Posts Tagged ‘Port Macquarie’

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

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

 

 

Gentle Confusion

September 28, 2014

More curious and less certain these days,
quieter and easily led.
History?
Is there such a thing?
Gentle confusion that paces
like a cat at midnight
wanting nothing but movement
motion
acknowledgement.

It’s pleasant enough
let us invent some meaning.

6 years and a day

January 20, 2012

Last night as I was packing up my gear I realized the date: January 19th, 2012.  I stopped for a moment before it sank in: today is my 6 year anniversary of arriving in Australia.  Maybe I should have come straight home and done an elaborate post in true commemoration, but instead you get one with a day of thought, (or non-thought) behind it, plus a title that nearly oozes with über-cool nonchalance.  Nearly.

So here I am, 6 years on after landing on a very hot Summer day that seems exactly like yesterday.  Exactly like today as well.  Tomorrow is projected to look eerily similar.  Although I did leave for about 11 months or so to hop back on a cruise ship to earn money and continue traveling the globe, overall I consider myself to have “lived” in Oz for 6 years.  The fictitious biographers waiting in the wings of posterity can squabble over the dates and details.

I briefly tried to reflect, really reflect, on what my time here has meant, but I’m not coming up with much.  One sad fact that I have to admit is that 6 years represents quite a sum of my legally adult life, and now I can say that I have spent an equal number of years being happy as I spent unhappy.  That oversimplifies things quite a bit, because while I’m not saying that all my time in America was rubbish and all my time down under has been grand, it’s rather handy to summarize it in exactly such a fashion, and far more true than not. As in, 99% true.

A few random things, in no particular order, illustrated in a clumsy manner with bad punctuation….

–Summer here doesn’t really, really start until mid-January.  We had a fairly cool November and December, and I remember thinking, “Hey, it’s gonna be a mild Summer.”  Bollocks to that.  I’m pretty sure I still have some Northern Hemisphere hard wiring going on, so to me the idea of January will always require a bit of translation, and since I’m bloody slow at that I suffer from yearly amnesia.  There is no such thing as a mild Summer here in Australia, and certainly not in Port Macquarie.  They are all the same.  Hot.  One day I shall remember this.

–I have been fortunate enough to either be put in or carve out a situation where my entire existence is based on and derived from music.  I might not be making a lot, I will grant you that, but I’m not starving either.  Since I have an ever-growing fascination now with US politics (survivor’s guilt of sorts?), and keep in touch with my family, I understand how bad things are for a number of people and their families in the US.  I remember struggling against the forces of economic reality, and only yesterday realized that, had I stayed where I was, it’s almost certain that I would have wound up as either a manager (or former manager) of a failing Ruby Tuesday restaurant, drinking too much and hating the world, or else just completely burned out and living on the streets or with my parents in some sort of court-ordered supervised care.

Reading about grown men and women who spent years of hard work in good employment now looking for any sort of job, no matter how lowly or underpaid, certainly made me think, whether rightly or wrongly: I got out.  Call in cowardice, call it fate, call it treasonous, call it self-romanticizing myth-making; I don’t care.  It feels true.

–Since I do get to spend a fair amount of time on the road (last week was a particular example of me at my finest ; ), I get to come across a few bands that I like and feel the need to share.  Keep in mind that whenever I try and hype up other bands nobody gives a flip, because my own band is largely out of fashion, and thus my tastes and top picks.  Whatever, I’m learning to live with that fact.  We are so far out of step that all we can do is keep marching until the world is in step with us, if only for a moment.  To close, I give you a new fav that I’ve encountered live.

CHERRY DOVE: We met this band when we were playing in Brisbane.  I developed a man/musician crush on their guitarist coz of the way he played (and looked, I’ll be honest), but he is listed on their bio as “Duckboi” and I can’t really remember his name.  It might be Chris.  It might be James.  Anyway, he plays much better than me, in a way that I wish I could play.  The weird thing is that he was really only the teaser to the band, because they are fronted by a very capable singer/guitarist named Logan, who is everything a front-woman should be.  They also have a bass player, Mel, that our roadie/driver developed a massive crush on, but that’s understandable.  Live, they kind of reminded me of the old riot grrrl sound, but that almost damns by association, so instead I’ll just say that I liked them a lot and would actually leave my house to go see them.  Hopefully our paths will cross again soon.  They have their new Wanted EP out now, and it’s available for free on bandcamp.

As a closing aside, I will say that it is great for the consumer that there’s so much free music out there, but it also points to a very sad and depressing trajectory for music.  Like a kid who’s never known anything other than a digital photo, or a blue whale that will roam the oceans its entire life without ever meeting another of its kind, there are more and more bands who will never know anything other than giving their music away for free and hope that somehow, some way, that will translate into success.  There’s more to be said, a lot more, but I just don’t have the heart to go into it now.  You know that whole 99% vs 1 % thing happening right now?  The very same could be said for music and the music industry.  There are fewer and fewer bands and artists making money off fewer and fewer revenue streams, and the rest of us keep accepting less and less while making bigger and more far-fetched gambles.  The middle class of music is shrinking, and now there are only millionaires or those who want to be millionaires.  That’s why we all have real jobs that pay the bills and keep us with almost-but-not-quite-enough dosh to keep recording and releasing music….for free.

