dave graney - Moodists-Coral Snakes-mistLY-FEARFUL WIGGINGS

dave graney - Moodists-Coral Snakes-mistLY-FEARFUL WIGGINGS
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About Me

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Current album Dave Graney and the mistLY LYVE AT BYRDS. Two albums in 2020, "Dave Graney and Clare Moore In Concert with Robin Casinader" and "Dave Graney and Clare Moore with Georgio "the dove" Valentino and Malcolm Ross". Two albums in 2019. ONE MILLION YEARS DC by Dave Graney and Clare Moore and ZIPPA DEEDOO WHAT IS/WAS THAT/THIS? from Dave Graney and the mistLY. WORKSHY - 2017 memoir out on Affirm Press. Let's get Tight - 2017 CD with Clare Moore. Moodists - Coral Snakes - mistLY. I don’t know what I am and don’t want to know any more than I already know. I aspire, in my music , to 40s B Movie (voice and presence) and wish I could play guitar like Dickey Betts, John Cippolina or Grant Green - but not in this lifetime, I know.

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

So, I'll tell you what happened out there

 So .....

Clare Moore hates people starting off sentences with "so".  She says she has noticed it a lot recently. She finds it very passive/agressive. I think.

So...

I started to notice it too. Now.

So...

So we played with our band the mistLY on  Sunday May 2nd at  Howler in  Brunswick . It was our first shows with the band since February 2020 and its always touch and go playing in Melbourne, where we live. Our audience is like no other and we always try different venues. They aren't people who go out to rock clubs a lot. So this turned out to be a great evening. A seven o'clock show for which the Covid affected audience was all seated at tables. I mean Covid affected in the number that are allowed in the room. I like this Covid effect. I'm always looking at 50's movies of people in nightclubs sitting at tables watching lounge singers or jazz combos and wonder to myself what the hell happened to show business that it has to take place in  a paddock somewhere with thousands of people. What the actual....? (On a similar note we watched a documentary about a  Sri lankan train station which is high in the montains with a classic nine arch bridge for the train to cross a gorge. Dozens of people are employed to walk along the tracks and clean it and oil it and more work to keep the station spotless. So many people working! And the train ride cost Three Euros. More people working and less costs for living, sounds great).

For the Howler show we played mostly songs fom our last four  albums.  They were Zippa DeeDoo What Is/Was That/This?,  One Million Years DC, Lets Get Tight and Fearful Wiggings. I blame the pandemic. 

 


 


We also caught the last day of Stu Thomas and Kim Salmons art show at One Star Lounge in West Melbourne, a new coffee lounge/gallery run by Mick Harvey and Katy Beale. We took our old friend and band mate Steve Miller along and then Mick Turner (also once of the Moodists) walked in. Almosta  reunion. 




Clare and I then flew to Coffs Harbour, hired a car and drove to Grafton in Northern Rivers area of NSW where we played at the Pelican Playhouse, a really nice community run theatre. 

This is our gear at the airport. Of course, getting into an airport and then a  plane was a bit of a THING after being housebound for so long. The man pictured below was standing there, talking loudly into the void/earpiece phone. There were a few others acting similarly. Have they no sense of dignity/other people? I wore two masks in the airport and on the plane.



note doublemask.

 

Two guitars, effects rack, keyboard and suitcase. Just us.
 Grafton South was where our show was located. We had last been there in November 2019 when this usually green and lush area was totally ravaged by bushfires. A unique looking town. 

 







We were staying in Coffs and driving out to these other shows. Walking along the beach in the morning.





 

We had been offered a gig on short notice in a beautiful spot called Red Rock. The local councils in NSW were being really proactive in getting people out and about to community events. We did a set in the afternoon on a  stage facing an estuary. It was quite delightful. The local tv news filmed an interview with us. 




 


After playing for 45 minutes we drove on to Bellingen where we had some coffeee and played that night. A strange venue, the audience on a level below us. A possum came into the room and swung from a mirror ball in our second set.





After the show we drove back to Coffs and then on to Brisbane where we did two sets the next day at the Junk Bar. This was the first time back at the venue since it had changed hands. The young man doing sound helped it run smoothly. A tiny venue but a great place to play in Brisbane. 



We played at 5 and 7pm and then ate some Indian food at a nearby late night food joint. 

We flew back to Melbourne for a few days and then drove to Newcastle where we played at the Stag and Hunter. Always great to play in Newcastle. Another great young sound man . The lights went luminous after the show.







We then drove to a beautiful wide spot in the road up near Taree in NSW and played at the Flow Bar. The town was called Old Bar. Deluxe sound and stage outside with people seated around eating and drinking. The sound man was an American known as Cali Dave. It sounded great.

We then had  a few days off in Sydney before a show at the The Vanguard in  King st Newtown. 

We went for  a long walk around Clovelly and Bronte, looking at the seabaths.

