Monday, 9 December 2013

#30. Dude Fell Down Niagara Falls – The Extreme Sprinklers


Jade McLaren: vocals.
Matt Neal: vocals, guitar, bass, programming.

Lyrics and music by Jade McLaren and Matt Neal.
Written November 9, 2003.
Record at Studio Study-o in Warrnambool on November 9-10 & 21, 2003.
Produced and mixed by Matt Neal.
Additional mixing by Brendan Hoffmann and Matt Neal.



On October 22, 2003, an unemployed 40-year-old Michigan man named Kirk Jones entered the history books by becoming the first person to go over Niagara Falls without a barrel or protection and survive. Despite obviously possessing massive balls of steel, the authorities saw fit to charge him with “performing a banned stunt” and “criminal mischief”. He was fined somewhere between US$2000 and Can$5000, depending on which website you read.

I'm not sure how the incident affected his work as a Ron Jeremy lookalike.

A couple of weeks after this momentous occasion in human idiocy, Jade McLaren came to visit, probably with the intention of writing and recording. We’d written and recorded our first song together (which will be coming up in about nine blogs from now) about five months prior and in the weeks before Kirk Jones made his infamous leap/fall we had written a couple more songs as part of the 21st Century Ox recording camp known as Dion’s Week Of Debauchery. Things were building towards the beginning of The Extreme Sprinklers, although our first gigs as a full band were still about 10 months away.

But at the time of early November, 2003, we were content for The Extreme Sprinklers to be a little recording project in which we could live out our most Ween-like musicaldesires. Dude Fell Down Niagara Falls is a prime example. I seem to recall Jade and I discussing the Kirk Jones incident and me playing the verse as an impromptu joke ditty. We laughed hysterically then put our heads together, wrote a chorus, locked down the verses and about 10 minutes later we had the whole song written (complete with a total inaccurate guess of how much Jones was fined). We adjourned to my spare room, which was dubbed Studio Study-o, to record it.

Here we are in our usual recording get-up.

In what seemed to be our normal routine for recording at the time, we started late at night, putting together about the beats around 11pm. At 1am the following morning, we were still going, laying down the final vocals for the verses. Aside from re-recording a bass track 10 days later, the whole song was finished in just over two hours.

As for Kirk Jones, in the wake of his infamous plunge he was kept in a psych ward for three days. Upon release, he was interviewed by TV stations, met his childhood idol Alice Cooper, and – I shit you not – joined a circus. That didn’t last long, and Jones started making appearances at souvenir booths near the Falls.

So why did that guy fall from the sky and into the water? While some suggested it was a daredevil stunt, it turns out Jones’ crazy feat was actually a drunken suicide attempt. Poor dude.

While this song is obviously stupid (and no, I can't explain why we did the spoken word intro) I am proud of one thing - the fact we found so many words to rhyme with Niagara.

This is my favourite photo of myself and Jade. 
We're at Golden Plains singing our little hearts out to Ween.
Good times.

Lyrics:

Oh ….
Dude fell down Niagara Falls
Dude fell down Niagara Falls
Dude fell down Niagara Falls
And nobody had done it before
Dude fell down Niagara Falls
Dude fell down Niagara Falls
Dude fell down Niagara Falls
Got fined $17,000
Dude fell down Niagara Falls
Dude fell down Niagara Falls
Dude fell down Niagara Falls
And he was one lucky motherfucker

Why did that guy fall from the sky into the water?
Why did that fool fall in the pool that was the Niagara?

Was it Viagra?
Or maybe a jaguar?
Wish I had a camera.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

#29. Drive By Feel – 21st Century Ox


6/8 version

Harry Fahey: drums.
Matt Hewson: sax.
Brendan Hoffmann: vocals.
Matt Neal: acoustic guitar, vocals.
Richard Tankard: keyboards.

Lyrics by Brendan Hoffmann and Matt Neal.
Music by Dion Barker, Harry Fahey, Matt Hewson, Brendan Hoffmann and Matt Neal.
Written mid-2001.
Recorded at Motherlode Studios, 2002.
Produced and mixed by Tony Peel and Harry Fahey.



4/4 version

Dion Barker: bass.
Harry Fahey: drums.
Matt Hewson: sax.
Brendan Hoffmann: vocals, guitar.
Matt Neal: guitar, vocals.

Recorded at Dave Wilson’s place, 2003.
Produced and mixed by Dave Wilson.


Yep, two versions of the same song. The big difference is the time signatures. For those non-musicians among us, it means the first track is in 6/8 aka waltz time. So it goes 1-2-3, 1-2-3, step-and-turn, step-and-turn. The second version is in 4/4 - it's a four-on-the-floor, regular-time rocker, just like most other songs.

One of the many things I learnt playing in 21st Century Ox was time signatures. Playing in that band was a great learning experience. When Brendan Hoffmann, Dion Barker, Harry Fahey and I started the band in early 2000, I’d only been playing the guitar for about five years and all of that was self-taught. My knowledge of musical theory was non-existent (and still is pretty much), I had no idea how to solo, and I was writing songs with the gleefully reckless and idiotic abandon of someone who has no idea what the rules are or how to break them properly.

Just look at all that idiotic abandon. That's Hoffa on the left, Harry at the front, 
Dion on the right, and I'm the other guy.

Dion was in the same boat – Hoffa and I had taught him the basics of bass-playing, just so we could start a band together. But thankfully for Dion and myself, we had Hoffa and Harry, who taught us so much about music. Both Hoffa and Harry had a knowledge of musical theory, and while they never really set out to educate us, Dion and I gleaned a lot from them over the four years the band was together, and even more when Matt Hewson joined the band on sax in 2002.

One of the things I was keen to learn about was time signatures. I was blown away by any song that wasn’t in standard 4/4, such as Nine Inch Nails’ March Of The Pigs, Primus’ Duchess & The Proverbial Mind Spread, and anything by Tool. To be able to play in something other than 4/4 seemed like the epitome of technical musicianship to me at that stage.

I fucking love this song:


Eventually I’d start writing songs in irregular time signatures, such as The Canadian Song, but before that we had Drive By Feel, which we could pull out in 4/4 or 6/8 depending on the occasion. I was quite stoked at the time about our ability to do this one song in two different time signatures, even though it was a pretty simple thing to do.

The song began in 6/8 – Harry recalls playing the waltz version first, often acoustically at open mic nights at The Cellar (which was below The Criterion Hotel for you young’uns out there).

Is that a blurry photo of a blurry photo of 21st Century Ox playing an acoustic gig at The Cellar?
Wow, this blog is quality!