Happy New Year’s.  I know it’s late, but it’s from me.  I’m sure you understand.  Write back if it’s been a while.  Stop by and say hi.  I might do a review of the Cherry Dove EP, God knows they deserve it, but for now I will say good night.

Fare Thee Well, part 1

June 3, 2011

It is dreary days here in Port Macquarie. Probably for all or most of Australia as well, but I couldn’t say for sure. The Mid-North Coast of Oz certainly sat up and begged for praise when my parents were here a few months ago, giving them its best and brightest, making it now seem that it was saving this stretch of misery for when they were gone and had no one to impress. The locals of nearly any paradise on earth always look a little weary and nonplussed for a reason, namely because they live there year-round and have grown accustomed to times such as these.

Even last week I noted that there were a few moments that looked and felt decidedly English, and I mean that as no insult to either the UK or Australia. As we were pulling away from the Newcastle airport there was a striking resemblance to a neglected RAF base amongst the fog, drizzle, and rusting architecture of the industrial age. You could say that Newcastle always seems like that, but even Port Macquarie has managed to reveal its own patches of soft decay. With the cloudy skies and days that end in their infancy I don’t think it’s a stretch, but maybe it’s just me.

It was on another morning of this same bleak weather when I noticed a missed call on my mobile phone yesterday. Immediately my heart sank. It was not just any missed call mind you, for there are plenty of those during the long stretches of teaching, but because I recognized the number and what that might mean. The call came from the president of our local pipe band, the Hastings District Pipes & Drums, and indeed the news was bad.

Ian McMaster, our esteemed & respected pipe major, local pipe tutor, and all-around pillar of the community, had passed away during the night. All I could think was, Bugger.

The news, while deeply sad, was not unexpected. He had been fighting brain cancer for well over a year, and, like many whom cancer strikes, had seen a promising remission reverse with a swift and unflinching vengeance. The entire pipe band had been braced these past few weeks, knowing that he had been sent home from the hospital. What no one ever finishes is the last part of that sentence–to finish out his days at home. Although is was distressing news to both his friends, family, & students, the last time I spoke to him (at the annual pipe band Christmas dinner) even then he had begun to say his goodbyes while still in his full capacity. He spoke then, as always, with his usual combination of frank honesty and gentle humour. A rare enough feat for anyone, but that was his genuine nature.

I have always had a slant for all things Celtic, be they Scottish or Irish, even English, when it comes right down to it. It is through a long and curious series of events that my path should have ever crossed that of Ian, but I am, and have always been, glad that it did.

There is so much to say about this man, but it is hard to write without turning the reflection inwards, which rather misses the point. Since I began writing this (NOTE: I began this post on Wednesday and finshed & posted it on Friday), I have searched for the most simple way of expressing my admiration and deep respect for him without resorting to sentimentality, fabrication, or some other corruption of praise. The simplest way I can say it is that Ian McMaster was a Man Of God.

There is a certain rare nobility in that phrase, and I use it sparingly, this being the first time in fact. Even as an agnostic using this phrase (or am I borrowing it?), it rings with a certain right-ness, like finding the right word for a song or poem and feeling the calm restored. It has nothing to do with God, per se, but everything to do with the Man.

He was a kind soul to the core, and the term “gentle nature” only begins to paint the picture. In essence, there was a very real depth to the man, one that made people happier to be around him without bringing out their envy. In short, he simply was. He had a calm that seemed to hum in the air that surrounded him, and he inspired those around him to achieve the greatness within themselves, while feeling no threat when their achievements might outstrip his own. That is the mark of a true teacher, of music or any other discipline, but most importantly of life itself.

We attended his funeral today (Friday), and the attendance was staggering. We should all be so lucky to be loved and remembered by such a large and diverse flock. (I’ll stick with the biblical phrasing, now that I have opened it). He planned his own service, being the sort of person who would do such a sensible thing. There were many tears, moving moments, laughter, and much reflection. One of his daughters took the podium for a bible reading, and I paid close attention. He chose Philippians 4:6-8.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

As a rare bible reader (translation: never), it struck me as the choice of a very wise person. Absent of judgement and soft in tone, with the last sentence the advice that someone who has lived fully and enjoyed the beauty of life is passing on to those whom he wished might find the same. All that is good in humanity can be found in that sentence, and it struck me as no surprise at all that he would choose such a muted and philosophical message to be remembered by. That he chose the word of God to say it, rather than come up with his own version of the same advice, is again no surprise. Above all things, he was humble.

I was very proud today to be a member of the Hastings District Pipes & Drums, and proud of all the young drummers who have come through the ranks in recent years who hardly knew Ian but knew how important he was to our small band and showed up to pay their respects. We formed an honour guard for the casket as he was brought both in & out of the church, and lastly as he was driven away. It is with no stretch of the imagination that I say that the honour today was that which he bestowed upon me.

Rest In Peace, Ian McMaster. Fare Thee Well….

I shall close today’s sermon (for that is what this has become, has it not?), with a final, overly-famous poem. It has been read at countless funerals since it was written, and no doubt will be read at countless more. In fact, there is a very real chance I will choose this for my own funeral, quite possibly because I will be too lazy to think of or find anything else. Also, it’s hard to top this, it being so bloody good. In honour of Pipe Major Ian McMaster, I thought that Auden’s Funeral Blues/Stop All The Clocks a fitting sendoff to the Isles.

I
Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crêpe bows round the white necks of the public
doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.