Desert Island Discs - mentalist - 11 December 2011

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Desert Island Discs - mentalist - 11 December 2011

Postby mentalist (slight return) » 11 Dec 2011, 05:01

My family has a schizo relationship to music. Music has been my mum’s life in both work and play, mostly of the operatic kind. Whereas my dad has zero interest. Oldest brother, I do remember him having Rick Wakeman’s Journey To The Centre Of The Earth and The Six Wives Of Henry VIII on cassette (paging Carlsson). Other older brother had a lot of interest for a while but it’s now stalled at basically Rush & Yes.

What we did have was a bunch of 7”s in the house which were played a lot, ad nauseum. I still have some of them with me. I could play you either Sailor’s A Glass Of Champagne, The Three Degrees’ When Will I See You Again, Bowie’s Sorrow, Sparks’ This House Ain’t Big Enough For The Both Of Us, ABBA’s S.O.S. or this sublime piece of music, which dates in the most perfect way.



My somewhat music loving brother was a synth player (Yamaha DX-7) in a band. They were called Steep Descent, which concisely describes their trajectory. I saw them perform live once at a park in North Sydney and I recall them doing Free Bird. But alas no recordings exist.

One Friday night at my grandparents, me and my brothers where staying the weekend to give my parents a break, a bit of ooo err time maybe. We all slept in the same room and late that night we could hear music from a party in the flat across the way. It seemed like they were playing music from the same band all night. Michael was particularly interested and somehow figured out it was the Beatles. So he bought a couple of Beatles albums. They could well have been Red & Blue, I don’t remember. Whenever he played The Beatles, particularly the early stuff, I migrated to his room and soaked up the music. My favourite song of theirs then was Come On Come On which is what I knew this track as for a long time.



So a lifelong love of The Beatles was formed. Initially it was the early stuff. As I got older, the later material became more important.

Music must have clicked with me from a pretty early stage, as I was a big ABBA fan since I can remember. I’d like you all to know that I saw ABBA at the Sydney Showground in 1977, so I was around 8 or 9. I loved ABBA and I was the one that asked if I could go see them. My mum took me and although I later spent many years of quiet shame pretending they were awful, it’s now relatively safe to come out and admit one’s fondness. I remember bits of the gig. Girls dressed up to the nines. Agnetha’s bum dance! But ABBA were of course great songwriters and singers, brilliantly produced. I love songs that start with a chorus and none does quite so well as this gem. Sorry (see still lingering shame).



As I got a bit older and started sharing my love of music with my friends we went through various phases. There was the E.L.O. / Supertramp / Alan Parsons Project phase :|. I much loved the ouevre of John Paul Young, which I now realise was more to do with the writing skills of Vanda & Young (see Easybeats, AC/DC, Flash & The Pan). Joe Jackson was big in 1982.

Now when I look through my cat-scratched vinyl collection (spines only!) it’s around 1985-86 where music that wasn’t popular enters my life. I spent a lot of my time at a few record stores in Sydney. Legendary stores such as Phantom, Waterfront and Red Eye. All these shops had their own record labels and released many great bands. You could do worse than seek out music from these labels and others such as Citadel. Of these three stores, only Red Eye exists now, still run by Chris Pepperell, a lovely guy. Whenever I go there the clientelle seems to be getting older and fatter :( Waterfront Records had a wall with about a dozen albums, new release recommendations, and I used to buy that stuff all the time. This led me into the pub rock scene in Sydney. Bands such as The Died Pretty, Celibate Rifles, Happy Hate Me Nots, The Church, New Christs, Porcelain Bus, The Johnnys, The Hard Ons, Massappeal, The Screaming Tribesmen and so on.

What to pick that sums up that era for me? One day I made the decision to go by myself to the Sydney Trade Union Club and venture into this scene. I was underage but got in nevertheless, and caught Ron Peno, this small strange looking chap fronting Died Pretty. He was a amazing performer, and it would be some years later that I figured out the Iggy influence. In later years Brett Myers their guitarist and other songwriter worked at the local bottlo’ (bottle shop) near my home. I believe he moved to Spain, at least that’s the last I heard. They were a great live band and translated to wax really well. This double sided 7” is ace.