I recall writing the whole song and showing it to Hoffa, who suggested the verses I’d written were a bit emo, so we scrapped the verse lyric and melody and came up with new ones, keeping the rest of the song structure and words. Hoffa was mostly responsible for that gorgeous verse melody.

“I like the song,” Hoffa said recently. “It was one of our first collaborations when we were writing songs together at my house at Janlor Drive.”

Whereas a lot of Ox songs were written by either myself or Hoffa, this one is a mixture between the two, with Hoffa coming up with a wonderful wandering verse melody and the pair of us combining our five and half years of French classes in an attempt to be clever in the first verse (with vague translations for the second verse). Hoffa and I seem to remember taking the lyrics to either our former French teacher Mr Franzoni or to another French student to get them checked, but we may be wrong about that, and as a result, the French might be pretty bad.

This is the first pic that came up when I Google Image searched "bad French".

Either way, at some point we figured out a rockin’ 4/4 version, and on any given night we’d metaphorically flip a coin as to which version we’d play.

The 6/8 version on offer here was intended for the unfinished second album The Last Sane Man On Earth. The highlight is the wonderful keys from Richard Tankard (go and buy his album). We pretty much played the song for him once and then let him cut loose. It might have been better to organise things a bit, but what Tank plays is awesome, and I think the free-flowing, unarranged quality of it works.

Strangely, there is no bass on this recording, nor is Hoffa playing guitar on it.

Here they are, not recording their instruments in Motherlode Studios.

Dion explains:
“This was one of my favourites. If I do recall (and I do!), I was absent on the day that you recorded it and decided it didn't need bass. Ouch! Leaving the bass out wasn't intentional ... or at least that's what you guys told me! It was just that you'd started recording it without me and by the time you'd done all the other tracks, you'd all decided it didn't need bass.

“I do recall that our intention was to try to create a different sound for some of the tracks on the album, and this was the result for Drive By Feel. Although I prefer the rockier (4/4) version, I still think the (6/8) recording came out really well and again demonstrates our ability to rework the songs to suit a different feel or mood. Good work, team!”

So it was just Harry on the drums, me on the acoustic, and Tank doing whatever he wanted on the keys. As for the vocals, this is one of my favourite vocal performances from Hoffa – there’s something majestic, controlled and warm about his singing.


“I always liked opera,” Hoffa said about his vocals on Drive By Feel, agreeing that Jeff Buckley was also a likely influence. We were certainly all big Buckley fans – I’m wearing a Jeff Buckley t-shirt in the booklet for our first album What Am I Going To Do With All These Portaloos?.

Buckley's song Lover, You Should Have Come Over is a likely influence on this track, now that I think back on it, but the bigger influence was probably Coldplay’s Shiver. I loved that song when it first came out (and still do). If you metaphorically mashed up the two versions of Drive By Feel, it would sound a little bit like Shiver.


In a final note, I’d like to talk about the final notes. The 4/4 version features Hewy and I having a guitar/sax wrestle over the melody lines, but Hewy was strangely absent from the 6/8 studio version … until the last few seconds. That little sax bit right at the end started as a joke – Hewy played it one time and we laughed and loved it, referring to it as “The Neighbours Note” because the little melody sounded like the tag at the end of a TV soap theme song.

Lastly, the 4/4 version was recorded at Dave Wilson's rehearsal space, which we jammed at weekly. One week, probably not that long after Hewy joining the band, he let the tape run while we were practicing. The results ... err ... speak for themselves.

Lyrics:

Je ne connais pas cette personne
Je rigole comme un garçon
Je pense que je suis près de la fin

And I get lost sometimes
And I need my head kicked in line
The road map is just ashes
And I'm having to drive by feel

I don't know this person
And I do laugh like a little boy
Sometimes I think I think that I'm close to the end

Drive by feel (oh my love)


Sunday, 17 November 2013

#28. Doin’ Whatever – The Extreme Sprinklers


Harry Fahey: drums.
Matt Hewson: bass, backing vocals.
Jade McLaren: vocals, whistling.
Matt Neal: guitar, backing vocals.

Lyrics by Jade McLaren and Matt Neal
Music by Harry Fahey, Matt Hewson, Jade McLaren and Matt Neal.
Written late February, 2006.
Recorded at The Shed, Warrnambool in April, 2006.
Produced, engineered and mixed by Harry Fahey.


Remember the War on Terror? That went well, didn’t it? We won and Terror was sent crying and pissing its pants all the way back to its mother, right?

Doin’ Whatever was our War on Terror song. I’m not sure whether Extreme Sprinklers singer Jade McLaren and I specifically set out to write a Ween-esque anthem about the invasions of privacy and threats on free speech that seemed to go hand-in-hand with George W Bush and John Howard’s battle, but that’s what we ended up with.


Jade (left) and me discussing the War on Terror over a quiet ale or two.

We were writing a lot at this time and trying out a lot of different ideas, exploring different styles, and attempting to write about different themes. Why not merge a here-and-now message with a singalong ballad and a funny-cos-they-swore chorus? Why not indeed. This track, I seem to recall, was a very fast, spur of the moment kind of thing that mashed those ideas together, most likely built from the chorus up, and it was one of the fastest songs we’ve ever written.

It shows.

But goddamn Doin’ Whatever was fun was to play, as the above recording hopefully demonstrates. The harmonies from me and bassist Matt Hewson are bung, Jade’s vocals start muffled and end up peaking out, and I hit more than a few “jazz” notes in the solo, but the over-riding thing that strikes me about this recording is we’re having fun, goshdarnit, George Bush and John Howard be damned! The chorus line of the song became something of an ethos for how to play it.

Stencil by Jade McLaren.

Musically, the verses owe a debt to Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here, the stop-start solo section is a rip-off of a similar stop-start solo section in Led Zeppelin’s Whole Lotta Love, and the chorus is going for a We Are The World/Heal The World, lighters-in-the-air vibe. And the whole thing smells like Ween. I’m happy to admit that I was inspired by those songs/bands – the trick is putting some of their cool elements together in different and refreshing ways.

Here's what it sounds like when you mix Pink Floyd and Ween together, but in a much more awesome way (songs starts about 1.13, but play it all the way through for the full trip):


This is probably as good a point as any in this blog to partially explain my ethos of writing music. It goes like this:


  • Every chord progression has been done.
  • Every rhythm has been played.
  • Every melody is just combinations of other melodies that have gone before.
  • If you think some progression/melody/rhythm you’ve written sounds original, you haven’t listened to enough music.
  • As a result of these four previous points, all that’s left to do is to rearrange the pieces of the past in new and exciting combinations.
  • The trick is trying to make all the old pieces sound new and original – classic like it’s familiar, but different enough that it’s exciting and fresh.
This last "trick" is a hard thing to do. And overall, the approach may sound too clinical or negative but it’s a way of thinking that's helped me get out of many a writer’s block where I thought everything I was doing sounded like everything else.