 



The Vanguard is a place we have played at many times over the last two decades, up the end of King st near the University. Next to where Goulds Bookshop used to be. Set up like a small theatre with audience seated below and an upper area to sit as well. We played two sets. Lindy Morrison burst into our band room before we played and actuallly stayed for the two sets. I think she was impressed and enjoyed the sounds. It was nice to see her anyway. She said we should play with an orchestra but you know us - we lean more towards jazz than longhairs and strings. 

 




Then we drove south to play at Kiama, near Wollongong. A beautiful part of Australia. A young guy had set up  a music venue in a kind of inside/outside configuration all around his own food truck which worked a treat. Audience seated again as in a theatre or club situation. The PA blew up after our first set but they found another. 

Had a great night. We were playing mostly newer material , including unrecorded instrumentals and songs. People come to us for a show or a night out. Its not an album/tour situation with us. Our good friend and fellow traveller Jodi Phillis drove from Wollongong to say hello.

 




 We had a show the next day in the Southern Highlands at Bowral but it had been cancelled. Something we would never do. The promoters idea. Oh well, a night off in Sydney.

Sunday morning we packed everything and drove to the SHIRE to play at the Brass Monkey. This is in Cronulla, where our filthy PM has his seat. Always great to play in this venue. We have been here many times before too. The hospitality is the best. We made show at 1pm , playing two sets until driving away at 5pm towards Melbourne. We stayed the night at Mittagong and then made it home nine hours later.  

Here are some links to shows we are playing soon. We really enjoyed that run of dates and appreciated people coming out. The experience of COVID has been universal and flattened the world, especially the flimsy showbusiness world.  Peoples habits with QR codes were noticably more effective in NSW, QLD and SA than Victoria. Hopefully that will improve.

Thursday June 10th - 8pm Live streaming Online set via STAGE IT. Show #80

Sunday morning/Saturday night Live streaming Online set via Stage It. Sunday 8am in Melbourne-Saturday afternoon 3pm in LA, 5pm in Chicago, 6pm in New York City, 11pm in the UK.

 

Friday July 2nd - Three Brothers Arms, Macclesfield SA
https://www.trybooking.com/events/landing?eid=752809&

 

Saturday July 3rd Trinity Sessions - Adelaide SA
318 Goodwood Road, Clarence Park, SA 5034

https://www.trybooking.com/events/landing?eid=755401&

 

Sunday July 4th Bellwether Wines - Coonawarra SA
www.eventbrite.com.au/e/dave-graney-clare-moore-at-bellwether-tickets-156035274707

 

Thursday July 8th

Goleby's Basemen West Street Ipswich, QLD
https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/skc-168-dave-graney-clare-moore-tickets-156859275315

 
 

Friday July 9th Imperial Hotel Eumundi, QLD
https://tickets.oztix.com.au/outlet/event/1bf28183-d54c-4ff7-a80f-28463fc6229c

 

Saturday July 10th Toowoomba Bar Wunder , QLD

moshtix.com.au/v2/event/dave-graney-and-clare-moore/128635

 

 

Saturday July 24th , Archies Creek Hotel, Victoria

https://www.trybooking.com/events/landing?embed&eid=761742


Friday 30th July 30th
Citadel Murwullimbah, QLD
https://events.humanitix.com/dave-graney-and-clare-moore

 

Friday August 13th Smiths - Canberra
https://bit.ly/3vfIlYA

 

Saturday August 14th

Palais Ballroom Katoomba, NSW

https://events.humanitix.com/fbdaveclare

 

 

Saturday August 21st - POME -   267 Swan Street Richmond, VIC 3121.

Firast of a FOUR WEEK residency by Dave Graney and Clare Moore  in this boutique venue.  


Saturday August 28th - POME - Richmond residency


Saturday September 4th POME  - Richmond residency


Saturday September 11th POME  - Richmond residency

 

 

I caught a set from Dave Graney and Clare Moore at Finding Fillmore’s in Kiama.
As always I just dig their vibe.
Doing it their way, with their
smooky sounds (smooth and kooky, a term I have coined just for them) weird and hilarious songs and stories and Dave’s golden voice.

Cool venue too!

Jodi Phillis

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Live dates in the real world suddenly happening .

 

Ok thats a photo from about 2003 by Tony Mahony in that poster there. Clare is sitting at a Hohner chord organ which we still have but it is more of a piece of furnture. Perhaps we will get a power cord for it again one day. It's like an accordeon on legs and all fits into a cute metal case with the legs unscrewing and sloting on the underside when its packed away. The Flying V was a budget Canora which I had for about five years because I thought all V's looked flash. It had  a sludge like deep bottom end sound and distorted well but I got rid of it. Of course, I regret that, as I do for most guitars and items of clothing I toss away. (Very rarely in the case of both).

So all of a sudden  we have some live dates in the real worldd happening. It won't take long for any of us to slip back into "normal" life I can see. But then Australia is  an island which shut its borders and the news from the rest of the world is horrific as far as the wildfire of the pandemic goes. 

Lets hope we all get some normal soon. 

I had my first vacination of Astra Zenica just before all tehse date shappened. Ifelt a bit lethargic and queasy for a day. Then that was all over.