The pub rock years were great. Great friends made. Too much alcohol drunk. Too much money spent. Many great bands seen. Not many of the original venues remain, although the Annandale Hotel still struggles on. But the live scene in Sydney is still pretty strong. Now I realise it was a great period for original Australian music in the 80s through the early 90s. There were so many great groups that I saw that never really got far our off our shores. One artist I discovered in the pub rock years and that has given me immense pleasure was Ed Kuepper. The Saints, Laughing Clowns, The Aints, The Yard Goes On Forever, innumerable solo albums. This fucker has had a pull on me for so long. I’m not the only one, he has a decent support base here who will see him every time he tours, often with his amazing drummer Mark Dawson. A few years ago the original Saints reformed with both Chris Bailey and Ed. At the same time Ed reformed the Laughing Clowns for a few shows, and apparently they will be recording again. I saw them at ATP with Magilla. Eternally Yours is a song Ed keeps coming back to and re-recording. Here’s the original version.



I spent a few years working before going to university. I did Honours in Eng. Lit.. I did enjoy it and if I was smart enough or more driven I would love to have remained at Uni for a lot longer, become an academic even. I wasn’t quite hip enough to luck onto the 'new summer of love' at Uni and the rave scene when it started here in the mid to late eighties. I was vaguely aware of it bubbling away but I was mainly seeing bands in pubs. I did pick up on the Stone Roses. And they were certainly a gateway band to dance music and the joys of MDMA. I Am The Resurrection has been a favourite for a long time, it has a euphoric quality which I often seek in music, wonderful drumming and a guitar wigout at the end. What’s not to like? Come on!



So to work. I started at at a company called Optus. It was a new Telco. I spent 7 years there and had some good times. But suiting and booting was soul crushing, and eventually I left and started a company with a few friends developing software and advancing into the interweb. Easier said then done. Someone introduced me to Mojo magazine which is where BCB eventually comes in, My first avatar when I joined the Mojo boards was the cover of James Brown’s Gravity. There he is smiling in processed hair glory. Gravity was the first James Brown album I ever heard. A bulging James Brown and P-Funk collection is testament to the effect this album, one that’s not his best, had on me. Although his period with Scotti Bros was a kind of renaissance and I think is still a good era of his music.



I’ve kind of been wistful for being part of a musical scene, and championing that at the expense of everything else. But I’m a bit of an outsider. So to the blues. Blues is sort of an outsiders music, and the old stuff has always had a pull on me. You listen to blues from the 30s and so much of it doesn’t sound in the slightest bit dated. This track is astonishing. I now know it’s an actually a cover of a popular track of the time, and sounds so completely different to it. It sort of makes it even more astounding. I could pick any number of Skip James songs. He had a small but perfect output. He was part of the 60s rediscovery as well. This is one of the most eerie, compelling and swingiest of things you will ever hear. There’s so much I have USA to thank for, the great popular music, the movies. So this is a shoutout to the States.



Book, easy, Anna Karenina.

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Last edited by mentalist (slight return) on 11 Dec 2011, 19:59, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Desert Island Discs - mentalist - 11 December 2010

Postby BlueMeanie » 11 Dec 2011, 06:24

Nice read, thanks. I knew quite a few people who only listened to ELO/Supertramp/Alan Parsons. They do seem to go together somehow.
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Re: Desert Island Discs - mentalist - 11 December 2010

Postby fange » 11 Dec 2011, 07:34

A great write-up, mentalist - man, do we share a lot of the same tastes!
I love every single one of those songs you've chosen, and even though you're from Sydney your memories relating to Abba are remarkably close to mine. Also, Ed Kuepper has been a musical cornerstone for much of my life, as are the blues/soul/funk crossroads. I did my Honours in Eng. Lit. as well, but couldn't be arsed going for my Masters either. :)
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Re: Desert Island Discs - mentalist - 11 December 2010

Postby ConnyOlivetti » 11 Dec 2011, 07:42

nice one!
thanks!
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Re: Desert Island Discs - mentalist - 11 December 2010

Postby Magilla » 11 Dec 2011, 09:32

Fantastic write-up Peter, really enjoyed it.

You saw ABBA in their heyday ? That's pretty cool. The footage of them arriving at Sydney airport is amazing, real Beatlemania-type pandemonium.

I know of those Aussie indie labels you mention, but didn't know they were once also actual record shops, too. Red Eye is indeed a great shop, long may it continue.

I just knew you'd pick an Ed Kuepper song. :) He is a total legend and deservedly so.

