
Hi everybody! Hope you’re all well.Well, the wedding was amazing.
Lisa (my wife) and I had an absolutely fantastic time (lots of fun),
and judging by the feedback we’ve received, so did our guests.
It was truly a magical evening. The music was perfect: the piper,
Bill Ogilvie, and the Volcano team, Mike, Bill and Enza, helped
create a wonderful mood and atmosphere during the ceremony, stirring
up lots of emotion (lots of tingles up the back and tears in the
eyes. The very groovy Stovetop sat it back with a cool
set during drinks and nibbles. These guys are cool!
Mick Pealing with Gary, Jason and Nigel from Rusty Nails,
helped us sing and dance the night away with three sets of great
music, good vibes and big vocals. As for the venue…well Montsalvat
is just gorgeous; what a lovely place. It’s so romantic, mystical
and inspiring. Just perfect! read
Bloody hell! Robbo's
finally got it together! So, where's the Dealer of the Month then?
Just might have to be put on ice for the moment while I try and
find that missing cabana... Incidentally, check out the Live Reviews
link on the Reviews page for an in-depth appraisal of the No Thinking
launch - well, in-depth about the venue, anyway..
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