I had to get onto a plane for the first time in  a year and more to be one of three guest vocalists in a Tom Waits tribute show. We had one rehearsal with the band in Melbourne and luckily they were very competent. the other singers were Peter Fenton and Hugo race. A strange bunch. I got the call when Rob Snarski dropped out. It seemed to bean easy gig and a way to ease back into peforming in public spaces. Of course, it wasn't all that easy. I ended up ashamedly reading lyrics from sheets of paper ona  music stand. I picked Tom waits songs from mostlt teh pre Swordfish trombones era when he was living at teh Tropicana and still trying to bust into the scene and playing a Bukowski-esque barfly role and generally playing live a lot. He stopped playing live in the early 80s. I dont think musicians should do that. I think its best if you work live to an audience and keep your game real.


 pic Sandra Kingston

So I sang Burma Shave, A Sight For Sore Eyes, Fumbling With the Blues, A New Coat Of Paint, Muriel, Martha, Blind Love and Time. the latter two being actually later period ones but I liked parts of them. We played in Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney. Hugo and Peter were more respectful to the material than me and did a great job. I did my best. I got to like some of the material again. Burma Shave, especially. All six or seven verses of it. 

pic sourced from keys player Bradley Christmas
 

The audience realy knew it in fine detail and also really identified with the boozing , hardcore nature of it. The faux working class authenticity of the lyrics. I didn't really buy into that part of it but could see how much people really did do just that. They yelled and screamed for the boozy stuff. 

It was a cool experience and the players were all very good. Bass, drums, keys, guitar and sax. Very versatile and experienced.

pic sourced from keys player Bradley Christmas

Hugo Race and I were both  a bit taken aback when we learned that we had to share a room in Sydney and Brisbane though... We both kind of shrugged and took it as an unexpected, surprise indignity.



Then Clare Moore and myself got into our van a week later and proceed to drive up the Hume highway for the requisite nine or ten hours and played three shows using vibes, keys, melodica, digital mellotron  and guitar. the first was at the excellent Music Lounge in the Wollongong Town Hall. All the venues were covid influenced and effected.




We had a great time, playing two sets of music. A lot of unrecorded songs and some cover versions and some older (90s) songs. One of those moments you experience as a younger musician where you are many steps ahead of the audience and have teh thrill of surpises in your bag and they are also willing to go along for the ride as well.

After Wollongong we played at  a lovely old community hall in a town called Huskisson. (We stayed for three nights in a place called Kiama as accomodation was hard to find and all these venues were no more than an hour away from that base). This gig was run by a fellow called Paul Greene (also a musician) who keeps the location secret and sells tickets to hardy, intrepid punters and then gets the venue and cooks all the food and puts the PA up and mixes it all A very relaxed, cool headed character too.


The last show was on Dangar Island in the Hawkesbury river just out of Sydney on the way to the Central Coast and Newcastle. We left Kiama at about 9am and got to the wharf at Brooklyn at 11 am and loaded our gear into our agent Steves boat and motored over to the island. There are no cars there so we availed ourselves of the islands community golf  buggy and took our stuff up to the bowls club and  made show in the sunshine for the afternoon.





We stayed on the island after the show, listening to some Gong albums at Steve and Sharons house and drove back to Melbourne the next day. Another ten hours. 

So now Clare and I are getting ready to play as part of a Scott Walker tribute night this weekend in melbourne and then our first gig as Dave Graney and the mistLY for fifteen months. A rare show in Melbourne for us. A place where we all live and also the place we play least of all. We have rehearsed twice this week and have some great music to play for two sets at Howler in Brunswick, a joint we have never played before. Doors at 7pm and I cannot wait to play. 

Then Clare and I head off for a few weekends of shows in Queensland and NSW again.

Sunday May 2nd - HOWLER in MELBOURNE. This is a Dave Graney and the mistLY event. 7pm.

Friday 7 May - Pelican Playhouse - Grafton
Saturday 8 May - Bellingen Brewing Co (6pm & 9pm) 50 cap per session
Sunday 9 May - Junk Bar Brisbane (5pm session and 7pm session ) 45 seats per session

Friday 14th May, the Stag and Hunter, Newcastle NSW.

Saturday 15th May at the FLOW BAR, Old Bar, NSW.

Sunday 16th May, The Vanguard, King st NEWTOWN NSW.


Friday 21 May - Finding Filmore's, Kiama NSW.
Saturday 22 May - Bowral Bowling Club, Bowral NSW
Sunday 23rd May - Brass Monkey, Cronulla. Afternoon shows-doors at 1pm.

More shows will be added soon. Adelaide and back again to Queensland.

We will also be continuing our online shows when we can - we have done 75 so far -  as they have been great for keeping our skills up and our focus on performing music and just plain keeping in touch with ourselves and people. Also for workshopping new sounds and material. 

The next one is  a Live Stream 8pm Thursday May 6th.
And 8pm Thursday May 20th

We have plans to record an album from each of us this year. I have songs for two different albums, the first will be a rock set. Punchy as hell rocck songs.  The songs have a lot of power and energy in them. Dynamic stuff.