Good call on James Brown, I like his latter period stuff, too. (Indeed, listening to the Star Time box-set, I find myself thinking that he got better as he went along, there's no dip in quality as he got older, that's for sure).
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Re: Desert Island Discs - mentalist - 11 December 2010

Postby WG Kaspar » 11 Dec 2011, 12:02

Excellent write-up mentalist.
I can't tell you how much I enjoyed thew Died Pretty track, it's quite outstanding.
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Re: Desert Island Discs - mentalist - 11 December 2010

Postby sloopjohnc » 11 Dec 2011, 13:45

Nice read, and agree with you on that era of JB. I still have the single of Living in America.

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Re: Desert Island Discs - mentalist - 11 December 2010

Postby Copehead » 11 Dec 2011, 15:11

I like the DIDs from non-brits

The Skip James song is excellent too, I will have to investigate further.
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Re: Desert Island Discs - mentalist - 11 December 2010

Postby der nister » 11 Dec 2011, 17:17

nice, please flesh it out with more classic 80's 90's Aussie sounds
It's kinda depressing for a music forum to be proud of not knowing musicians.

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Re: Desert Island Discs - mentalist - 11 December 2010

Postby Billybob Dylan » 11 Dec 2011, 18:58

2010?
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Re: Desert Island Discs - mentalist - 11 December 2010

Postby BlueMeanie » 11 Dec 2011, 19:10

Billybob Marley's Ghost wrote:2010?


Remember he's in a different time zone down under.
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Re: Desert Island Discs - mentalist - 11 December 2011

Postby mentalist (slight return) » 11 Dec 2011, 20:00

alright then i'll put it in your timezone
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Re: Desert Island Discs - mentalist - 11 December 2010

Postby trans-chigley express » 11 Dec 2011, 23:45

Australians love their Ed Kuepper. I heard loads from CDs lent to me by various Aussies that I've worked with. A pretty diverse selection with some new discoveries (I liked Died Pretty) and the first time I've heard another version of I'm So Glad other than the Deep Purple version. It's very different and sounds utterly ancient but still recognisably the same song.

I'm a big fan of that Stone Roses song too.

Enjoyed that. Nice one, mentalist.





BlueXmas wrote: I knew quite a few people who only listened to ELO/Supertramp/Alan Parsons. They do seem to go together somehow.


I sometimes still do :oops: (but I don't only listen to them). You're right, they do somehow go together.

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Re: Desert Island Discs - mentalist - 11 December 2011

Postby mission » 12 Dec 2011, 03:24

santamentalist (slight return) wrote:Now when I look through my cat-scratched vinyl collection (spines only!) it’s around 1985-86 where music that wasn’t popular enters my life. I spent a lot of my time at a few record stores in Sydney. Legendary stores such as Phantom, Waterfront and Red Eye. All these shops had their own record labels and released many great bands. You could do worse than seek out music from these labels and others such as Citadel. Of these three stores, only Red Eye exists now, still run by Chris Pepperell, a lovely guy. Whenever I go there the clientelle seems to be getting older and fatter :( Waterfront Records had a wall with about a dozen albums, new release recommendations, and I used to buy that stuff all the time. This led me into the pub rock scene in Sydney. Bands such as The Died Pretty, Celibate Rifles, Happy Hate Me Nots, The Church, New Christs, Porcelain Bus, The Johnnys, The Hard Ons, Massappeal, The Screaming Tribesmen and so on.

What to pick that sums up that era for me? One day I made the decision to go by myself to the Sydney Trade Union Club and venture into this scene. I was underage but got in nevertheless, and caught Ron Peno, this small strange looking chap fronting Died Pretty. He was a amazing performer, and it would be some years later that I figured out the Iggy influence. In later years Brett Myers their guitarist and other songwriter worked at the local bottlo’ (bottle shop) near my home. I believe he moved to Spain, at least that’s the last I heard. They were a great live band and translated to wax really well. This double sided 7” is ace.



The pub rock years were great. Great friends made. Too much alcohol drunk. Too much money spent. Many great bands seen. Not many of the original venues remain, although the Annandale Hotel still struggles on. But the live scene in Sydney is still pretty strong. Now I realise it was a great period for original Australian music in the 80s through the early 90s. There were so many great groups that I saw that never really got far our off our shores. One artist I discovered in the pub rock years and that has given me immense pleasure was Ed Kuepper. The Saints, Laughing Clowns, The Aints, The Yard Goes On Forever, innumerable solo albums. This fucker has had a pull on me for so long. I’m not the only one, he has a decent support base here who will see him every time he tours, often with his amazing drummer Mark Dawson. A few years ago the original Saints reformed with both Chris Bailey and Ed. At the same time Ed reformed the Laughing Clowns for a few shows, and apparently they will be recording again. I saw them at ATP with Magilla. Eternally Yours is a song Ed keeps coming back to and re-recording. Here’s the original version.




