Archive for the ‘Port Macquarie’ Category

the Yada Yada Yada….

January 18, 2017

So yes of course it’s been ages since I wrote and yes of course I feel guilty and yada yada yada…

And yes of course that is the name of the new Royal Chant single. Yada Yada Yada.

Although it’s not part of my normal vernacular it used to come up from time to time in my stage banter.  Some of the lyrics I poached from a previous song that never got finished, and the chorus, is, of course: Yada Yada Yada.

We’ll see what Australia thinks of it, but if previous performances are any indication it’s probably safe to assume…we have no idea. Probably not much.  You can get your hands on it through all the usual.  Some folks really like bandcamp….

While others prefer to get their kicks through SoundCloud…

There’s always our Triple-J Unearthed page where you can have your say by leaving a rating or review, but we’re not Spring chickens anymore and the youngsters have really changed the game. If I sound jealous, don’t worry: I am.

And yeah, that’s how we roll. We’ve got a stack of tour dates kicking off on Australia/Invasion Day, and then we’ll see if we’re still in one piece at the end of it all.

And lastly, just so I don’t lose sight of my roots…

See you out there xoxo

..:: Royal Chant – Yada Yada Yada National Tour Dates ::..

Thursday, Jan 26 – El Grotto, Scarborough WA
Friday, Jan 27 – The Fly Trap, Fremantle WA

Saturday, Jan 28 – Babushka, Perth WA

Saturday, Feb 11 – The Factory Theatre, Marrickville NSW (Elliot Smith Tribute show)

Saturday, Feb 11 – The Town Hall Hotel, Newtown NSW (midnight show)

Wednesday, Feb 22 – Lass O’ Gowrie, Newcastle NSW

Saturday, Feb 25 – Meatstock NZ, Auckland

Sunday, Feb 26 – Meatstock NZ, Aukland

Friday, March 17 – The Pier, Port Macquarie

Saturday, April 22 – Meatstock Melbourne

Sunday, April 23 – Meatstock Melbourne

Saturday, May 6 – Meatstock Sydney
Sunday, May 7 – Meatstock Sydney
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Hype

June 5, 2016

We might be rolling into the dead of Winter (since we’re talking about Australia that might not exactly evoke massive swells of pity), but it’s as good a time as any (read: very, very dumb) to climb into our tour wagon and head out there to hawk our latest wares that no one asked for.

In this case, we’ve joined forces with our favourite Sydney band Wasters and released a split 7″ on vinyl for all those people who still care to listen to their music the same way their grandparents did.  The good news is that since we only pressed 50 copies total we stand at least even odds to sell out and then never do this again.  If my time in the music industry has taught me anything, it’s to keep one’s expectations incredibly low and to call it a victory as soon as possible before your fortune has a chance to reverse itself.

So now we’re headed out the on the road, with a local show in Port Macquarie on Wednesday followed a trip up to the slightly warmer climes on Brisbane on Friday to take the stage at The Bearded Lady, with Wasters, The Bear Hunt, and Mudshadows. An awesome line-up to be sure, but what made my heart glow was waking up to find that Mudshadows had done a up a cool DIY promo video for the night, which made me very, very ashamed. For all of my DIY ramblings and rah-rah cheering from the sidelines (or underlines, really), there are times when I take shows for granted and forget that this is, as it always has been, a shit-ton of fun and should not to be taken so lightly (as backwards as that sounds). Yup, you have to work & care to have such fun.

People don’t just magically appear at your show because you hope they do. They need a good reason, any reason, and if making a cool & funny video is what it takes then I need to be out there on the front lines with my handycam streaking in traffic to get my point across. Luckily for me, Mudshadows have done the heavy lifting for me this time, but consider it a lesson well-learned: don’t take the good stuff for granted. Even when it’s fun, it’s still work.

In other self-promoting news, we reached out to Ted’s Records when we read they were looking for bands who would be interested in doing an acoustic session to be filmed.  They responded by letting us know that they had completely forgot that they had done that, which is how all awesome independent projects should start: ambition mixed with equal parts amnesia.

We got to the top of a beautiful spot in Sydney and did three numbers, one of which didn’t turn out because of the wind, but we still got two other numbers that made the cut, so all in all it was the start of a good week of productivity (for us). The first was for “I Can’t Make It On My Own”…

Followed by a stripped back version of “Dick Move”

Sadly, “Sight For Sore Eyes” was the one that got mangled by mother nature, but that only makes sense because of course that’s the one we used for our side of the split 7. I like how fate kind of keeps our expectations in check.

Anyways, if you are in Brisbane on Friday you should come out, and if you’re anywhere else in the world you should have a poke around the Ted’s Records site and check out all the cool snaps and vids and write-ups that are very much a part of Sydney’s mal-nourished-yet-still-amazing underground music scene.