Saturday, March 27, 2021

Generations - Mic Conway . Where Did ALL The Freaks Go?

 

I did a few narrative style shows at the Butterfly Club in the early 2000s. 

It’s a small theatre showroom that used to inhabit a Victorian house in South Melbourne and has now flown into town where it has landed inside a narrow four storey building that fronts onto Collins street between Swanston and Elizabeth. Incredibly, the rent is cheaper in the new address!

There are several bars across several levels. A bit of a carnival fantasy world, all sense of direction is lost as soon as you enter the building, (through an alleyway off of Little Collins street). The building is full of all sorts of bric a brac – books and stuffed animals and old 78 record players as well as board games and posters of everybody from Schwarzenegger to George V.  A great joint. (The owners transported  a lot the items to the new location via the tram that goes straight down Clarendon street into Collins street in the city) 

My third show (Early Folk. It folllowed POINT BLANK and LIVE IN HELL) was an experiment in early opening. A 6pm start and I was greatly heartened by the public’s appreciation of the idea. Big, sophisticated cities need early entertainment options! Screw all that dumb diehard rock’n’roll bullshit! Go to a show and then walk outside at 8pm to decide what to do next! A game of squash? Why Sure?! A sauna? Yes please! Dinner and a late movie? Do it!


The club is still a bit of a secret to people who tread the familiar paths to established venues which operate at regular times. (Not that the club closes early- it has several different shows most nights and loves any kind  late night loosening of people minds)  I mean to say its hard to find out about it and what goes on in there. During my run there I espied a performer of interest to me who was coming down from Sydney to do a rare Melbourne show. It was Mic Conway who, decades ago , entered the straying public consciousness as the long haired but deep voiced singer of The Captain matchbox Whoopee Band. A true troupe of freakish brothers from the wilder depths and shores of underground Melbourne music and performance. they crossed boundaries and all manner of manners as to what an act could be doing and saying. Not that I ever saw them perform- just a mere glimpse of them destroying the joint that was the tv show COUNTDOWN one Sunday evening. Even then , they may have been past their prime, things moving much quicker in the world of entertainment in those days.  (By way of illustration, I heard the drummer of Metallica talking about Creams drummer Ginger Baker in a  film called “beware Mr Baker” and he said that Creams entire career lasted two months less than his bands last tour….) Luckily, I had seen them via an even earlier ABC show called GTK which transmitted their true freakdom to the bush and the far cities in a  very sensitive manner) 

 

So on the Sunday following my own season I sat down with Clare Moore to watch Mic do a show in the same room, on the other side of the footlights.

The Butterfly Club showroom fits roughly 80 people and is run like a small theatre. Very formal. An usher walks through the bars and lounges ringing a bell to signify the show is to start and people take their seats- no latecomers allowed!

Given the room is so small, many performers opt to work without a microphone at all- singing straight into the room. Even though its small, this can be very demanding on a performers pipes and they must choose the material carefully. Mic came out with his accompanist, Rob “daddy long legs” Long, on archtop electric guitar and began the show. He used no microphone. Mic used no mic-  just Mic!

His voice is a classic, rich and deep and sonorous. they began the show.

I once read a book about the legendary star Louise Brooks and she talked about how it was a shame no film ever really captured the comic genius of WC FIELDS because they didn’t show his whole body. She had worked with him a lot on the stage and said he was comic in the totality of his movement. His face and his voice were funny but the whole package was the best. He moved funny.

Mic Conway has this. His clothes are perfectly dusty and the collar all skew whiff and drunk. A cummerbund, a funny hat to begin. His side of the stage was like a shop and he kept diving into the pile of props and bags to bring out another marvel. We laughed from beginning to end. He does magic tricks and tells the corniest of gags and lays it all out, the show I mean, with the ease and timing of an absolute confidence man.

He played a parlour  sized steel guitar with Hawaiian dancers painted on the back and a ukulele. He put a harmonica rack around his neck which included a kazoo, several whistles, a couple of bird calls, and a jug as well as the harmonica. No turn was unstoned.

There were others in his generation, across many countries, who appeared in that counter cultural fog of the 60s and 70s. Tiny Tim and Robert Crumb to name a couple. They appeared among the freaks. People assumed they were put-ons or flim flam artists -  fakes. Time moved on and the freaky crowd settled down and these characters stayed the same. They were for real, that was the freakiest thing!

Robbie Long was the perfect accompanist, vamping on chords and licks as Mic pulled off elaborate sight gags and card tricks, pulled faces and joined in on the mad stories with yells and cries into the room. Absolutely magic entertainment skills. He played a  beautiful old archtop through a tiny Vox amp. Splendidly.

Mic drew on songs from Bing Crosby’s early repertoire “street of dreams” , Tom Lehrer “masochism tango” and Marlene Dietrich “illusions” as well as the beautifully sophisticated and bitter sweet “paper moon”. He played a song called “lets incorporate” and mentioned it was from “the last depression- nobody heard it then – I don’t know why- I’ve only ever liked stuff nobody knows about…” He touched on songs from his Matchbox past with “my canary has circles under his eyes”, explaining it was a song from the twenties when people gave marijuana to their pet birds! 