Apart from the fact I did all of these things in Perth - substitute Easter records out of dada records for the Sydney shop/labels - this is pretty much what went on in my life at that time.

One of my bands did a support for the Died Pretty in the early 90s. Ronnie had fallen down the fire escape outside the Old Melbourne hotel the night before and spent the gig clutching his ribs and looking like death had recently decided to fuck him without vaseline. After the show he asked me if I knew where to get some blow and we went on this misadventure ending with me being thrown down the stairs of Limbos. I had been discovered standing in for the doorbitch - in an impromptu kind of way - and the bouncer took exception to my ways.

Another night I propped a very drunk Kim Salmon up against the bar of some shitty club, holding him upright with a handful of his jacket, and got free drinks out of the awestruck indiekid barstaff by saying "Mr Salmon would like another rusty nail, please." I am friends with his sister and ended up slinging him in the back of my van to sleep it off. Some years later he called me at work and asked if his pick-up drummer could use my kit on the tour they were doing in Perth. Not Tony Pola, who was in pris for some smack-related crime. I forget who. Salmon, Hooper and some other bloke.

Most of the Perth bands who left to "make it" would come home for Christmas. We'd see the Triffids pretty much each summer, with their tales of being a whole year in London and still not meeting anyone from there.


Anyway - sorry for going off on a tangent - it was great to read your stories and all that they reminded/inspired. Thanks.
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Re: Desert Island Discs - mentalist - 11 December 2011

Postby mentalist (slight return) » 12 Dec 2011, 05:51

mission wrote:Another night I propped a very drunk Kim Salmon up against the bar of some shitty club, holding him upright with a handful of his jacket, and got free drinks out of the awestruck indiekid barstaff by saying "Mr Salmon would like another rusty nail, please." I am friends with his sister and ended up slinging him in the back of my van to sleep it off. Some years later he called me at work and asked if his pick-up drummer could use my kit on the tour they were doing in Perth. Not Tony Pola, who was in pris for some smack-related crime. I forget who. Salmon, Hooper and some other bloke.


I once met a drunk Jeremy Oxley at the Sandringham and he was proudly showing off a sizeable royalty cheque. I was a bit starstruck so offered to buy him drinks. He was great to talk to but very soused. A few hours later he literaly keeled over flat on his back with a big smile on his face. He didn't injure himself so we had a bit of a laugh. About 5 years ago I read that he suffers from schizophrenia so alcohol was probably more of a medication for him. It subsequently made the whole event seem a bit less funny.

I remember meeting a drunk Tex Perkins once, well he popped up at our table at the Hopetoun (vale). He started chatting to us. He was very charismatic lets say, but a bit of prick I seem to remember. Not even sure why.

Shared a joint with Steve Kilbey outside the Tivoli.

Ahh salad days.
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Re: Desert Island Discs - mentalist - 11 December 2011

Postby mission » 12 Dec 2011, 06:12

I did a support for The Cruel Sea on the night Paul Keating won the sweetest victory of them all. I was pretty hammered by the time we had to go on as a result - hanging in the front bar with all these old school Italian Labor party members (we were in North Perth - a big Italo-Australian working class community). I didn't have much to do with Tex but he was being a complete wanker about the whole election thing.

It is funny though how Tex Deadly from the DumDums has become a fixture of the Australian Light Entertainment industry.
Last edited by mission on 12 Dec 2011, 06:16, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Desert Island Discs - mentalist - 11 December 2011

Postby mentalist (slight return) » 12 Dec 2011, 06:14

Speaking of Sydney venues, it appears The Annandale Hotel is struggling. They are now asking people to buy a brick to help keep it going.

http://www.annandalehotel.com/anh/artic ... e=1&id=208

I'll probably buy one but can't see that saving them.
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Re: Desert Island Discs - mentalist - 11 December 2011

Postby Corporate whore » 12 Dec 2011, 11:35

Loved the Died Pretty track

Another act to explore...
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Re: Desert Island Discs - mentalist - 11 December 2011

Postby Leg of lamb » 12 Dec 2011, 18:04

Super write-up. I don't know what it is, but I've felt a real kinship with the Aussie DID entries.
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Re: Desert Island Discs - mentalist - 11 December 2011

Postby Belle Lettre » 12 Dec 2011, 19:00

Very interesting. Great writing. :)
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