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, September 26, 2018

Last Sunday at the Croxton and then dates in Sydney, Central Coast, Canberra and QLD

We have one more Sunday late afternoon show in the front room of the Croxton bandroom and then we play interstate in October and November.
This coming Sunday we will be joined by the Routines who are Jane Dust on guitar and vocals. Emily Jarrett on keys and vocals and Clare Moore on drums and vocals. They have recently been recording some tracks at our studio, The Ponderosa. They have a really unique sound. 

We will be playing with Stuart Perera back on guitar as he will have  returned from a trip to the UK with his father. In Stuarts absence we did a Sunday with Billy Miller on guitar and vocals and one with Coral Snake Rod Hayward on guitar. The latter show was just the day after the wake for Conway Savages's funeral and we had learned a few White Buffaloes era songs to play at that but the PA setup was not ideal for a full band.

On the Tuesday before the funeral I dedicated the playlist of mys show on TRIPLE R to playing "epic sad shit for Conway". You can listen to it on demand here
The wake itself was a real celebration of Conways life and had people from all the summers of Conways life in attendance. It thankfully lacked the hyper gloominess and showbiz emotional showing out of many rock n roll funerals. People came from more than just that sometimes grimy and downbeat scene. The funeral was held earlier in the day and was attended by close family.
Bruce Kane, who played with Conway in the Legendary Boy Kings and grew up with him as a teen organized a lot of the proceedings. It was held at a hall in Kew that has been redeveloped by Nicole Fraser and Noel Crombie. Mick Harvey set up a small vocal PA.  I was given the task of being MC and many people got up to speak. Bruce Kane and Jim White, Kaye Louise Patterson, Penny Ikinger, Matt Crosbie (FOH for the Bad Seeds) and Seeds bass player Martyn Casey. 
First speakers were Nick Cave and Warren Ellis via a video from LA.  Nick spoke sweetly and warmly of Conway and they played INTO MY ARMS. 
I was handed the eulogy that had been read earlier by Conways eldest brother, Frank, at the family service. It was about five pages long and all hand written and it was requested I read it, which I did. 
There were musical performances by Kaye Louise Patterson and Jeff Williams (Acuffs Rose), Jess Mcann and Mick Turner, Cash Savage, Jane and Frank Savage and a grand show stomper when Garry Adams joined the latter to end proceedings. It was a very "country" affair. Loose and joyful.

So yes, the next day we regrouped at the Croxton and played with Rod Hayward on guitar. Rod set up his Marshall amp ( a rarely seen beast in inner city Melbourne) and we played  a 90s heavy set. Barry C Douglas captured us playing Gene Clark's In A Misty Morning. Something we hadn't played for twenty five years.

The show was very enjoyable, as was the next week with Billy Miller (for that we played mostly 21st century songs) . The room at the Croxton is extermely good, very clean and newly fitted out with couches and stools and a great PA and stage. We are the only band who plays there and it'll go dark again when we finish . A pity, as its perfect for Sunday afternoon shows. As its not really on the map we've had to promote the shows ourselves and it has been up and down but I'm glad we did it. We just wanted to play in Melbourne more this year. Admission is less expensive if you book online.  Tickets here 

After this we head to Sydney, the Central Coast,  Canberra, Nambour on the Sunshine Coast and Brisbane.
November 9th Dave Graney and Clare Moore will be playing the Bison Bar in Nambour, QLD.
Nov 10th and Nov 11th Dave Graney and Clare Moore play the Junk Bar in Brisbane, Qld. The 7pm shows on both nights are SOLD OUT but 4pm shows have been added. Here is a link to the Sunday 4pm show.

A recent interview with Dave Graney by Kate Rae here.

Some sealed vinyl copies of My Life On The Plains (1989) and I Was The Hunter And i Was The Prey (1990) were sourced from the original label. The latter sold out pretty quickly but  MY LIFE ON THE PLAINS will be available at our shows only.

We are still working on an album for release in 2019. Its sounding like its going to be a  pretty sprawling affair.  We have recorded roughly 14 tracks and some with multiple versions. Some just myself or with Clare Moore and a really great session at Soundpark with the mistLY. I've been writing a lot of songs and hope to do a minimalist album with Clare Moore as well. Just guitar and vibes, including instrumental songs. (Plans never seem to happen the way they are supposed to though).