 

The whole show was a display of skills in every area. Then there was the innate charisma and persona of the performer. It has struck me several times, seeing a player in front of a crowd where they have a sense of him or her in their minds before a word is uttered or a note is played. The performer is already there, walking across their minds. He had us moving with him from the beginning.

Mic moved through all these songs and changes. Hats and clothes and props and tricks. His voice stayed constant. He has an easy smile and world weary, hooded eyes. A light, knowing touch on every note. No heavy trips here. Sometimes he looked like the oldest entertainer in vaudeville, other times, he was a timeless hero from the youth of the known world. He was there with all this stuff before AC/DC and before Cold Chisel. Probably playing in the same joints.  He seriously has the blues. I mean that as the highest compliment. He seemed surprised but delighted this hammy stuff still worked. He liked it!, nobody else was supposed to! He smiled easily, like Nick Cave, from a long way away. 

 

 

They ended with “I don’t want to set the world on fire” and he apologized for the lack of fire eating and flame throwing. Regulations forbid it in the venue. He didn’t need the hell here. He played the room in a supersized, classic, pre electric mode. If you ever see him posterized as to an upcoming visit- see him! 

 

 

https://micconway.com/

 

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Generations: Tony Cohen - Lets Get This Turkey In The Shops.

 

Tony Cohen was a recording engineer and one without many peers. Perhaps the last of his kind? A wild man and a gentle and peculiar person. I write from the position of having worked with him more than several times and been present at other sessions he was chairing. I also write from the position of having heard him and others tell the stories of where he came from and what he could do that no others could. I must stress that I don’t pretend to have known the whole man, but I saw and experienced that studio buzzed side of his life.

 

When I first started recording, it was a hideously expensive exercise and mostly the province of radio and television jingle production. The engineers were not in white coats but it would have been only a few years before that they would have had to have dressed just so. They were on one side and the musicians on the other. They didn’t explain themselves to the players and didn’t really like them to be in the control rooms. Australian studios (I soon learned) were many years behind those found in the UK and the USA (where music culture informed audio recording more than AM radio advertising aesthetics) . All the rooms here were covered in carpet to better isolate all the sounds. (To then be able to assemble them together again in more complete sterility). It was no place for freaks.

 

Tony Cohen was one of “us”. He had that image from working with bands in the underworld scene of Melbourne. The ones that connected with me (there were many others as he worked hard and long hours) were the Boys Next Door/Birthday Party and the Models and the Laughing Clowns. Everybody wanted his name on their records, the Go Betweens did their first album with him and my band the Moodists did a recording with him in 1982 in a midnight to dawn (using cheaper time) at his studio home ground  of the time, Richmond Recorders. We only had that short time and we came out with six tracks, recorded and mixed. Even then, Tony regaled us with war stories of working on Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs album MORE ARSE THAN CLASS when he was just starting out as a studio tape op. (A young apprentice whose job was to place mics, loop mic leads and make tea for a couple of years before being allowed behind the actual desk for a session). He talked of these giants striding into the session with boxes of 740 ml beers on their shoulders and staying up for days on end, husks of destroyed engineers being tossed in the corridor and another one chucked into the room - to their certain deaths. There was also the Doug Parkinson experience with young Tony falling asleep (somehow) under the desk and waking to see the big mans arse making lewd pumping motions in the carpeted darkness, plowing into some willing lover amidst overflowing ashtrays and empty bottles. Did I hear all this right? Tony was a great story teller. And a great story. Several people tried to get him to sit down and talk into a tape player. But he knew all the trickery of tape machines, didn’t he? People are trying to own him now but he was his own thing. He ruled that post punk scene but he came from a world of real experience in the pop and rock’n’roll worlds. Areas of extreme commerciality. As well as the Aztecs there was his work in 1977 with the Ferrets. They laboured for months on a multi-tracked epic debut album with Molly Meldrum yelling at one and all about the big bits and the loud bits and the need for something more here and there. The powers that were left the band with just Tony in the studio one day and their biggest hit “don’t fall in love” just happened. Billy Miller was the charming and handsome singer, aided by his two beautiful sisters, Pam and Jane and a cast of characters from the world of hustlers that was primo mid 70s Australian rock music. One of them was the late Ian Davis, who wrote – at least the words – for “Don’t Fall In Love”. I have only heard of him in legendary conversation. Far too wild for any “industry”. He seems to have spoken in a kind of Pentridge exercise yard argot with references to “dogs” and “maggots” that Tony always delighted in dropping explosively into conversation. (His conversations being commonly with a willing audience of private school alternative types).