But back to the song. Most bands (aside from Ween) probably wouldn’t try to get away with a chorus that repeats “I’m doin’ whatever the fuck I want” and rather than dousing it in punk attitude, tries to make it a singalong pop ballad. The Extreme Sprinklers did though. We were rebels without a clue, but at least most other bands weren’t trying what we were trying. It felt like we were being different and therefore interesting. It probably put some people off, but whatever. Better to get any reaction than no reaction, as they say in the classics.

Although we did still take lame promo photos like every other band.

As mentioned, this recording – made in our unimaginatively named, cavernous rehearsal space The Shed – sounds like we’re enjoying ourselves. Drummer Harry Fahey pulls out some cool fills and tricks towards the end, the way he works with Hewy is freakily good, Jade lets it rip for all it’s worth (and so does Hewy at the end), and I’m giving that solo everything I’ve got, jazz notes and all.

Here's Harry: 

"I don't remember being part of writing this tune - I'm pretty sure I just lay my shit over the top like meatballs over spaghetti. (But I) loved playing this track and just playing whatever the fill I wanted."

Harry, playing whatever the fill he wanted, in The Shed.

Nice gag, Harry. Here's Jade:

"It was always fun to play. My fondest memory of this song was of it being the one at the end of the gig or the encore and I'd be drunk as by then and basically doing whatever I wanted. Which sometimes included climbing on the speakers and singing the chorus."

And last but not least - Hewy:

"It was definitely a chance to indulge in some straight-up rock anthem fun. I didn't sing those chorus harmonies perfectly all the time, but the subject matter allowed for that. It was one of the most fun Extremes/Aces tunes to play."

The Extreme Sprinklers drinking and smoking inside The Criterion Hotel.
Does this photo make anyone else feel old?

The recording is from a series of three rehearsals we recorded between March and May, 2006, that were planned to be cherry-picked to make an EP or two (one came out with a wolf on the cover that we only printed about 30 or 40 of). We were really hitting our stride at this point – we had so many songs, across so many genres, and Jade and I were coming up with new ones almost weekly. Good times.

However, within a matter of months of those recordings, Harry parted ways with the band, ending an era – Harry and I had been playing in bands for six years together at that point. I was sad to see him quit the band because I felt we’d developed that cool sixth sense you sometimes get with other players where occasionally you just know what they’re going to do next and you can lock in with them on the spur of a semi-quaver. It’s a wonderful thing to experience and Harry is one of the few players I’ve shared it with.


So Harry left, and it was a downer, but on the upside, Jarrod Hawker joined the band, we re-branded ourselves as The 80 Aces, and carried on, onwards and upwards. One door closes, you climb out a window.

But back to the song: Doin’ Whatever has one of my favourite lines out of any of the thousands of lines Jade and I have written together: “If I want I’ll burn the flag … just because it’s Christmas”. It seemed like the most hilariously rebellious way of doing whatever the fuck you wanted.

Lyrics:

Keep your hands out of my bag
Keep your nose out of my business
‘Cos if I want I’ll burn the flag
Just because it’s Christmas

I’m doin’ whatever the fuck I want

I can see them coming up the drive
Even though I didn’t hurt anyone
Would you rather we were a hive
To avoid you dropping megatons?



Saturday, 9 November 2013

#27. Dog Poo Summer – The Extreme Sprinklers


Harry Fahey: drums.
Brendan Hoffmann: keys.
Matt Neal: acoustic guitar, bass, keys.

Music by Matt Neal, Jade McLaren and Brendan Hoffmann.
Written on October 4, 2003.
Recorded at the Barker Residence, Warrnambool on October 4, 2003.
Produced, engineered and mixed by Harry Fahey and Matt Neal.



The week of recording known as Dion’s Week Of Debauchery proved to be a strangely momentous time for two bands – one on the way out and the other about to begin. Of course, none of us who took part in that fateful week in early 2004 (at least we think that’s when it took place) realised it at the time, probably because we too busy drinking, shooting hoops, and playing soccer on the Playstation.


We were supposed to be recording and making music. Dion’s folks were away for the week so 21st Century Ox had taken over their house and turned it into a studio/rehearsal space with the aim of putting together additional tracks that would go on our ill-fated unfinished second album The Last Sane Man On Earth. Some recording was done – we demoed about a dozen tunes, jammed on a couple more, and put together about three proper recordings. But it seemed like Ox wasn’t quite functioning, or we were more keen to party than work.

Either way, Ox was on the way out, just as we were hitting our creative peak. And on the rise was The Extreme Sprinklers.

We'd already started working on our "rockin' out" poses. PIC: Dylan Buzolich.

I had invited Jade McLaren down from Melbourne for Dion’s Week Of Debauchery. We’d become friends while doing a writing course together at TAFE in ’99-’00 and in the months leading up to Dion’s Week Of Debauchery we’d written a few songs together. The idea was that during the downtime between working on 21st Century Ox stuff, Jade and I could write more music. These were the beginnings of The Extreme Sprinklers, which would some day morph into The 80 Aces.

There are only three (I think) Extreme Sprinklers recordings that came out of that week of recording, and Dog Poo Summer is the least interesting of them (sorry). It’s kind of a crossover between Ox and the ES – all the music is performed by Ox members, but it was intended to be something Jade and I wrote lyrics for so Jade could sing it.

Like this, but with more restraint.

Ox guitarist Brendan Hoffmann, Jade and myself jammed on this with keyboards and acoustic guitars, got Harry to lay down a beat, we chucked the bass, keys and acoustic on it, and then… nothing.

Jade and I discussed lyrics and it was my bright idea to turn this wonderfully upbeat and happy piece of music into a song about dog shit. I found something incredibly hilarious about the idea of such a pretty piece of music being about something so repellent. We actually wrote some words around this dog shit theme, with a peppy little melody and all.

Later on, Jade told me it was a stupid idea to write a song about dog shit. He was dead right. We vowed to write a new set of lyrics. We didn’t. There was some talk of putting it on a summer-themed EP Jade and I had planned to do, and writing some summery lyrics for it, but that didn’t happen either.

"Doc, dog shit isn't as funny as you think it is."

“I reckon we tried to write words for it several times but always failed,” Jade recalls.
“We should have turned it into the theme for a fictional children's television show!”

Jade’s absolutely right - that’s exactly what it sounds like.