I read the novel THE INVISIBLE MAN by Ralph Ellison, a classic of African Amercian literature.  Always amazed to read language that was decades ahead of its mainstream appearance. This was written in 1948 and its in a black world from the South up to Harlem and people refer to their "black brothers' and curse people as "mother foulers".

I am currently reading a book called "Englands Green and Pleasant Land", a collection of magazine articles by JW Robertson Scott. This is a paperback published in 1925 and he writes of life in the Englsih countryside. Its poor and grim though its illuminating to see himwriting about city people moving to the countryside. He calls them , "Back to Landers". His writing is that sort of highly distilled voice I have always been impressed by. Sentences happen with great (but casual and easy) impact and contain information others take pages to get down.

I have been listening to a lot of new music but have developed a kink for late 70s AOR. I love to listen to artists from that perdios reactions to Punk and New Wave. Its also fascinating to listen to such expensively produced recordings. It'll never happen again. Artists I am collecting include Carly Simon, Nicolette Larsen, America, Bob Welch and a lot of UK soft rock such as Gallagher And Lyle and Sutherland Brothers and Quiver. I still can't get enough of Family ( or anything with their singer Roger Chapman) , Johnny Mark and Jon Almond (Mark Almond Band) , Genesis, Martin Carthy, Audience and any kind of jazz. As to the latter I picked up a great Bix Beiderbecke re issue album, some Hubert Laws, Milt Jackson, Eddie Lang and an album of Hoagy Carmichael songs by Georgie Fame from 1981 called "Hoagland".

My memoir WORKSHY is still available.  Booktopia has free postage for overseas people.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

notes from recent writers festival event reading John Cowper Powys

I did a couple of Melbourne Writers Festival events at a wonderful venue called The Mission To Seafarers on an area known as Docklands. An amorphous, ambiguous part of of the city, right on the edge of the CBD. It used to be quieter and more deserted, just vacant lots on the way to Port Melbourne one way and toward Footscray and the west on the other. It used to be quieter and more desolate. Slower, around that way. Now its no place to walk around, the freeway traffic all around . 

Up to the late 90s there were still a couple of those  WW2 Nissan huts to be seen around that way. Here is an image of some used for migrant hostels in the 1950s in another part of Melbourne.

Then a football stadium was dropped in it and the old Mission To Seafarers was sandwiched between that and all the new Docklands development and the roads leading off to the Freeway to the south eastern suburbs.
It has been lucky to survive redevelopment and I'm glad to see it getting used for arts events. It is still used as a facility for stranded, broke sailors from all parts of the world. 

In Melbourne it is comparable to the wonderful TRADES HALL which has also been used for theatre and comedy productions and events. Walking up those stairs which have been smoothed by a couple of generations of union workers trudging up and down them to deliver good and bad news with added bullet holes in some areas adds a great ambience to theatre events. Other rooms with faded but well preserved 70s decor also add some stature to proceedings. 

Actually, just to avoid being too parochial, I got to say that Semaphore Workers Club near Port Adelaide is hard to beat for sheer Commie Glamour. 

Anyway, I did three events at the Melbourne Writers Festival, a festival curated in 2018 by Marieke Hardy who took it as a challenge to open it all up to people not necessarily from the world of publishing and literature. She copped some grief but she did a great job and thought a lot about the venues and the accessability of the whole enterprise. So, Kudos to her.

For my part, I like arts things to lean toward seriousness and high minded thoughts. My heart sinks when I see any touches of circus or burlesque type activity. 

I also think writers should be as awkward and quiet as they like to be and shouldn't be expected to be entertainers or click in easily with panel type quipping situations. 

Thats my bag. Keep it sober. Keep it weird. Let the writers be writers.

The first two events were to do with "words and music", writers and musicians. I had my book WORKSHY out and thats why I was there.  To front up for the work. One of the events was at the Mission To Seafarers and another at ACMI. They were both enjoyable and nobody died. One was billed , strangely, as a "singalong". That was never going to happen, though I sang a song called HEROC BLUES when asked to do something in that area. 

