Saturday, August 20, 2005
Ancient Secrets of the Arts - UNVEILED! Part 4
I've never been in a band, but I've been in the same room as several. I believe this unconditionally qualifies me to reveal to you, the wide-eyed and naive innocent, the secrets to MAKING IT IN THE BIZ.
And so: MYTHS OF THE MUSIC INDUSTRY.
I once shared a backyard with a great band called Liberty. They'd previously been known as Porcelain, and had come down to Melbourne after winning some kind of JJJ competition. For about six months they had a film crew occasionally turn up to do a story on them for that ABC show hosted by Dylan Lewis (what was that called again?). They played night and day. Most of all, night.
That means a lot when the only thing separating you from the music is a thin wall. And when the music is of a face-melting power chord variety of tonsil-rattling intensity, you take time to reflect. At the time, my bedroom was painted red which, despite what intuition might tell you, is a beautiful and restive colour for a bedroom. It's womblike. Assuming the womb in question belongs to a mother who loves to ROCK.
I can still recall in vivid detail the exact melodies and lyrics of their best songs, since they lulled me to sleep nightly for about a year. Of course, it went both ways. When my housemates and I moved in, the place was a bit of a dump, so we tore up the carpets, rented a sanding machine and a gathered a bunch of tools in order to strip the place back to its bare bones and make it all nice and liveable. They gave us a tape of music once which included a song whose only lyrics were "Tools/And Sandpaper/Make My Life A Misery". I still hum it to myself sometimes.
Anyway, they were truly, authentically into the lifestyle. They lived communally, breathed music, one had gone nearly deaf from sitting too close to his speaker during a marathon session one night, and every so often they would decide that material things were a distraction from the real life of the artist. It was during these periods that they would give us stuff they no longer had any need for, which is how I came into possession of about three crates of superb vinyl. They'd also give us about three or four TVs each time, but over the coming weeks one or another would come sliding by to quietly ask if they could have their television back.
So, the short of it is that this band, made up of people who I can without reservation say were some of the best and most committed musicians I've ever met, imploded. That's how it is. That's music. I never found out the real reason, but a few years ago I was standing at the tramstop and I saw a poster for a band touring down from Sydney. I thought to myself: hello, what have we here? That looks uncannily like the childlike drawings which used to promote Liberty. And so I found The Hauntingly Beautiful Mousemoon, who tour the country regularly and are a lot like Liberty, although only Liberty's singer, Zack, is a member.
Mousemoon are a lot of fun, and are the only band who could ever get shy old me to engage in a group hug featuring every single audience member attending a crowded Duke of Windsor gig. They're also unashamedly hippy in philosophy and talk to their audiences like close friends.
A little after that, I came across two other former members of Liberty, now making up four sixths of Neon.
Neon are Liberty's polar opposite, but they make good music too. They were signed to Graham Coxon's label really quickly, if I remember correctly. Anyway, the point is that even though the old band fell apart, good things happened.
When we went to NZ recently, we went as a band. It didn't matter that we had no songs, most of us had no talent, we'd never had a gig, etc. We had a story, which while fictional, was perfectly believable. And so it was that we have a lot of kiwis hanging to get their hands on one of the many albums by the five-piece Sex Piece.
Which is why, tonight, we shall record our first. The studio is set up and I AM READY TO ROCK. A karaoke Certificate of Rock-God-Ness is my only qualification, but we don't need no stinkin' certificate to prove to us the Power of Sex Piece. Prepare to bask in the glory.
NEXT: MYTHS OF THE MUSICAL!