***

Speaking of theme songs, here’s a bonus track for you to make up for my recent laziness. This tune is one Jade and I threw together for a podcast we never finished that was intended to coincide with the final columns of The Doctor & The Colonel column in The Standard. We turned the last few columns into a radio play, recorded the voices, but never found time to edit it together. The theme song was pretty cool though:



Jade McLaren: vocals.
Matt Neal: bass, guitar, programming, backing vocals.

Music and lyrics by Jade McLaren and Matt Neal.
Written and recorded September, 2011.
Recorded at the Hai Bin, Warrnambool.
Produced and mixed by Matt Neal.

That pickscrape is a straight rip-off of the theme song for Buffy The Vampire Slayer. My apologies to Nerfherder. And that may be Kyle McLaren from The 80 Aces on bass guitar, I can’t remember.


Lyrics:

Protecting from the Silver Ball,
Watching over Warrnambool.
The Colonel’s crazy and he likes to fight,
The Doctor is the other guy.

It’s the Doctor and Colonel Show!

Monday, 21 October 2013

#26. Do Unto Others – 21st Century Ox


Dion Barker: bass.
Harry Fahey: drums.
Matt Hewson: sax.
Brendan Hoffmann: guitar.
Matt Neal: vocals, guitar.

Lyrics by Matt Neal.
Music by Dion Barker, Harry Fahey, Matt Hewson, Brendan Hoffmann and Matt Neal.
Written early 2000.
Recorded at two house parties in Melbourne in June and November, 2002.
Music produced, engineered and mixed by Dave Wilson.
Video filmed, produced and edited by John Turner.



Look at those handsome young fellas go! This is 11 years ago, and we are playing at two different parties in Melbourne for some good friends of 21st Century Ox’s legendary sound guy Dave Wilson, with the footage spliced together by the talented John Turner. Usually this song is not played at speeds approaching 1000bpm, but we were full of vodka-induced energy on the nights of these performances.

Here’s a version from Dave’s rehearsal space (recorded and mixed by Dave – what a guy!), which features us playing at a slightly more respectable pace:


Do Unto Others was one of my favourite songs to play in 21st Century Ox. It was in almost every setlist. I used to love introducing it by saying, “This song is about the hypocrisy within religion”, and then launching into the opening riff.

At the time, I thought I was being so clever, so political, so deep, so controversial. Now I look back and think ... well ... to be honest I don’t know what to think. Is it too try-hard? Naïve? Derivative? Laughable? I really have no idea. But back then, I thought I was approaching “serious songwriter” territory. Now, I cringe a bit at the preachiness, but at least the words read okay on paper, and the sentiment remains worthwhile.


For all its atheistic simplicity, it was even simpler musically. I later realised that opening guitar riff I play is pretty much the riff to Silverchair’s Israel Son sped up. It's fair to say there was probably a lyrical influence too. There’s a bit of dynamic, but it’s essentially a one-riff song (and that riff is “generic angsty riff in dropped D tuning”).


What makes Do Unto Others cool from my perspective is fellow guitarist Brendan Hoffmann’s awesome grunge-funk riff, Matt Hewson’s crazy sax lines, and the solid rhythm section of drummer Harry Fahey and bassist Dion Barker. Meanwhile, I was out front, pontificating.

Like I said, I don’t know how I feel about this song now. It’s so angsty. It’s obviously me trying to turn 21st Century Ox into Rage Against The Machine, except it kind of turned out like Limp Celery Against The Machine.

Having said that, part of me is proud that I at least tried to write this kind of song. It was fun to play and a few people have told me over the years that this is their favourite Ox song.


On a side note, I think this song is part of the reason 21st Century Ox never released our second album. Knowing that people seemed to like the song, I seem to recall we had planned to record a studio version because the album wouldn’t have been complete without it, but we never got around to it because a) we ran out of money, b) we ran out of time in Motherlode Studios, c) when we set up to record at Dion’s house we wasted too much time getting wasted, and then d) the band broke up. Oops.


Lyrics:

"This is the book," he points at the people saying, "and you’re the voice that screams against the things I’m praying.
"Slay all you heathens, slay all you infidels, and send you to your pagan hell."
He drops the book, it flutters open to a page; "do unto others", and all that other godly rage.
He says, "You will believe or you will die".

Watch what you hate.

There is a man, who says he hates all gays. Says it’s against god’s so godly ways.
Yet every night, he goes to watch a video – turns out to be a lesbian porno.
It could be your son; it could be your friend or daughter. It’s someone that you knew and now you hate them just because (their gay)?

Watch what you hate.


Thursday, 10 October 2013

#25. Do The Business – The Extreme Sprinklers


Harry Fahey: drums.
Matt Hewson: bass.
Jade McLaren: vocals.
Matt Neal: guitar.

Lyrics by Jade McLaren.
Music by Harry Fahey, Matt Hewson, Jade McLaren and Matt Neal.
Written 2005.
Recorded at Motherlode Studio, Warrnambool on February 24, 2006.
Engineered by Tony Peel.
Produced and mixed by Gus Franklin.



The Extreme Sprinklers (and The 80 Aces after that) loved playing poker. After every gig, we’d play poker. After rehearsal sometimes, we’d play poker. On nights when we weren’t playing gigs or rehearsing, we’d play poker. Basically, we played a fuckload of poker.

So it was inevitable we’d write a song about playing poker. I think this is the only one (I’ll stand corrected) and I’m pretty sure the lyrics come entirely from singer Jade McLaren’s pen. In fact, Jade reckons it’s about playing poker against our bass player Matt Hewson in particular. Those two used to play head-to-head a lot. It was serious.

As you can see.

To be honest, I don’t remember much about putting this together. Neither does drummer Harry Fahey. Jade must have come up with the melodies and words, and then me or Harry or Hewy must have come up with the chords. I don’t remember much else. It’s possible I wasn’t trying too hard. The chords certainly aren’t that difficult.

“I reckon this is one of those happy jams that fell into place,” Harry said. “I don’t remember working hard on co-ordinating players, just everyone doin’ shit that worked.”
  
Harry: doin' shit that works. 

The intro in this version thankfully only goes for about 10 seconds, but I have a version where it goes for over a minute. It used to be a spot where I could cut loose live and just improvise stuff, which was cool for me, less so for everyone else.

This version was recorded on a warm February day when we convinced Gus Franklin to come back to Warrnambool and oversee a demoing session at Motherlode Studio with Tony Peel. This was the first and the only take we did of Do The Business, and it was the first of 10 songs we did that day. I don’t exactly know why we got Gus down for that session – the recordings of that day were never released and we didn’t spend too much time on each song, just running through two or three takes of everything (except Do The Business for some reason – possibly because we enjoyed playing it and were on).