The third event I did was at Mission To Seafarers and it was my response to being asked to "read or perform something from a writer I liked". I suggested I read from the works of John Cowper Powys as I always love his books. They are very intoxicating.

This was billed as "Dave Graneys Poetry Jam". I went along with it. It was easy to introduce myself and say that I was going to read some prose from an author I loved. Not poetry. I got to the venue quite early as I was in town to do another event and it didnt make sense to travel in and out of town. I spent a  few hours in the green room, reading my writers books in a corner as a group of twenty somethings battled for rights to speak and argued and flirted at a table on the other side of the room. Various genders and ethnicity from various states. Gender was a big theme in their discussions, dominated by a bearded young person in hippie Robinson Crusoe pants, topknot and beard who told everybody repeatedly about their identification and struggles as a trans writer in Brisbane. There was also a moment between a young woman from Brooklyn establishing some transient status with a  young Canadian woman who was volunteering at the venue. Drama. You know I love that sort of stuff.

Then Will Anderson came in and got ready for his talk with retired footballer Robert Murphy. I sat in the room downstairs and listened to them. Eventually it was my turn to read.

These are the notes I read from ....

I like to start these sorts of things just talking in the moment rather than reading anything. I asked the people present not to laugh or snigger at anything they might think "weird" or "perverse" as thats a lot of what Powys is about. He celebrated all his kinks.

I started with the opening page of A GLASTONBURY ROMANCE.

"At the striking of noon on a certain Fifth of March, there occurred within a causal radius of Brandon railway-station and yet beyond the deepest pools of emptiness between the uttermost stellar systems one of those infinitesimal ripples in the creative silence of the First Cause which always occur when an exceptional stir of heightened consciousness agitates any living organism in this astronomical universe. Something passed at that moment, a wave, a motion, a vibration, too tenuous to be called magnetic, too subliminal to be called spiritual, between the soul of a particular human being who was emerging from a third-class carriage of the twelve-nineteen train from London and the divine-diabolic soul of the First Cause of all life.
In the soul of the great blazing sun, too, as it poured down its rays upon this man’s head, while he settled his black travelling bag comfortably in his left hand and his hazel-stick in his right, there were complicated superhuman vibrations; but these had only the filmiest, faintest, remotest connexion with what the man was feeling. They had more connexion with the feelings of certain primitive tribes of men in the heart of Africa and with the feelings of a few intellectual sages in various places in the world who had enough imagination to recognise the conscious personality of this fiery orb as it flung far and wide its life-giving magnetic forces. Roaring, cresting, heaving, gathering, mounting, advancing, receding, the enormous fire-thoughts of this huge luminary surged resistlessly to and fro, evoking a turbulent aura of psychic activity, corresponding to the physical energy of its colossal chemical body, but affecting this microscopic biped’s nerves less than the wind that blew against his face.
Far nearer to the man’s conscious and half-conscious feelings, with his overcoat buttoned under his chin and his fingers tightening upon stick and bag as he moved to the station-entrance, were the vast, dreamy life-stirrings of the soul of the earth. Aware in a mysterious manner of every single one of all the consciousnesses, human and subhuman, to which she has given birth, the earth might have touched with a vibrant inspiration this particular child of hers, who at twenty minutes after twelve handed up his ticket to the station-master and set out along a narrow dusty March road towards Brandon Heath. That she did not do this was due to the simple fact that the man instead of calling upon her for help called habitually upon the soul of his own dead mother. Jealous and exacting are all the gods, and a divided worship is abhorrent to them.
John Crow had given a hurried, suspicious sideways glance, before he left the platform, at the group of fellow-travellers who were gathered about the heap of luggage flung from the guard’s van. They all, without exception, seemed to his agitated mind to be attired in funeral garb. He himself had a large band of crape sewn upon his sleeve and a black tie. “I’m glad I ran in to Monsieur Teste’s to buy a black tie,” he thought as he met the wind on the open road. “I never would have thought of it if Lisette hadn’t pushed me to it at the end.”
John Crow was a frail, thin, loosely-built man of thirty-five. He had found himself a penniless orphan at twenty. From that time onward he had picked up his precarious and somewhat squalid livelihood in Paris. Traces of these fifteen years of irregular life could be seen writ large on his gaunt features. Something between the down-drifting weakness of a congenital tramp and the unbalanced idealism of a Don Quixote hovered about his high cheek-bones and about the troubled droop of his mouth. One rather disturbing contradiction existed in his face. There was a constant twitching of his cheeks beneath his sunken eye-sockets; and this peculiarity, combined with a furtive, almost foxy, slant about the contraction of his eyelids, contrasted disconcertingly with the expression in the eyes themselves. This expression resembled one particular look, as of a sea-creature without a human soul, that Scopas gives to his creations".