I could list all the acts Tony worked with but I’m afraid I would only leave somebody out. He was a go-to man for most of the 80s and 90s. I use the term “worked with” as well because he didn’t really have whatever ego it took – or management – to get the title “producer” on many of the recordings he facilitated. He engineered and worked away at whatever sound he had in his brain. He was definitely pre digital. He worked less as music entered the pro tools, sound as visualized on a screen world of the late 20th and early 21st Century . (People just listened and stared at speakers and the desk before the computer screens came in with their easy graphic representations of sound files) It was mainly the speed and memory of early digital software that shat him. It couldn’t give him what he wanted at first, so he moved out of town and came back when the computers got better. When they could keep up with him. He knew all about mics and their  placement, reverb, delays and tape splicing. He was a shaman in the studio.

Perhaps a UK equivalent to him would be Martin Hannett (Joy Divison) who worked in Manchester in the same period as Tony hit his stride in Melbourne, or Guy Stevens, (though he seems to have been much more violent), producer of the Who, Procul Harum and Mott the Hoople. Guy was the man the Clash hired to make London Calling. A fellow people hired to give them some fire. Tony was expected to bring that too.

We worked with him in 1982 in the Moodists, then again in 1993 on a record with our band Dave Graney and the Coral Snakes called Night Of the Wolverine. Before he came to the studio, he worked on successive albums for Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds (Live Seeds) and the Cruel Sea (the Honeymoon is Over). Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds had gotten Tony in to remix an album called Henrys Dream the previous year which had been produced by American David Briggs. The record was missing something and they knew who to call. Tony had worked with Nick Cave and Mick Harvey in the Boys Next Door and the Birthday Party. For the Cruel Sea he was at the helm of an album when they had a large audience and a business waiting for something big from them. They’d developed slowly by themselves and were at such a creative swoon that someone really had to capture it. It was delicate, they were burning through stuff really quickly. Tony mixed and remixed parts of songs for days. He mixed with AM radio in mind, lots of treble and sizzle. He’d get into a state which would drive everybody out of the room, his hair all about his face, his hands and arms all over the desk like a spider or some greasy version of Richard The Third. Hunchbacked and scowling. He would turn inward and drive bands crazy – they’d walk out or begin to yell at him to get his attention. Or worse. But he got it down on tape.

 

He came to the studio after those two long and heated sessions. We had enough money for one day in Armstrongs studio (AAV) in South Melbourne. I was paying for it. We were there at about ten am. He might have arrived at 3 or 4pm, scowling still and growling under his hair at a business that was apparently running him into the ground. He rolled the chair out of the way as he always preferred to stand up at the desk. We were ready to pop ourselves and in the end, which is all that matters,  he got an amazing sound onto the tape. Yes it was still tape, and we watched with hearts in mouths one breathless moment as he slashed the actual multi track tape with his razor in one swift, sure blow and edited two halves of two different versions of a song into one – perfectly - and continued mixing. Chuckling as he clocked our discomfort. In the end I asked him for any directions as I was taking the tape to a mastering studio. (The final sweep across a finished mix which polishes a set of songs into the right sonic continuity and sequence). He just said to tell them not to touch it. So that’s what it was when it came out. The record has a strangely soft and dark sound to it – unlike any of Tony’s other sessions and maybe due to the pounding his ears had taken in the long sessions  leading up to it.

We worked with Tony again on the next album, “You Wanna Be there But You Don’t Wanna Travel”  (which made much more use of his talents with sounds and breaks and snare rimshots and guitar licks all given severe attention to make tracks like “I’m Gonna Release Your Soul” and “the stars, baby, the stars” pop right out of their natural states and come to new life, glistening and febrile on the record) and then again remixing a reissue of an  earlier live set called “Lure Of the Tropics”. He wasn’t really there for the latter, not in mind to begin with and then not in body as he nipped out for something at the shops and just didn’t come back. Of course we got mad at him for that sort of thing and swore never to work with him again but he was always a charming fellow to run into.

 

He loved to yell things like “Lets get this turkey in the shops!” (meaning lets finish this thing). Jim, Mick and Warren from the Dirty Three took that phrase from a Tony session into another studio with Steve Albini - who took it into a session with Robert Plant and Jimmy Page – who I am told had to stop and ask what was wrong with their session that it was being dubbed a “turkey” so casually.

 

For a while in the late 90’s he could be found invariably at an all night liquor stop in Windsor, near where he lived. He wasn’t the type to sit in a pub and didn’t really drink a lot. He just liked the atmosphere in the brightly lit bottle shop I guess. Someone said he had the demeanour of an eccentric ex British army type, though he was really all Australian. He took people as they came and didn’t give a damn for business or industry standing.

All the dark and dangerous sounding records he helped into the world will be his legacy, but he didn’t bring that darkness himself. He knew how to catch it and mix it right. But he was not at all gothic, dark or bluesy as a man. Well, perhaps when he was two or three days into fifteen seconds of a mix but that was when he’d gone into more of a sonic rabbit hole searching for that special something which Jimmy Page described to an impertinent interlocutor as “power, mystery and the Hammer of the Gods…..”

 

In a world littered with phony legends and generic icons, he was actually a unique, supremely talented and human being. 

Film maker Kerry Negara did this short piece on Tony in 1993. He smartened himself up with a  buttoned up shirt and tie for the occasion but his  mad spark shines through really well.