Believe the hype xoxo

Dick Moves: A Musical Collection

January 31, 2016

As some of you might know from my various FB posts, tweets, & Instagram shots, I host the local Open Mic Night here in sleepy Port Macquarie, New South Wales, Australia every Tuesday night at a lovely little (dive) bar. It is not everyone’s cup of tea, but the longer I am there the more I can feel it turning into my kind of place. Things have settled into a nice groove of sorts (pun intended), but of course, like any job, it is not without it’s own perks and particulars.

For starters, there was….the start.

I was riding my bike out to school one fine sunny morning, perhaps last April, maybe May, when I get a phone call from a person whom I had never received a call from before. It was the owner of the venue. My mind immediately went into a state of worry, and anxiety took over as I waited for the inevitable. You see, a few days prior I had actually been at the venue, and somehow on my ride home I must have crashed into something, because I woke up the next day with a fairly dinged bicycle and a shoulder injury that still isn’t quite right.

Mark, you blew it. You are in trouble for sure.

I assumed he was calling to tell me that I had crashed into a car in the street or something like that, and that I’d have to pay for damages and that I would be banned for a year or…you get the idea.  You can imagine my relief when he merely wanted to talk about Open Mic Night. That was all. No need for panic.

So, yada yada yada, he gets to the point which is this: “We’re looking for someone young, who’s talented, who’s got the personality, who’s going to help bring all the hot girls in on Tuesday nights, and I was thinking…”

Yes? Go On.

-“That you could help us find someone?”

Oh.

Long story short, I did help them find someone young, talented, & good looking, but he was kind of boring so they eventually asked me to take over and here we are.

Of course, I have a habit of overdoing things, and this is no exception. Instead of simply bringing a guitar and setting up the PA and making sure the night runs smoothly, I’ve started bringing in more gear like drums, a bass amp, & a guitar amp in the hope of fostering more of a musical community and generally just trying to make things a little better. After all, if someone is blowing chunks on guitar and destroying a song on stage, it can make things a little better if they’ve at least got a steady beat behind them.  Not a lot better, mind you, but better nonetheless.

With that in mind, I’ve compiled a list of Dick Moves that appear from time to time…

1. Don’t ask to go up again: you’ve already played once. You’re not going to get any better. I’m sorry there are more people here now than there were before. Life is very unfair. You should know that by now.

2. Don’t hop on the drums and tune them up and change everything around. This is not a “gig”, you are not a superstar, and none of this shit matters. If you can’t make music on what is already there, you can’t make music period.

[As a rule of thumb, the more uptight and wanky someone is about their gear, the more likely they are to suck as a musician.]

3. Don’t try and bring your own drums in either. No one cares. It’s a beat. Play it.

4. Don’t murder well known songs. Seriously, this is not practice time. This is a chance to show the world a new song you’ve been working on, or show off an old favourite. Whatever, just don’t turn someone’s delight at hearing the first chords of “oh, this is a song I like” into “What the fuck is he doing?!?!”

5. This is not art, but it can be. If you don’t know how to walk that fine line, best not to try. [Trust us: you probably don’t know how to walk that fine line.]

6. Don’t sit in the front row and sing along to shit you don’t know. Best not to sing along at all, really, but some forms are acceptable.

7. Wonderwall: Just. Don’t. Do. It.

I bet there’s more than I’ve drunkenly scribbled down somewhere and lost, but all of this is really just a lead-up into posting a video that we did for the latest Royal Chant LP and forgot to post it for you all to see.

It’s called “Dick Move”, of course, and was created, filmed, and edited by my very good friend Matt Clements who is a film-maker living in NYC. I’ll spare you the details on how we managed to appear in the video without leaving Australia, but you can probably figure it out on your own (if you haven’t already).

[FYI: this video was banned from ABC Television here in Australia because “it contains excessive commercial branding.

As stated in the ABC Editorial Policies:

11.7 Product Placement must not be unduly frequent or prominent

12.2 Commercial references must not be unduly frequent or unduly prominent]

Seeing as how we’re a broke-ass indie band, all we can think is A) give us a break. No one cares, and B) what else we were supposed to use? Geez….

Anyway, if you like the video please show the director some love, because in a cruel twist in the ways of the world, the band always gets credit for a film clip, even though all they did was write the song and then stand around for a bit in front of the cameras. I’m not saying that writing a song is no big deal, but in terms of man-hours that go into a music clip, the people involved behind the camera are the only ones doing any actual work.

Here’s the album, if this is your kind of thing. It’s free, because of course.

That’s all from here. It’s Sunday AM. The cat is awake. I’m on my third cup of tea already. I’m going surfing.

xoxo

 

 

Saturday morning in Australia, cup of tea at the ready

August 3, 2013

Nothing much I’m afraid.