I was reading from a lectern and had a stack of about ten books withpassages marked to read from and did so at random. I interspersed these with some quotes from people who tried to put him into some sort of context.  I read from "Autobiography", "Poruis", "Maiden Castle", "The Brazen Head", "Weymouth Sands", "Two Confessions" and "Three stories". The latter was written shortly before he died at the age of 91 in 1963.

He was a writer of tragic grandeur and everyday comedy, of sexual perversion and cups of tea. He wrote poems, essays, epic fictions, letters and autobiography. Words poured out of him - and he never reread any of them”. Margaret Drabble


..... Powys's work is full of paradoxes and surprises. He was extremely prolific, yet a late starter; his manner was heroic, yet bathetic. He was a writer of tragic grandeur and of everyday comedy, of sexual perversion, and of bread and butter and cups of tea. (More bread and butter is consumed and more tea drunk in the novels of John Cowper Powys than in the whole of the rest of English literature.) He wrote poems, and essays, and gargantuan epic fictions, and manuals of self-help, and innumerable letters. Words poured from him, and he was famous for never rereading any of them. It is left to us, the readers, to lose ourselves in his creation, and to try to emerge from it and to make some sense of it. It is no wonder that mainstream literary critics have avoided him, and that a handful of scholars and addicts have clustered round his oeuvre. He is so far outside the canon that he defies the concept of a canon.

His six major novels - Wolf Solent (1929), A Glastonbury Romance (1932), Weymouth Sands (1934), Maiden Castle (1936), Owen Glendower (1940) and Porius (1951) - are formidably long, and not always in print

The most accessible of his important publications is probably his Autobiography (1934)


....  born in 1872 in Derbyshire, where his father was then vicar at Shirley, near Dovedale.

...from Cambridge he embarked on a curious freelance career as an itinerant lecturer on English literature, supported in part by a small allowance from his father. Under the auspices of the Dickensian agency of Gabbitas-Thring, he began speaking in girls' schools and colleges in the south of England, much taken with the slender beauty of the flurry of "sylphs" he encountered, but soon, thanks to the Oxford Extension Society, he was covering the length and breadth of the country. He was entertained in private houses, where he learned much about class and society: "There was one weekly or fortnightly round ... that caused me to leave Newcastle on Tyne before six in the morning when I used to see the sun rise over the bleak Northumberland hills, lecture in Lewes, after I had seen the sun set over the South Downs, and get to my home in West Sussex that same night."

Deeply unhappy and restless, he went to the United States in 1905 and, apart from the occasional visit to England, stayed there until 1934, working as a travelling lecturer.

The vanished world of the American lecture circuit, in which Powys was Ancient Mariner and Don Quixote, Moses with his tables and the old man of the sea, made strenuous demands on those who panned its gold for their livelihood. “Once on this accursed tour my stomach was so upset that I dreamt of nothing else but going to look for places where I could shit in peace.

His godson was to say of him, memorably, that he was "more plant than animal; more mineral than either. He was dust and rock and feather and fin talking with a man's tongue" (Seven Friends, Louis (Marlow) Wilkinson, 1992).

His notions of sexual satisfaction centred around masturbation, voyeurism and fondling. He liked girls to sit on his knee, and he also got sexual satisfaction from reciting poetry at them.

His appetite for food was as unusual as his appetite for sex: he became, nominally, a vegetarian, but eschewed most vegetables, surviving for years, he claimed, on a diet of eggs, bread and milk, with occasional treats of guava jelly. This gave him severe gastric trouble, and he had to endure a painful form of surgery that he labels "gasterenterostomy". In his later years, he depended for bowel function entirely on enemas, a procedure of which he highly approved, as it facilitated meditation.
Reality, in his own phrase, lies "between the urinal and the stars".