Here’s Jade:
“It was always so much fun to play because of the novelty of the megaphone. I think it's an OK song but I think we've done … better in other songs.

Here’s Harry:
“I really like the space in the verses, great track to chuck in a few tricks and frills on hats and stuff.”

Hewy was unavailable for comment.


I remember the recording day being productive (which was novel for us) and it was great working with Gus again, who I hadn’t made music with since the summer of ’98-’99 when we played six or seven gigs together in a band called Ted Dancin’. That band also featured Brendan Hoffmann of 21st Century Ox on guitar and Julian Gilchrist (who occasionally plays sax with Cut Copy) on bass. We were a fun but short-lived band and Gus and I both have fond (blurry) memories of it, so it was nice to work together again, seven years on. We think. Neither of us remembers much of this session but it seemed to go well, I think. Maybe.

Do The Business was written in late 2005 – I have no evidence of that but it’s a best guess. A few months after it was written, this song came out:


That’s Big Hair Revolution by The Exploders, who were a fucking rad band from Lake Bolac. The main dude, TJ Allender, it's a tops bloke. I love that song and their whole self-titled debut album. And in case you missed it (or didn’t bother listening), the verse riff of that song and Do The Business are reasonably similar, even in the same key. It might seem strange that two bands that played a few shows together and lived only an hour away from each other could come up with a similar riff without copying each other, but that’s what happened. I didn’t steal their riff and they didn’t steal ours. It’s just one of those things. I’m pretty sure there’s an older riff we’re both riffing on, although I’m not sure what it is. Weird.

Their song’s better anyway.

Lyrics:

You’ve lost your chips again my friend
You have to buy back in
I’ve got an ace up my sleeve
You don’t got the cards to win

That’s just the way I do business,
That’s just the … the way

You cannot hide behind your shell
Rub your neck; do tell
You cannot bluff to save yourself
I know you too well

That’s just the way I do business,
That’s just the … the way

I’ll have it all,
my cards will fall,
your chance is small,
I’ll have it all,
you cannot stall,
my cards will fall,
you raise, I call … you won it all!

That’s not the way I do business
That’s not the … the way


Tuesday, 24 September 2013

#24. Disco In Borneo – The Extreme Sprinklers


Jade McLaren: vocals, tambourine.
Matt Neal: bass, guitar, programming.

Music & lyrics by Jade McLaren & Matt Neal.
Written late 2003.
Recorded at Burndog Studios and Studio Study-o, Warrnambool on November 24-25 and December 20 & 30, 2003, and January 9-12, 2004.
Produced and mixed by Matt Neal, probably with assistance from Harry Fahey.


When Jade said Bling Bling was his second most embarrassing recording, it begged the question of what was the most embarrassing. Well, here it is.

"I actually can't bring myself to listen to it all the way through," Jade said.

"The singing is out of tune and the lyrics are pretty terrible."

I think Jade actually does a pretty solid job. Singing like Michael Jackson is hard, and while this is pieced together from 11 vocal takes (woos included), there are no effects or compressors or anything fancy over Jade’s vocals and I think he holds his own mostly. I could have used some effects, but it seemed to take away from the MJ-ness of it.

"Woo!"

So, yeah, if you hadn’t figured it, this is our fake Michael Jackson song. Back in the early days of writing together, Jade and I would often set ourselves challenges, like ‘Let’s write a reggae song that’s anti-marijuana’ or ‘Let’s write a hip-hop song about lappers’. This one came about from Jade’s desire to write a song that sounded like The King Of Pop himself, Michael Jackson.

Jade could sing a rough approximation of MJ’s style, but I had the really hard part – I had to figure out how to summarise MJ’s sonic approach (particularly the Quincy Jones era) in a lo-fi setting.

In the end I went minimal. I figured out the chords to Jade’s melodies, we wrote the words together, and then I set about recreating The MJ Sound, firstly by listening to as much MJ as I could.

For those of you playing along at home.

The obvious touchstone was Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough. The spoken intro, the synth-string lines, the guitars, the sparse bass, the cowbell, the wooos – I listened to that a lot when trying to figure out what key components we could use in making Disco In Borneo. To a lesser degree, Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’ and Rock With You were also useful, confirming the elements that seemed to be crucial to The MJ Sound.


As for the words, they are reasonably daft, but my favourite line is “my feet try to flee from your something”. We cheated there - see what we did? It’s a trick we’ve used a couple of times since - "something" can be an incredibly effective and strangely evocative word when used appropriately (and you can't think of anything better).

I should point out we don’t know anything about Borneo other than it being part of Indonesia and having jungle. I doubt there are many discos in Borneo, although I’ll stand corrected.


But while we were trying to create an homage to one of music's greatest singers, for both of us it was also about creating an homage to this album:


This is the record that features Liam Lynch’s one hit United States Of Whatever, but there are also a heap of “fake songs” on Fake Songs (such as Fake David Bowie Song, Fake Pixies Song, and Fake Depeche Mode Song) that we found really clever and intriguing. Doing Disco In Borneo just made us impressed by them even more 'cos we could see how hard they were to do.

"We were vastly impressed with what Liam Lynch and done with his faux songs of various artists and I think we wanted to challenge ourselves and see if we could do it," Jade said.

"Some of the production stuff works and gets the MJ flavour across," Jade said, adding that the chorus was his favourite part of the song.

"But I'm embarrassed with how amateur it sounds," he concluded.


In the end, Disco In Borneo is a valiant, jokey failure, I guess. No one would ever mistake it for a legit Michael Jackson song but you can see what we were trying to do and I think it's kinda funny and kinda cool. But is it a good song? No. Maybe it was more of a good experiment and a fun challenge.

Much like this photo.

Lyrics:

Girl, I knew it was you from the moment I walked in. So why don't come over here? Yeah.

Girl, I see your tiger eyes
as you prowl around the room
and, girl, you've got me hypnotized
and I know you know it too.

When I see you look at me
well, I feel that I can't breathe
and my feet try to flee from your something.
When the jungle closes in
and I know that I can't win
and you've got me in a spin
and I'm spinning in the wind.

Disco in Borneo
You got me burning
Like an inferno

Girl, I am so surprised
by the power in your gaze
and girl you've got me mesmerised
and your eyes are blaze.

With the fire in your soul
and I'm under your control
Indonesian centrefold in a tight black dress.
Girl, we're dancing so fine
and our bodies start to shine
like we've had too much wine.
Is it your place or mine?

Friday, 6 September 2013

#23. Dion’s Theme – 21st Century Ox


Matt Neal – acoustic guitar.
Yawning by Dion Barker, Harry Fahey, Brendan Hoffmann, Matt Neal and Tony Peel.

