Stuart Perera plays guitar in our band, the mistLY. He was born in '77, the year I pretty much thought about playing music. We had another guitar player Bill Miller (who hasn’t played with us for seven years) had a number one record with his band , the Ferrets in the same year. We had no trouble talking about musical ideas because we all like playing music. Its like solving a series of problems, or walking across some abstract plane that keeps changing as you set each foot down. Some times its like a 3 dimensional field and you can see where the notes and the beats fall before it happens. Other times its like a fogged battlefield. Does that make us diggers! Cripes!
Bill went off for a walk a while ago. 2005. He was “gonna be some time”. Actually I started to play more guitar and there wasn’t the room or the moolah.
Clare Moore and I have played music together the whole way. Since 1978. We have shared our terrestrial life as well. We get to run out on that abstract field and we are fully manifest there. We know that. We don't talk about it much , we just know it. The band is completed by our bass player Stuart Thomas and, sometimes , our jazz fellow traveller. Mark Fitzgibbon. (He is full of talk, spending so much of his time in a completely abstract, instrumental world. He loves to talk of the indignities that come your way as you live a musical life. Each outrage is documented and recast to his new audience, us, in even grizzler detail.) Mark has been living in Shanghai for the last year or so, playing piano in a jazz band five nights a week.
Stu Thomas plays in the Surrealists with Kim Salmon. He also plays his own music with the Stu Thomas Paradox and with Jane Dust and the Giant Hoopoes (who also feature Clare Moore).
Anyway, we all meet up, like the Wild Bunch and deal with whatever spotfire or situation I have gotten us into. Its not like a band where the experience has all been shared. We all came by a different route. We've all been up and we've all been down. We like to play in this field, this area we know how to operate in. Its like being a pro gambler or a fighter I guess, only the stoned will know. Memory doesn't have much to do with it. We've had to make up some other way to speak with each other. We can't just refer to past battle plans and victories or defeats. Its always been new. We have to go over the top together.
Stuart Perera has played on every album since “the Dave Graney Show” in 1998 the year that broke on us after we finished playing with the Coral Snakes. It was my idea to finish that scene and start again. I needed to do it. Stuart was playing at a VCA jazz youth concert and I asked him to play for us. I was lucky, . He also plays around Melbourne clubs very regularly in a funk outfit. He is highly match fit. Not at all indie either.
Adele Pickvance played bass on that Dave Graney Show cd and several that followed. She left to rejoin the Go Betweens. Stu Thomas has played with us since 2004 and made his recorded debut on “keepin’ it unreal” in 2006.
Most albums we have made have include about 40% of material recorded and played completely at our Ponderosa studio by Clare Moore and myself. The rest we have gone into a bigger room/ studio and laid down tracks with our band.
For this new album “you’ve been in my mind”, like last years “re recordings album “rock’n’roll is where I hide”, we went and put the whole album down in a big room at Soundpark sthudios in Melbourne. All in the room together, with minimal overdubs, only vocals and percussion.
Its always been a thing with us to have a band. The music sounds best with a collective feel and energy. A unit that is locked in together. Someone could write a book about holding a band together. It might be a bit tedious for some but you consider say, Duke Ellington who had 16 of the greatest, (and they all knew it) players in the world of jazz. They rode trains and buses and planes and reassembled on stages together for 40 years! He apparently never sacked anybody. He just sat someone down next to them playing the same instrument. At the beginning of a show they would do a fanfare, a blast of notes. Everybody had to have their own note. Players would call out , “get off my fuckin’ note!”
We also like to have a band because our songs need instrumentation and dynamics. We don’t really believe that everything can be boiled down to a single element of an acoustic guitar. I once saw Prince do an acoustic set on cable tv. It was so throwaway as he knew it was NOT what it was supposed to sound like. Nothing else was revealed. Its the same with songs by August Darnell (Kid Creole). The tunes are simple but the rhythms and melodies are nuanced and sophisticated and need the voices and voicings of a couple of keys players, guitar and percussion as well as drums and bass and vocals to bring it to life.
Occasionally we play a show with a keyboard player. Mark Fitzgibbon, a jazz powerhouse, played with us on “HASHISH and LIQUOR” in 2005 and then on “WE WUZ CURIOUS” in 2008. He’s been involved in the narrative shows, “POINT BLANK” ,”LIVE IN HELL” and “MC BITS”.
Mark was living in Perth for 2009. That year we had the pleasure of playing with ADAM RUDEGEAIR who plays with his own jazz trio as well as with HENRY MANETTA AND THE TRIP.
Clare Moore has recorded and played with the latter as well as with JANE DUST AND THE GIANT HOOPOES (who also feature Stu Thomas on bass) and THE DAMES ( with Kaye Louise Patterson and Rosie Westbrook).
Dave Graney and Clare Moore also played with SALMON,a seven guitar/two drummer hard rock orchestra devised by Kim Salmon very occasionally during 2007-2009 and also as bass and drums with HARRY HOWARDS N.D.E. The NDE have an album out in 2012 called “Near Death Experience “ On Spooky Records.
Stu Thomas has his band THE STU THOMAS PARADOX.
We like to play a pretty upbeat set when we appear. Not much room for ballads.
Our new cd is called “You’ve been in my mind”. Its 12 tracks recorded in two days and mixed by myself over a longer period . Its out on June 22nd. On Cockaigne through Fuse.
Its a guitar jamming pop rock album.The songs are real strong.Written and played together over a long period.
I play a Music Man copy 12 string electric through my solid state Fender amp. Stuart Perera plays a sold bodied Rickenbacker througha small Laney valve amp.
Clare Moore plays her Gretsch kit which she bought in London in 1983. Stu Thomas plays a Fender P bass through an Avalon pre amp into the desk.
It’s the first bunch of new songs I’ve recorded with the mistLY (as a unit with Stu Thomas and Stuart Perera featuring) sing “ we wuz curious” in 2008 (and that was the first album Stu Thomas played on). The last set of new songs of mine that came out was “knock yourself out” in 2009. That was billed as a solo set though Clare wrote half of the songs and played on most and Stu and Stuart guested on many,
Thursday 19th July Lizottes- Kincumber
Friday 20th July – Lizottes – Newcastle
Saturday 21st July – Notes, Newtown
Sunday 22nd July – Lizottes Dee Why
Friday 27th July – the Regal Ballroom – high st Northcote with Matt Walker and Adele and Glenn (Go Betweens/Custard)