After My Fashion, written in 1919, was based in part on his unlikely friendship with the American dancer Isadora Duncan: This did not find a publisher until Picador brought it out in 1980. Once it was rejected, he did not bother to pursue its fate, but let it go

Porius: A Romance of the Dark Ages, a work that beggars description. He thought it his best. Set in October in 499 AD, it is more like a mountain landscape or an epic poem than a novel. Its characters include King Arthur, a Pelagian monk, a Roman matron, a Jewish doctor, the shape-shifting Myrddin Wyllt (otherwise known as Merlin), the bard Taliessin and a family of completely convincing aboriginal giants, who live on the slopes of Snowdon. We also meet the Three Aunties, grey-haired princess survivors of the old race. In this twilight of the gods, the cult of Mithras, the old faith of the Druids, the fading power of Rome and the rising force of Christianity do battle for a week beneath a waxing moon, while Powys's characters intermittently find time to reflect on past times, and congratulate themselves on being so modern. There is comedy, Miltonic sublimity, chaos and confusion in equal measure.

Powys has been described as "one of the great puzzles of 20th century literature." His critics dismiss him as a crackpot mystagogue. His admirers, and they are many, find it more difficult to describe what captures their imagination. It is a fascinating aspect of his genius that he attracts readers with widely diverse interests, and they treasure his novels for different reasons - for his comic scenes, for his erotic fantasies, for his entrancing images, for his penetrating psychological perception, for his philosophy of life.

Powys avoided literary company; he would no sooner have taken part in a writer's conference than in a gathering of morticians. A triumphant solitary, he also avoided nonliterary company.

yet he did belong to at least one literary group -- his family. Of his ten siblings, six ended up writing books.

"The deepest emotion I have is my malice against the well-constituted as compared with the ill-constituted," he declared in his Autobiography, adding, "Dwarfs, morons, idiots, imbeciles, hunchbacks, degenerates, perverts, paranoiacs, neurasthenics, every type of individual upon whom the world looked down, I loved ... admired ... and imitated."

He was forty-three when he published a collaborative memoir with his brother Llewelyn titled Confessions of Two Brothers (1916).

At age fifty-eight he began to earn his living, or what passed for a living, as a writer.

A diet of raw eggs, milk, olive oil, and bread crusts did little to assuage it. His bowels were so out of whack that he had to have an enema every third day.

Powys didn't bang his head so much as tap it against the mailbox, a ritual he believed would ensure the safe delivery of a letter. He would also utter lengthy incantations while bathing, and walk exactly the same route every day, bowing to exactly the same trees and stones. One of these stones he named "the god of Phudd." Another he named Perdita. Perdita, he wrote, was "the only daughter I shall ever have"; he once felt obliged to kiss his geologic offspring nine times because his dog had peed on it (her?).

He never drove a car and never used a typewriter. He thought television was pernicious. He didn't like talking on the telephone, because he didn't want his words violated by a tangle of wires.

Powys's literary output in old age was so voluminous that upon learning he had died in his ninety-first year, in 1963, one is almost inclined to say "Yes, but did he stop writing?"

“I tell you, any lie as long as a multitude of souls believes it and presses that belief to the cracking point, creates new life, while the slavery of what is called truth drags us down to death and to the dead! Lies, magic, illusion – these are names we give to the ripples on the water of our experience when the Spirit of Life blows upon it.”

“though books, as Milton says, may be the embalming of mighty spirits, they are also the resurrection of rebellious, reactionary, fantastical, and wicked spirits! in books dwell all the demons and all the angels of the human mind. it is for this reason that a a bookshop -- especially a second-hand bookshop / antiquarian - is an arsenal of explosives, an armory of revolutions, an opium den of reaction.

and just because books are the repository of all the redemptions and damnations, all the sanities and insanities, of the divine anarchy of the soul, they are still, as they have alwasys been, an object of suspicion to every kind of ruling authority. in a second-hand bookshop are the horns of the altar where all the outlawed thoughts of humanity can take refuge! here, like depserate bandits, hide all the reckless progeny of our wild, dark, self-lacerating hearts. a bookshop is powder-magazine, a dynamite-shed, a drugstore of poisons, a bar of intoxicants, a den of opiates, an island of sirens.

of all the 'houses of ill fame' which a tyrant, a bureaucrat, a propagandist, a moralist, a champion of law and order, an advocate of keeping people ignorant for their own good, hurries past with averted eyes or threatens with this minions, a bookshop is the most flagrant.