James was in Sydney last night (as he should be), and he got to go see the amazing Sounds Like Sunset at the equally amazing (but for different reason) Record Crate in Glebe.  I can think of a few heavy metal acts that would be more appropriate than SLS  for such a tiny venue, but by all accounts (of which I got many) the night was a success.  To give you an idea of what it might be like, imagine hearing this

in a room that looks like this
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And wham-bam that’s how a Friday night should be spent.

I fell asleep on the couch with a baritone guitar in my hands and a notebook with an empty page next to me.  It happens.

In other non-events, one of our new friends captured this small clip of us mucking around on our last gig at the Phoenix Pub in Canberra, one of our new favourite haunts.  If you’re going to request a song at a Royal Chant or Designer Mutts gig you’re probably going to go down swinging, but we will make an exception from time to time, talent permitting.

And that’s pretty much the gist of it. It’s Summer for half of the world, and for those of you who happen to be in Port Macquarie, Australia it damn near feels like it.  I’m off to teach, but after I would suspect that there’s a few waves with my name on it.

Holler back if it’s been a while xoxo

-M

 

 

Desolation Rolling

December 14, 2012

Living in small town like Port Macquarie means that just about anywhere is less than 10 minutes away.  It’s not a bad way to live, but I do feel like a bit of a waster for using my van so much.  I guess I have a bit of excuse with so much music equipment, but I’ve yet to completely convince myself. It doesn’t take much imagination to see how I could be a little, probably even a LOT more green in my existence if I really, really wanted to.

So I’m driving somewhere, probably on some banal, pointless errand, or going to teach and slightly zoning out when Bob Dylan’s “Desolation Row” comes on my iPod.  I keep it on shuffle most days, leaving it to fate to see what will cross my ears.  I hadn’t heard the song in ages, nor thought about it in the least for longer than I can remember.  I left it on, and of course I reached my destination before it ended.

The next time I got in the car I started the song from the top, and once again I was done before the song.  I kept that up for 5 days straight, for no reason at all, other than I liked letting my mind drift inside those words I know so well.  In high school I played this on vinyl nearly every morning as I was getting dressed for school, bracing myself and trying to create some ideal version of my 17 year old self.  Honestly, am I any different today?  Do I still “suit up” in my armor and get lost in some sort of fantastic projection?  Perhaps…perhaps.

I never talk about Bob Dylan with any one, nor am I a huge fan of reading other people’s thoughts on him or his songs.  Their explanations always seem so wrong, as I’m sure mine would be if I ever tried.  I never really understood the tie-dyed hippies who dig Dylan, mostly because they tend to talk conspiracy theories or about secret codes hidden in the songs, basically all the reasons that people roll their eyes when they see a hippie getting wound up.  Maybe it’s personal, or maybe there’s nothing to explain, not really.

I once read an interview with a director, (and God forbid, it may have been James Cameron), who said something along the lines of not believing in movies being “too long” as a set quantity, only that they “felt” long, and it’s a sentiment I personally agree with, especially when it comes to music.  If the listener notices the passing of time, or rolls their eyes and thinks “aw hell, another verse?”, then as a songwriter you’ve gotten it wrong, or wrong for that person.  That’s how “Desolation Row” feels to me.  I never notice that over eleven minutes have passed by the time the last harmonica note fades, and it’s like I’m waking up from a dream of sorts.

I’ve never tried to cover “Desolation Row”, (although I must confess that in my early attempts at songwriting I had a song that ripped off the chords, structure, and cadence), and if you asked me to sing the song without the words in front of me I doubt I’d get beyond the first sentence, but when it’s on I can sing along word for word, rather like when I was young and forced to go to church, and would marvel at everyone singing along to the hymns.  No one knows how the songs are supposed to sound, but once the organ got cranking and the choir rang out we’re all on board together and somehow it worked.  Kind of like that, only it’s Bob Dylan, not “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God”, and I’m alone rather than standing amidst adults and wishing to be elsewhere.

I love everything about this song.  The words, his voice, the delivery…everything.  I have no doubt that I’m in the minority here, about Dylan the artist, Dylan the singer, and about this song especially, but that’s no matter.  I’ve always held Dylan close to my heart and I’m not here to convert or convince anyone, since there’s really no need for that.

If this is my last post of 2012, then I wish you all a happy holiday season, wherever you are across the globe, and smashing New Year.  With school out and few shows until January hopefully I can motivate my pen and find some use for the idle hours.

 

[ps–you’ll notice that this YouTube clip is named “Desolation Road”, not “Desolation Row”, and I suspect that was the only way to sneak it past the record label vultures who are ready to tear anything down they can find.  This one is safe, it seems, for now]