Music by Matt Neal.
Written 2000.
Recorded at Motherlode Studios, Warrnambool, 2000.
Produced and mixed by Tony Peel.


I wasn’t sure how this instrumental acoustic tune ended up on the debut 21st Century Ox album What Am I Going To Do With All These Portaloos? so I asked my former bandmates. Seeing as how I wrote Dion’s Theme by myself and am the only person playing on it, I was worried I’d made the decision that it had to go on the album and that was that.

Here’s Ox bassist Dion Barker:

“I think it was a group decision to put it on the album... after (Matt) insisted on it! No, I'm sure it wouldn't have made an appearance without a full consensus. I do think I recall us making a conscious decision to leave it as it was - just the guitar (and no overdubs). It made for a sweet little interval in the middle of the chaos that was ...Portaloos.”

I'm still not sure what we did with all those portaloos.

My other question was whether the yawns – which were recorded to try to make the album interactive, ie. induce contagious yawning every time you listened to it – were placed at the end of Dion’s Theme in particular because it was perhaps a slightly boring track. Were we taking the piss out of the song? Or was it just me thinking that?

Dion again:

“I never thought of (the yawns) as taking the piss out of anything other than ourselves. I thought we'd decided to put the yawning track (on the album) and it just so happened to end up at the end of that song! It was a good fit, but not intentional nor reflective of Dion's Theme.”


Ox drummer Harry Fahey agrees:

“I’m with (Dion). The yawns were a separate entity that just got lumped in where they did. Great that Peely got in on the yawn action too!”

(One of those yawns is producer Tony Peel, getting bored in the control room next door.)

So what’s the story behind this poor man’s Blackbird, which added to the eclectic nature of ...Portaloos?

It's got the same first three chords.

It’s called Dion’s Theme because it was written on Dion’s guitar. In the summer of ’99-’00, I spent a lot of time hanging out at Dion’s place because we lived close to each other at the time. Unfortunately, Dion's guitar was rubbish. There was something wrong with the intonation, particularly on the G-string, so I decided to write a piece of music that wouldn’t sound bad on Dion’s guitar, meaning the G-string is left open for the whole song.

Insert finger/G-string joke here. 

It's a rather lengthy lull on ...Portaloos but it makes the breadth of material on the album even wider, which must have been what we were trying to do.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

#22. Demoniac - The 80 Aces

Jarrod Hawker – drums
Jade McLaren – vocals
Kyle McLaren – bass, vocals
Matt Neal – guitar, vocals

Lyrics by Jade McLaren & Matt Neal.
Music by Jarrod Hawker, Matt Hewson, Jade McLaren & Matt Neal.
Written August, 2008.
Recorded at Motherlode Studios, Warrnambool, May 28, 2011.
Produced and mixed by Tony Peel.



Sorry about the delay between blogs, but The 80 Aces have been up to their ear-holes in recording an album, so that's been taking up my spare time over the last few weeks.

It’s fitting then that the next song in Doc’s Anthology is Demoniac. It came so close to making the recording list for this album (and our previous release, the Dollars EP for that matter). In fact, when we found ourselves ditching a song from recording this album on day three, Demoniac very nearly stepped up and took the last spot on the record. We even ran through it once with the tape rolling, just to see where it was at.

But for some reason, Demoniac just never quite worked. Sometimes a song won’t work, and you’re not sure why, or you can see what’s wrong with the song, but you don’t know how to fix it. One of those things (I'm not sure which) is the case with Demoniac. This recording isn’t the best, but the basic ideas are there. And those basic ideas don’t quite gel. Or something. That guitar line in the second verse is part of the problem – my bad. But there was something beyond that which irked some of the members. To be honest, I’m still not sure what that was.

(left to right) Jarrod Hawker, producer Gus Franklin, and Kyle McLaren,
at Motherlode Studios, probably trying to figure out what's wrong with Demoniac 
during the sessions for the upcoming album.

Here’s Aces bassist Kyle McLaren:

“I don’t know whether it was the tuning or the playing of the guitar along with the vocal melody in the second verse but it sounded soooo wrong. So wrong in fact that a running joke has been made of the song which consists of hitting random notes whilst trying to sing the melody over the top.

“However the chorus is one of our best with the three-part harmony; the notes in there are very generous … and I never sing the same thing twice yet it somehow sounds right. Even when we tried and tried to do something different to this song it clung on to all the things wrong about it which I think was unfortunate because out of all our 'b-side songs' this had the most potential.”

Here's Kyle during the 2011 demo session that yielded this recording of Demoniac.
PIC: Dannii Hale.

Here’s 80 Aces drummer Jarrod Hawker’s summation of the song:

“Great chorus, shit verse. That is all.”

Thanks for that, Hawk.

Trying to pin down what made the verse "shit" proved difficult. At some point, we attempted to play it like this instead, which improved the verses but made the chorus "shit", so it got us nowhere (apologies for the recording quality):



I had the bare bones of this song together – all the chords and the chorus melody – when 80 Aces singer Jade McLaren came around one day to do some songwriting. His first key contribution was to change the rhythm in the verse. Originally I was playing a pretty straight arpeggio that made it sound like a direct Muse rip-off (think the intros to New Born or Sunburn) – Jade suggested giving it that lazy groove. It sounded a million times better and less derivative. I’m not sure that we ever really nailed that groove (although we got closer when I stopped that stupid guitar line in the second verse).


Jade’s second contribution was the idea of using songwriting as a metaphor for communication in a relationship, which was a nice idea, but I worried it would just end up sounding like a song about songwriting (which is very very hard to do well and in most cases something to be left alone). I’m not sure if the metaphor got through – I’m pretty sure most people would just think it’s about songwriting.

His third excellent contribution was the catch in the middle eight. Love that.

Here’s Jade’s opinion:

“I'm not really a fan of this song anymore. The chorus is all right but the rest of it just sucks.”

Jade and I singing at Motherlode. PIC: Dannii Hale.

I always felt like this song would work, but I don’t know why it didn’t. The chords are cool, the melodies are good, and there are a couple of lines I’m particularly proud of, such as the opening line – “Count me in, I’ll start this song”. I thought that was the cleverest intro I’d ever come up with.

I also like the line “melodies for mellow days” and the obligatory XTC reference in the middle eight: “Are you receiving me?” (yep, yet another XTC reference). I suggested Are You Receiving Me? as a title, but Jade was adverse to using the name of a pre-existing (awesome) XTC song. We argued for a while about a possible title but got nowhere, so instead we opened up a dictionary and randomly pointed to a word. That word was Demoniac, which has nothing to do with the song, and the title stuck.