~ autobiography”
John Cowper Powys

“It always gave Wolf a peculiar thrill thus to tighten his grip upon his stick, thus to wrap himself more closely in his faded overcoat. Objects of this kind played a queer part in his secret life-illusion. His stick was like a plough-handle, a ship's runner, a gun, a spade, a sword, a spear. His threadbare overcoat was like a medieval jerkin, like a monk's habit, like a classic toga! It gave him a primeval delight merely to move one foot in front of the other, merely to prod the ground with his stick, merely to feel the flapping of his coat about his knees, when this mood predominated. It always associated itself with his consciousness of the historic continuity---so incredibly charged with marvels of dreamy fancy---of human beings moving to and fro across the earth. It associated itself, too, with his deep, obstinate quarrel with modern inventions, with modern machinery....”
John Cowper Powys, Wolf Solent

“The first discovery of Dostoievsky is, for a spiritual adventurer, such a shock as is not likely to occur again. One is staggered, bewildered, insulted. It is like a hit in the face, at the end of a dark passage; a hit in the face, followed by the fumbling of strange hands at one's throat. Everything that has been forbidden, by discretion, by caution, by self-respect, by atavistic inhibition, seems suddenly to leap up out of the darkness and seize upon one with fierce, indescribable caresses.

  All that one has felt, but has not dared to think; all that one has thought, but has not dared to say; all the terrible whispers from the unspeakable margins; all the horrible wreckage and silt from the unsounded depths, float in upon us and overpower us.

There is so much that the other writers, even the realists among them, cannot, will not, say. There is so much that the normal self-preservative instincts in ourselves do not want said. But this Russian has no mercy. Such exposures humiliate and disgrace? What matter? It is well that we should be so laid bare. Such revelations provoke and embarrass? What matter? We require embarrassment. The quicksilver of human consciousness must have no closed chinks, no blind alleys. It must be compelled to reform its microcosmic reflections, even down there, where it has to be driven by force. It is extraordinary how superficial even the great writers are; how lacking in the Mole's claws, in the Woodpecker's beak! They seem labouring beneath some pathetic vow, exacted by the Demons of our Fate, under terrible threats, only to reveal what will serve their purpose! This applies as much to the Realists, with their traditional animal chemistry, as to the Idealists, with their traditional ethical dynamics. It applies, above all, to the interpreters of Sex, who, in their conventional grossness, as well as in their conventional discretion, bury such Ostrich heads in the sand!”
John Cowper Powys, Visions and Revisions; A Book of Literary Devotions

“...we have a right to narrow down our universe ever further and further; until like the world of the Iliad and the Odyssey it is made up of certain simple endurances, enjoyments, mental and physical struggles, surrounded by the washing of the sea, the blowing of the wind, the swaying of the wheat, the falling of the rain, the voyaging of the clouds, and the motions of the sun and moon and dawn and twilight.”
John Cowper Powys

Wolf, speaking to his father's skull in the ground beneath him, argues "There is no reality but what the mind fashions out of itself. There is nothing but a mirror opposite a mirror, and a round crystal opposite a round crystal, and a sky in water opposite water in a sky"

The response is:

“‘Ho! Ho! You worm of my folly,’ laughed the hollow skull. ‘I am alive still, though I am dead; and you are dead, though you’re alive. For life is beyond your mirrors and your waters. It’s at the bottom of your pond; it’s in the body of your sun; it’s in the dust of your star spaces; it’s in the eyes of weasels and the noses of rats and the pricks of nettles and the tongues of vipers and the spawn of frogs and the slime of snails. Life is in me still, you worm of my folly, and girls’ flesh is sweet for ever; and honey is sticky and tears are salt, and yellow-hammers’ eggs have mischievous crooked scrawls!"

And later

"My 'I am I' is no hard, small crystal inside me, but a cloudy, a vapour, a mist, a smoke hovering round my skull, hovering around my spine, my arms, my legs. That's what I am, a vegetable animal wrapped in a mental cloud, and with the will-power to project this cloud into the consciousness of others.


