Its been a worrying time of hotels and strange, nagging discomfort...
I was in Darwin at a friends place a little over three weeks ago and enjoying some company and food when I moved in the deck chair and felt a splinter prick my right glute.
The next day I was in bed and realized it was still there and was able to retrieve it. I extracted it. Pulledit. Ouch! Drama! I know!
But I am a rocker. Also, I was raised on the much feared east side of Mt Gambier and played for the evan more fearsome East Gambier Football Club. It hurt like hell but I showed no sign of pain.
We returned to Melbourne and I did a Parlour gig and then a show in Adelaide where again, I slid into a bed larger than my own and felt the presence of something still in the right glute. More splinter! I did another show in Kyneton and then started to google the possibilities of splinters working their way through your body to your heart or worse and then, just as I was about to dial the ambulance, I heard of a product called MAGNOPLASM which draws out splinters. I scored some from a dealer in Upwey and applied it. A really hard GOO which is placed on a bandaid and then onto the affected area. A week later it came out .
In the meantime I had struggled through solo shows in Nambour and Brisbane. Just like the novel by Julien Green, EACH MAN IN HIS DARKNESS.
Clare Moore and myself had also had a days and night out in the hitherto undiscovered area of reclaimed swamps and industrial land that is called DOCKLANDS. Apologies if the images are blurred but I was still dealing with THE SPLINTER and had not yet told Clare Moore of my perilous situation. It was all I could do to press the button on the phone.
We used to live nearby in Port and South Melbourne for a lot of the 90s. It was then quite empty and desolate, just the sort of cityscapes we love. We walked around the bottom end of Spencer st near the Waterside Worers Hotel which used to be the earliest place a hardened drinker could rush a growler in the city. Nearby was where I got a tattoo in 1981, because Chris Walsh and Tracy Pew and everybody else had done so...Yes, it was quality peer pressure.
We had a refreshing lemon squash in a pub that had been built inside a former police staation. People could dine in what used to be cells. The building was all in magnificent bluestone. We went two steps into what for a decade or more was a derelict hulk called THE DEAD LETTER OFFICE but was now a poker machine hotel. Two steps in and the security guard was barking at me to take my hat off. This was at 4:30 pm on a Monday afternoon. "Is this an RSL?" I asked.
He replied "take your hat off..."
"Do I have to respect the poker machines?" I asked.
"Take your hat off" was his reply. (Its for the security camers or facial recognition)
There was nobody in there but him.
We left and continued walking. We only wanted to look at what they'd made of the building.
(It reminded me of the time I was refused entry to The Cherry Bar -a bespoke rock n roll cculture bar....- because I was wearing a suit. The security had been told not to let "suits" in. )
We walked past the tower block which had caught fire recently. Cheap, flammable cladding. There was an inquiry and none of its recommendations have been taken up. Of course. Not.
Hopefully the entire area will become cheap apartments for vintage bohemians?
Still. The splinter was preying on my behind. I told Clare Moore of my parlous condition.She humoured me.
The show In Nambour on the Sunshine Coast was just me solo. I borrowed Matt Walkers enormous metal guitar roadcase and took off with my 1958 Ibanez Archtop and a suitcase with pedal board and books and CDs in it.
I was wearing a grey showbiz coat with black satin collar.
The car I hired was upgraded to a Toyota Landcruiser, like a yacht. It took me an hour to understand the electronic key and how you couldn't test if the door was locked if the key was in your hand or pocket as it automaticaly unlocked when that key was anywhere in proximity. This shit is TOO smart.
I played to a full house for two sets through an amp lent by the venue owner ( who is a member of the great SHIFTING SANDS) which was a Vase head through a Vox cabinet.
Requests were for MORRISON FLOORSHOW, THREE DEAD PASSENGERS IN A STOLEN SECONS HAND FORD and ROCK'N'ROLL IS WHERE I HIDE. All of which I did. Someone had asked for DEEP INSIDE A SONG but I didn't feel like it. They'd asked for one of the others.
I had been worried about the Brisbane venue as I didn't think it was the right fit. We were to have been doing two nights there with the mistLY but at some point I cracked it and said I would do it all solo. Sometimes I get fed up with the amount of work - especially PR - that is put onto the musician to do for a show. Lots of venues are like this, I call them ROBOGIGS. Like Formule 1 motels.
Anyway, I booked into my hotel and strolled up to the venue, the owner was heavily tattooed and looked beleagured with life. He asked me if I'd organized a door person. I left him with the idea he was to look into it. The venue looked like some sort of den in Amsterdam. I still felt pretty fresh.
I came back to the venue and spoke on the phone with an old friend outside on a bench in the sun as a rockabilly band pounded away inside.
My friends Pascalle Burton and Ian Powne came along, Ian with a Vox amp and Pascalle with a commitment to doing the door- and I hadn't even asked. What a champ!
Pascalle and Ian are from a great Brisbane band called the Stress of Leisure.
picture Pascalle Burton
I played two sets to a pretty well full house. Brisbane people have a way of finding you. Venues chop and change so much its always stressful going up there to play. The young sound guy was great to chat to. He is from a band called REQUIN.
Requests were for FEELIN KINDA SPORTY and RAW POWER, the latter from a very drunk man.
I played songs from ZIPPA DEEDOO WHAT IS/WAS THAT/THIS? as well as lots of older songs, unrecorded songs and covers of the Rolling Stones TIME WAITS FOR NO ONE and CHILD OF THE MOON.
Picture Melissa Field
My audience is vintage and scattered and I love it when they are able to tune in and turn up. Its not easy in the modern, atomized world to keep in touch with anything.
Oh, the second splinter had come out in the afternon before the gig.
We are playing in Melbourne this Saturday night. June 29th. This is the city where we live and where we play the least. This will be a great room and a full rock'n'roll show. Not like those other shows, PROPER!
Saturday June 29th - The Caravan Music Club - Bentleigh Special guest Sean McMahon
July 12th - THE GOV - Adelaide.Special guests The Sunday Reeds
Oh, work is continuing for our second album for 2019 and it should be out in November.
In the meantime I am looking for a venue to do a loose night in. A Monday or Tuesday night. Just fooling around with songs. Unstructured. If you know of any, get in touch. No ROBOGIGS. No publicity unless the venue wants to do it.
Also keen to do PARLOUR GIGS. Set one up here.