Here’s Jade with the final word:

“I always thought it was funny that the song is about writing music and paying attention to life around you but the title of the song was a random word from out of the dictionary.”

On a weird, slightly unrelated sidenote, I once found this book in a second-hand store. 
It had a chapter on "Involuntary Demoniacs" which featured this lovely image of a 
demon flashing his butthole at a woman. I have no idea what this means 
or how it relates to the song, but I had to share it.

Lyrics:

Count me in, I’ll start this song
Tell me where I’m coming from
Compose a line, converse with you
Keeping tabs on what we do
Flats and sharps along the way
Melodies for mellow days
Rhyme and reason come to me
A cacophony

And it takes all this, all this time
To make all this, all this rhyme

Conversations out of tune
Note perfect but on the moon
A commotion over din
Try to take it in

Are you receiving me?

Thursday, 8 August 2013

#21. Dannii Come On (Xmas #4)


Matt Neal: guitar, vocals, bass, programming.

Lyrics & music by Matt Neal.
Written December 22, 2011.
Recorded at the Hai Bin, Warrnambool, December 22, 2011.
Produced by Matt Neal.
Mixed by Brendan Hoffmann and Matt Neal.

By some weird alphabetical coincidence, here’s another of the Xmas songs I wrote for my fiancée Dannii, this one being the fourth of five so far (you can hear #5 here).

As you can see by the dates of writing and recording, it may have been a bit of a last-minute rush job. But I think this one came out all right, shonky falsetto backing vocals aside. The music came to me at 1am on December 22 and I hastily recorded it into my phone, complete with some variation on the “Hey, Dannii come on!” chorus. I woke up the next morning, went to work, then raced to The 80 Aces’ rehearsal space to record it.

Our rehearsal space happens to be an old Chinese restaurant and for a short while there was an old computer in there which I turned into an ad hoc recording studio. Recording there meant I actually had access to a bass guitar and a bass amp for once, which meant I didn't have to fake it by using an octave pedal/effect or bass samples.

Me and The 80 Aces drummer Jarrod Hawker in the Hai Bin 
between takes for the I Am Trying To Read Your Mind film clip.

Unlike Dancing In The Station, which was a song I happened to write and give to Dannii, this one was written expressly with the purpose of giving it to her for an Xmas present. This is where the challenge begins.

When I write these Xmas presents, I’m trying to tap into songs that Dannii likes, and then create something similar that isn’t a blatant rip-off. So I take note throughout the year of what music Dannii is digging, file that away, blend it with bands I know she likes, and then mould all those influences into a new song, just for her.

So this features a riff like the one in Mutemath’s Blood Pressure (the one at 0:08)…


…and blend it sonically with the one in Muse’s Supermassive Black Hole, layering it in different octaves to get a similar effect (0:15)…


…with a bassline that tips its cap to Foster The People’s Pumped Up Kicks


…but with a bit of a White Stripes groove that sits somewhere near Hardest Button To Button


…and sticks in a chorus similar to Kaiser Chief’s Ruby (admittedly a little too similar).


Those are all really cool film clips by the way.

Everything fit together neatly and nicely and the "middle eight" was mostly made up on the spot when I was putting down the bassline, and within about three or four hours the song was done. I should have spent more time on the vocals – originally I was going for a loose, school group singalong vibe, but I probably should have aimed higher. I guess they do the job.

Lyrically, it’s all a bit of in-joke, as befitting a song meant for one person to hear. Dannii loves to pull off amazing surprises, like the time she organised a trip to Vanuatu for us without me knowing (but that’s a story for another blog), but she hates to be surprised herself. She likes to know where we’re going and what we’re doing and what she’s getting for Xmas etc…. This makes it very hard to be spontaneous, because she has to know what’s going on.

So I usually goad her, telling her we’re going on an adventure and saying “Dannii… Dannii… come on, Dannii… come on” repeatedly in an increasingly stupid voice until she relents. She does it to me too, so it’s our little joke. Admittedly, they’re not some of my best lyrics, but they're perfect for what I was aiming to do.


Next week’s blog won’t be a Xmas song, I promise.


Lyrics:

Do you like adventures?
I don’t think you do.
Do you like surprises?
Only if they don’t happen to you.
I want to excite you.
I want to intrigue.
I want to surprise you.
Come and have adventures with me.

Hey, Dannii, come on,
Dannii, Dannii, Dannii,
Dannii, come on.

I want to show you something
and now is the time.
It’s the spur of the moment
so let’s go for a ride.

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

#20. Dancing In The Station (Xmas #5)


Matt Neal: guitar, vocals, percussion.

Lyrics & music by Matt Neal.
Written June 24 & October 2, 2012.
Recorded at the Port Fairy house, October 2, 2012.
Produced by Matt Neal.
Mixed by Brendan Hoffmann and Matt Neal.



Every year for Christmas, I record a song for my fiancée. So far that’s five songs, of varying degrees of quality.

Her favourite one remains the first one I did back in 2008 when we’d only been officially going out for about a month and a half. I have to agree, it’s probably the best of the five.

It was a particularly nerve-wracking experience to give her the song. I’d written plenty of songs about people before, but I’d never written a song for anyone before. There’s a fundamental difference between writing about people and writing for people – in the former case, you’re usually writing for everyone except the person it’s about. With the latter, the song is for the ears of one person and one person only. I didn't intend for anyone else to hear these Xmas songs, but, fuck it, why not? I’m proud of each of them and certainly not ashamed by them. And this blog is nothing if not complete, as one of my friends recently pointed out.

Here we are, rockin' it '80s style.

Setting aside the horrific pangs of fear that come with laying your soul bare musically and presenting it to your beloved as a gift, the Xmas song tradition has become an annual songwriting and recording challenge. Each year, I try to find a new way to express something about our relationship, and each year I try to top the previous year’s effort (or, more accurately, the 2008 effort).

This song is the fifth Xmas gift for my fiancée and the only one to date that’s not literally about her – the sentiment of it being a love song is about her, but unlike previous Xmas gift songs, this one has little if anything to do with our relationship specifically. Instead, this happened to be a nice and lovey yet generic kind of pop song I just happened to write and serve up as a gift. The feelings are real but the intimate connection of the previous songs isn’t there (I think it might be my fiancée’s least favourite of the five Xmas gift songs).

You can tell from this photo that my feelings are real.

But this song just had to come out. I’m not sure why. It was one of those things where you’re strumming away, stumbling along with a melody, la-di-da-ing the chords, and suddenly, you hit a chorus, find a melody, and words form:

“And we’ll be dancing in the station every day”.