-->In the end, I don't know what anybody made of it. People got up and left, people wandered in during the reading. Clare's brother Dennis was there and he enjoyed it. He is a lifelong theatre actor and a reader of Powys. I don't think there were many others matching his life experience/life illusion in the audience. It was just something I wanted to do and I hope I did his work justice.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Conway Savage - The Honky Tonk On The Hill.

Conway Savage and Nick Danyi (sax in the Feral Dinosaurs) at our wedding in Adelaide in 1985

Conway Savage at our wedding with his then partner, Miriam White (sister to Jim).

Conway Savage  , who played with myself  and Clare Moore all through 1989 and a lot of 1990 with Dave Graney and the White Buffaloes - including the recording of MY LIFE ON THE PLAINS - sadly died just yesterday. He had been true friends of ours since the early 80s. Really early days, scratching out some chords and trying for licks in Melbourne. We loved him in the Feral Dinosaurs and the incredible Dave Last and the Legendary Boy Kings. (He'd been in earlier bands than that but he never talked about them , just as we never talked about our first bands. Getting into shape as a player took time for us all. The early days were both a fight and a fright .....)   

Conway at a FROGGA machine in at SING SING studios in Richmond , 1989 when we recorded MY LIFE ON THE PLAINS with producer PHIL VINALL. Cans of VB were ubiquitous in the Melbourne scene then. No craft beer jive - no foreign muck - just MELBOURNE BEER! IN A CAN!

The White Buffaloes were a great band and we just hit on a unique sound. Mostly my songs but covers I chose from Gene Clarke, Fred Neil, Gram Parsons, Doug Sahm, Buffy Saint Marie, the Charlatans and Conways own arrangement of "The Streets Of Laredo" (which I sang) . Nobody else was doing anything close to us then. Kind of buckskin country rock but touched with psychedelia from both sides of the Atlantic. Before Alt Country was a word on some PR assistants lips. 
He started to do his own shows at the time too, very downbeat ballads mixed with crazed rockabilly raveups. We all loved Jerry Lee and George Jones. He'd pretty much destroy his funny old half mechanical electric piano doing a  show stopper called "Honky Tonk On The Hill". He'd kick everything over and walk off. A great period in Melbourne music. He also loved Randy Travis and Guy Clark and had a  peculiar all protein diet. Lots of eggs and chicken wings. And beer and red wine and weed. 

art by Dave Western

Clare and I had arrived back in Melbourne after being away for five or six years and thought we could put a holiday band together. It wasn't meant to last so long or to produce an actual album but it did just that. Conway brought Rod Hayward along to a rehearsal and we played with Rod from 1988 until the end of 1997. We also play occasionally with him to this day. 

pic Wayne O Farrell, White Buffaloes, Melbourne 1989.

Early on Clare had also worked  with Conway in one of those stints in the public service we all did to get some coin in our lives. It was in the tax department in the early 80s. Conway was an assessor as he'd finished High School (Unlike Clare who was a dropout) The country didn't go broke! Nobody died!

David Palliser (then in the People With Chairs Up Their Noses with Jim White, Mark Barry  and Jim Shugg) , Conway and Miriam.

He also played cricket well into his twenties and on the occasions I saw him playing in park games at parties, he enjoyed working on his technique more than trying to hit everything for six.  


 He left us to join Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds in 1990 but kept producing his own music all the way. He seemed to break through to a beautiful new lighthearted tone with a  series of EPs in the last decade. Titles like Quicky For Ducky and Pussys Bow. He was working in a unique organ, guitar and electric piano trio with Robert Tickner and Amanda Fox.

He always kept it real and tight with those friends from early days in Melbourne. Bruce Kane (Boy Kings and future director of the tv show RECOVERY)  and Amanda Fox were in Honeymoon in Green (who might have had Conway in them for a short time) along with Andrew Crowder and Shane Walsh (RIP- also of the Boy Kings and Tex, Don and Charlie) . A lot of them came from the Victorian places he'd grown up in. Terang, Orbost, Fish Creek, Port Albert, Marlo. His parents ran pubs in some of those towns. He had three older brothers, Frank, Charlie and Geordie and his sister Meredith. He leaves behind his daughter Grace, who came from Conway and Dinah.