 

 

Further notes to the last blog in regard to Billy Miller.

 I wrote this after a special show Billy did in 2012.

 

This night was going to be an event cooked up by Billy Miller. An exceptional and highly individual player of music in Melbourne for many years. A soldier, an officer and a dude.

Billy Miller usually held court at the time down in the bottom bar of the old George hotel every Sunday with his band, the Love Brothers. They played on the floor. Callow indie musicians would have been killed by the ferocious, close fighting in that red brick room but Billy is highly skilled. Unlike most of his generation he is a pop player rather than a bluesman and can play anything at will and with great conviction. You could sit and marvel as he played the Kinks and the Stones and Michael Jackson and  Free and the Bee Gees with his son Eddie and John Annas and KD Firth and the entire crowd singing along. Hardly needs a  PA! Billy and KD were once in the Ferrets and they power through some of their own back catalogue. Billys our Alex Chilton.

By that I mean he’s always been into songs and pop music and never went down the road of roots and blues. “Rootless and toothless” as he calls that generic dead end. He began playing in the early 70s in a band called Buster Brown that morphed into Rose tattoo. Its not like he hasn’t hung with badass types. That band broke up on a trip (by train) to Perth and Billy had to make his fare back by busking Beatles songs. Shit was really real then. Beatle Billy! The Ferrets and Countdown era pop stardom came in time.

After the Ball, as they say, he’s been a player. I played with him and learned so much, mainly about conviction and how great it is to play with people who are UP for it. No sooks.

Tonight he was doing a set of songs based on the first gig he ever went to, Festival Hall in 1968 with Paul Jones (from Manfred Mann), The Small Faces and the Who. He had a crack band – James Black (from RockWiz) on keys, Bill McDonald on bass, John Annas on drums, Eddie Milller on guitar and guest vocals from Stu Thomas and Mick Pealing. It was Bills show though. Oh and it was also the Who and the Small Faces show. I used to turn my nose up at tribute bands years ago, but I then got to respect their hard-core showbiz attitude. It’s different if it’s an ongoing week after week things. In shows like that, all the weirdness usually gets shaved off and the basics are trotted out.  Then there is the phenomenon of bands getting back together. The Who themselves, came here in the early 2000s for a car race gig. “The Two” they were derisively called. A friend of mine, a guitarist from Sydney, made me think differently when he said he went to the show just “to see the man who actually write and played all that great stuff-play it!” It made me think that it was true, this stuff has lasted (mostly thanks to oldies radio) but it’s also worth hearing and people love it! What’s the problem? Ruth Rogers Wright, an English woman living in Melbourne, does an amazing Nina Simone show. It is difficult stuff to inhabit and pull off, for the players and the singer. She does it brilliantly well. Henry Manetta and the Trip did a Sun Ra show, complete with conga line of freaks chanting “Nuquelar War” as they weaved about the room. Again it was great to hear the music for real, being pushed out into a room by real people. Tex Perkins plays Johnny Cash as well as doing shows of country standards. Who couldn’t do that stuff any better? His amazing voice and his really demanding standards for any player who steps on a stage with him? People love it! Those songs are stone tablets!

So I was really looking forward to the show. Its valid to play music you love to people who wanna hear it!

Billy came on and did the Paul Jones songs first. “pretty flamingo”, “do wah diddy” and “the mighty quinn”. Bill plays a 1963 Strat that he makes absolutely sing. Battered and worn, he gets the cleanest sounds then power chords and works the tone constantly with the pots on the guitar, very few pedals. His voice is outstanding, getting all those screaming notes and totally controlling it. Screams ,squalls, melodies and mugging all present. They launch in to the Small Faces songs. “Itchy coo park”, “you really got a  hold on me” (a song he insisted they covered on the night in 1968) “sha la la la lee”, “natural born boogie”, “lazy Sunday afternoon”, an obscure b side “I’m only dreaming” and ending with the amazing “tin soldier”. It was beyond great to  hear. People were dancing crazily. Antique moves from back in the day. Led by the women first, as always.

A short break and they came back fro the Who set. A man with a shaved head and quite ordinary suit stood in front of me. As the chords to “substitute” rang out he began to move violently all by himself in the crowd. (The Whos music talks to men) .Making windmill guitar arm moves and riding the cymbals and clapping in a flamenco style. Stuff as hell. Not drinking at all. Song by song he first removed his coat, then tie, then shirt and ended the gig in a drenched old t shirt. The band played superbly, all the dynamics, harmonies, solos , key changes and other weirdly Who-specific  arrangements. “I can see for miles”, “I’m a  boy” “pictures of Lily” ,”magic bus”, “see me –feel me”. Stu Thomas added backing vocals, and percussion and trumpet and then sang lead for “Pinball Wizard”. People were absolutely loving it. Mick pealing sang “My Generation” (complete with arpeggiated bass solo from Bill McDonald), then they played a trio of amazing hard rock lessons in dynamics and arranged, delayed and suspended and released power. “Behind Blue Eyes”, “Baba O’Riley” (with the long synth introduction and violin solo by James Black) and an amazing “won’t get fooled again”. People know every note of these songs and Bill sang the hell out of them and made all those licks on the guitar totally happen. Nailed it all. Joy! “Won’t Get Fooled again” is so full of weird dynamic changes and vamps on a single chord. A song written and recorded by a band in their own world and at its very peak. The edge of their world. It was so exciting to hear. Within these songs you heard all sorts of other musics by people like the Rasperries and Big Star who totally tripped out on the 60s mod style.