I have a recording on my phone of this and you can hear me fumble on the first pass of the chorus, just making up sounds as I go along, but by the second time around, those words are there, clear as a bell.

I had no idea what the line meant, but I knew I had to craft verses to fit it – the idea and rhythm of the phrase “dancing in the station” seemed too good to ignore. So the first verse is about thinking of your beloved returning to you on a train and dancing with joy when they arrive. The second verse is about that beautiful scene in The Fisher King where the hustle and bustle of New York’s Grand Central Station suddenly turns into a dance, and the fantasy and wondrous fairytale quality of that sequence (this actually inspired a regular dance to be held there on New Year’s Eve for a while I think). And the final verse is set in a space station, with the idea that you and your beloved could be the last two people alive after the earth is destroyed, just the two of you, floating in a space station.


The song was recorded at my parents’ “weekend away from the farm” house in Port Fairy, where I regularly go to songwrite or record. As I don’t have access to a drumkit there, I usually just program some drum loops. On this occasion, the loops I programmed initially sounded too fake, and I couldn’t quite get that country-fied Johnny Cash-vibe “train beat” to work. So I constructed a beat by sampling items around the house – the “kick” is slapping a box containing half a slab of beer, the “snare” is tapping a table, and the “shaker” is shaking a basket full of plastic clothes pegs.

As with many songs where the melody, chords, rhythm and  words just roll out, I can’t help but think I’ve completely plagiarised a pre-existing song. But I have no idea what.

On a final note, I’m particularly proud of the fact I used the word “fairytale” as a verb in this song.




Lyrics:

This train is on my mind
and I just can’t seem to stop thinking about what’s inside
And I miss you all this time
and I just can’t wait to see your face at the end of the line.

And we’ll be dancing in the station every day

At the chime of New Year’s Eve
I wanna show you the magic New York make-believe
When the trains and bustle cease
I wanna take you by the hand and fairytale you off of your feet.

At the end of all mankind,
we’re gonna jump into a shuttle and leave this mess behind
and in space we’ll float entwined
and we’ll stay like this forever in a ship in the endless sky.

Monday, 22 July 2013

#19. Crazy Invitation – The Extreme Sprinklers


Harry Fahey: drums.
Matt Hewson: bass.
Jade McLaren: vocals.
Matt Neal: guitar, backing vocals.

Lyrics by Jade McLaren & Matt Neal.
Music by Jade McLaren, Matt Hewson, Harry Fahey and Matt Neal.
Written in 2004.
Recorded live at Rosco’s house in Melbourne, 2004/2005?
Produced and mixed by Dave Wilson.


As mentioned previously, The Extreme Sprinklers wanted to be the next Ween. We were keen to try our hand at any genre possible and didn’t see any reason why we shouldn’t. I even had this crazy notion that we could release an album where every song was a different genre and that such a move could even being a selling point (I might still do this one day, just to see what happens).

While it meant that the Sprinklers took a while to find its own sound or style, it also gave myself and singer Jade McLaren carte blanche in the early days of the band to try to write anything we felt like in any style we wanted. Having such an insanely talented rhythm section – Harry Fahey and Matt Hewson – who could play anything just made it all the easier to genre-hop.

So we did a funk song.

Here we are, looking pretty funky. PIC: Glen Watson.

Here’s Harry:
“I always felt a bit guilty playing this at gigs in case anyone really loved it then waited for the rest of the funk set... and waited...."

This could have been true of anything we played – reggae, blues, country, punk, rap-rock. Our early setlists pretty much featured one of each.

Crazy Invitation was largely Jade’s baby. He took the melody to Hewy, who crafted some cool jazz-influenced chords for the verses. For some reason, neither of them bothered to write a chorus, so I came up with one and the song was done.

That's Hewy's handwriting at the top, mine at the bottom. 
Hewy rather helpfully tabbed out what an "A half-diminished seventh" 
was just above the chorus I wrote. Which is good because I genuinely had no idea.

Here’s Jade:
“I wrote it about an outrageously hot girl who once smiled and beckoned for me to come dance with her at The Whalers. I was way too shocked that this gorgeous girl was interested in me and I ran away. Days later I think I started to write some lyrics about what I wished I had done. I eventually worked up the courage to go talk to this girl where she worked but, alas, she had left the day before to go work overseas. I still like the chorus melody … I just remembered that (Doc) came up with the chorus. Ha ha, (it’s) the only part of the song I like.”

Sadly, we never did a proper recording of this song. Harry laments the fact we never got Hewy to come up with “some kick-arse horn parts” for a studio version.

He continues:
"This was a good song (from) Jade and Hewy. I don't know why we didn't spend much time workshopping it. In hindsight, I could have listened to what Hewy was playing and tightened up that verse kick a bit. I don't remember having much planned for this apart from '1, 2, 3, go!'.”

Here we are "workshopping" stuff in Extreme Sprinklers HQ. PIC: Glen Watson.

Meanwhile, Jade laments his performance on this recording, taken from a gig we did at an awesome party in Melbourne.

“This particular version is horrible and embarrassing as I’m so drunk and just over-singing like a demented Christina Aguilera,” he said.

Jade impersonating a demented Christina Aguilera. PIC: Glen Watson.

To be fair, we’re all pretty drunk on this recording. Some are just handling it better than others. I think my solo (if it could be called that) is one of the most lacklustre and lame solos ever committed to tape, while Hewy called his own playing “terrible”.

On a side note, after playing this particular party, we all slept in an empty house next door. Having been told that the accommodation was “taken care of”, no one thought to bring any bedding. As a result, we ended up sleeping in a dilapidated house with carpet underlay and cardboard as our only bedding. There were spiders everywhere and plenty of evidence of mice. I’m not even sure if the toilet worked properly. We were so drunk we didn’t really give a fuck until the next morning, when the surroundings only compounded our hangovers. I think someone may have been having a laugh at our expense.

Although, it’s possible it wasn’t after this party and was in fact after another similar party. None of us can remember for certain.

Good times. Good times.

Lyrics:

What's this crazy invitation?
*Your hips are something something (?)
*The something something something (?)
Whoa baby, what's that smile that you're making?
What's your motivation
'cos you're swimming through my mind?

What's this crazy invitation?
My hands are celebrating
running down your thighs.
Whoa baby girl, your eyes are implicating
that, baby, I'll be making
that little body mine.

I say "yes", you say "let's go".

What's this crazy invitation?
Your body's devastating
*something something something.... (?)
Oh baby, I've had a little too much
but you're responding to my touch
so give us some room, woah, to dance



****I've got no idea what Jade's singing here... and neither does he.