 I tried to write about Conway in my book, 1001 Australian Nights...

It was a short walk across to one of the performance tents but a sudden shower brought sheets of rain toward us, sideways. Everybody huddled in even tighter.Clammy folk! . There were annoying people holding onto their positions with deck chairs, reading books. (To be fair, last years festival was apparently 40 degrees and the stages were outdoors. More of a folk festival scene.) Conway Savage sits on stage left, facing in with an electric piano, an ashtray and a bottle of red, Robbie stands dead centre with an electric guitar and Amanda Fox sits on stage right, facing in, with an organ and an accordion. It is a great sound they have and they were the main act I wanted to see. The two keys and the guitar playing alternately, rhythm and bass runs as well as chords sat so well together. It is also an unpredictable sound which makes them an experience whenever they play. Conway sings on and off mic, drifting in and out of your hearing. More like a jazz band than anything else. Conway is also, jarringly, a very country guy. He is tough and wiry and kooky in a George Jones/ Hank Williams kind of way. Upbeat and unpredictable. In short, he is a real Bad Seed. To this end he displays flashes of personality in a scene which can be a bit of a museum display. (Please leave personality at the door) He tells people to amuse themselves while he pours a drink and then talks of the instability of his piano and the stage, rather than the lyrics of the next song. He is a wildman. It was stellar.

A week later we saw Conway and his posse again, we were keen to catch them in a club. It is a cool venue, upstairs, with a lot of space and a good stage. Conway adds some drama by falling backwards from the said stage before beginning. (Mistaking a cloth hanging curtain which goes the length of the stage, for a wall). He seems to hurt himself but springs to his feet and yells "nobody saw that!"
It is a great sound. Bass and drums would ruin it. A perfect sound. The feels of the songs are very varied, some being so light hearted and upbeat. In one lilting tune with a rocksteady/ska beat Conway sings "let the good times roll" and smiles. He is in the ZONE to be getting away with some of that stuff! Really, they have something going on and Conways enjoying himself so much. He started playing solo gigs back in 88/89 when he was in the Boy Kings and also playing with us in the White Buffaloes. He was all hopped up on Randy Travis and Jerry Lee Lewis back then. Wild, rollicking songs like "honky tonk on the hill" and "honky tonk road" as well as great arrangements of songs in the public domain like " the steets of Laredo" and "fair and tender ladies". He then ran away with the Bad Seeds but all the while he's been sitting in rooms somewhere, practicing his licks and going over and over old and new songs. He must have recorded three or four albums ( as well as being a full time Bad Seeds) in the ensuing years so his material is aged single malt stuff. His demeanour onstage is also 190 proof country. He is unpredictable and unmediated. Squares could take offence, or get bamboozled, or come along for the ride. He has a funny kind of "hey people!" way of relating talking about his songs, sometimes into the mic and mostly off mic and makes great play of lighting cigarettes and putting a harmonica around his neck. People laugh as he mumbles and drawls, he keeps it up until one line too far, then, to the silent breathing, he asks "where's the laughs now?" and trills a few notes. He really is a honky tonk man and is beyond that kind of city appropriation of country music for its gauche and exotic trappings and surreal formalities that springs up every ten years or so. Tall and stringy with flecks of grey in his hair, he is the real deal. The honkytonk on the hill he once wrote and sang about himself. His accompanists, Amanda and Robert are perfectly poised and alive to the playfulness of his songs. They hear him and anticipate and can match him. They are old friends and have really found something rich in the current setup. It works. The songs are short but strangely meandering and willful all at once. Ephemeral and light.

 We saw him at a party in March. Chris Walsh's birthday. He was quite positive that he had survived his brain tumour and treatment and was talking about coming to our studio to record. Then we heard nothing until last month. The bad news was that hed gone into a rapid decline. We got to see him a few times. His sister Meredith and her partner Dean took incredible care of Conway in his last months. Right up to the end.

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

Dave Graney and Clare Moore with Robin Casinader - In Concert


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? (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)



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


Keepin' It Unreal-(2006)-minimalist/lyrical vibes, bass, 12 string set - CDs sold out - digital only

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

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