Like a recital of music in the classical world, played by modern players who were still close to it. Outstanding experience.

 


Dave Graney and Clare Moore with Georgio "the dove" Valentino and Malcolm Ross

Dave Graney and Clare Moore with Robin Casinader - In Concert

ONE MILLION YEARS DC

Starts with a Kinksy groover sketching a 21st century populist tyrant who coasts in power on waves of public resentment at those on the lowest rungs of the ladder (He Was A Sore Winner). Sweeps across a sci fi terrain with nods to songs in the sand at the end of the world (Pop Ruins) and nods to the ties that bind in the underground communities (Comrade Of Pop and Where Did All The Freaks Go?). Songs about intense, long relationships, defunct technology that didn’t answer back, severe social status definition (I’m Not Just Any Nobody), people wandering through your mind as if it was a garage sale, the anxiety of the long running showman (wide open to the elements again) and ends with a song that’s “a little bit Merle Haggard and a little bit Samuel Beckett”. " Edith Grove! Powis Square! 56 Hope Road! Petrie Terrace!.. The Roxy! The Odeon! Apollo! Palais! Olympia! The Whisky! Detroit Grande!” Pop Ruins!"

ZIPPA DEEDOO WHAT IS/WAS THAT/THIS?

ZIPPA DEEDOO WHAT IS/WAS THAT/THIS? (The title comes from the chorus of “Song Of Life” ) is a classic rock’n’roll album. Classic if you lived through what has become known as ”the classic rock era” as it rolled out new and even broke onto the beachhead and morphed into punk. That’s the direction Dave Graney and Clare Moore have always been coming from. They have spent their lives schooled by and immersed in rock ‘n’ roll culture. Neither attended higher education and they dived in deep and kept swimming. From the Moodists through the Coral Snakes /White Buffaloes to the mistLY This is an album with their band, Dave Graney and the mistLY. Stuart Perera has played guitar with them since 1998 and Stu Thomas on bass since 2004. MARCH 2019 ZIPPA DEEDOO WHAT IS/WAS THAT/THIS? 2019 album out on Compact Disc - available here via mail order...
If you are from outside of Australia and wish to purchase a Compact Disc copy of ZIPPA DEEDOO WHAT IS/WAS THAT/THIS? please use this button (different postage)

LETS GET TIGHT

FEARFUL WIGGINGS

2014 solo album from Dave Graney. *****"If I've learnt anything in my years of writing about music it's that if you are going to do anything of worth in this tough game, you better have your own thing. Today's generic is easily replaced by tomorrow's. And yet you need to be flexible, to follow wherever the songs demand. In the case of this, only the second credited as a solo album among 30 or so Graney releases, it's a curious yet welcoming lane he walks you down, with acoustic guitars, not much percussion, vibes, smooth sounds. At the end of it you feel like you've awoken from a strange yet pleasant summer's dream. As shot by Luis Bunuel. It ranges from off-kilter reveries (A Woman Skinnies Up a Man, The Old Docklands Wheel) through to the softly seductive (How Can You Get Out of London) and the downright arch (Look Into My Shades, Everything Is Great In The Beginning.) This is music that is neither folk, nor blues, nor country, but it's all Graney, somewhere out to the left field beyond Lee Hazlewood's raised eyebrow. It's astringent on the tongue but sweetens in the telling." Noel Mengel Brisbane Courier Mail

you've been in my mind

June 2012 super high energy pop rock album - blazing electric 12 strings - total 70s rock drive. Greatest yet! available via paypal - $20 pp

rock'n'roll is where I hide/- 2011 "vintage classics/ re recordings" on LIBERATION

SUPERMODIFIED - August 2010 remixed/re-sung/re-strung//remastered/replayed comp via PAYPAL

also available as a digital album

Knock yourself (2009)-first ever dg solo set-filthy electro r&b-available via Paypal- $20

available as a digital album too

We Wuz Curious (2008)-blazing R&B jazz pop album available via paypal-$20


UNAVAILABLE-COMPLETELY SOLD OUT!!!
AVAILABLE AS A DIGITAL album

Keepin' It Unreal-(2006)-minimalist/lyrical vibes,bass and 12 string set - digital or as CD

Hashish and Liquor (2005 double disc by Dave Graney and Clare Moore) available via Paypal $25


UNAVAILABLE-COMPLETELY SOLD OUT!!!
Single album HASHISH available as a digital release

Heroic Blues- "folk soul" set from 2002-Availableas a digital album via BandCamp


UNAVAILABLE ! Completely sold out!

It is written,baby-book released 1997- available $10 via paypal