Hopefully all you suburban soldiers are doing well as we enter the final quarter of 2006. Here’s the news from this end.
I’m grateful to receive so many queries about whether we might be doing any gigs in the near future. At this stage there is a strong likelihood Tony Durant (“The New Boy”) and I will be doing an “unplugged” gig in November at the Skiff Club, Kirribilli, Sydney — stay tuned. We have a repertoire of about 30 Suburbs songs, some of them very old and personal favourites. I’ll throw in a few live performance poems and readings from the novels.
I’m also planning some larger band gigs with Tony and Martin Cilia. One of the possibilities is in Perth on Sunday February 25 next year. Fremantle lawyer and footy fan Marcus Ahern is working in conjunction with the mayor of Freo and also Dockers coach Chris Connolly to get a statue of Bon Scott for Fremantle. Buzz Bidstrup of The Angels is coordinating a fundraising concert featuring old and new Aussie bands for the Claremont Showgrounds on the Sunday. All going well, The Suburbs will be on the bill. If there is any surplus money from the concert it is likely to be donated to Support Act, the muso-based initiative to help musicians in times of need…which as we get older become more and more prevalent. Stay tuned to the website for updates on these gigs. Remember, we are available for private gigs too.
I know many of you are trying to get hold of a Mugs Game or Suburban Sprawl CD. Please be a little more patient. Unfortunately, the Warner cottage industry requires more cash flow before I can get the CDs done. I urge you to buy a Free Kicks CD, the Live DVD or some books to keep the production line rolling. If you like Mugs Game or Suburban Sprawl you will love Free Kicks. Recorded live in 1978 when the band was at its peak, it features Half Time At The Football, Kangaroo Hop, Old Stock Road and other classics.
My favourite recorded Suburbs tack is Suburban Rock from this album. To me it was a powerful, original statement with the band playing with unrelenting energy. The late Johnny Leopard’s ball-tearing, anarchic guitar work on this track is as emotionally powerful as the very greatest: Link Wray, Hendrix, The Edge. Do yourself a favour… I am also trying to get downloadable tracks, ringtones and videos on the site, but the technology is way beyond me so I rely on the generous free time of others to get this stuff happening and it does take time. But it WILL happen, so once again keep an eye on the site.
Power Surge, now called Ravenswood, has been completed. I have no idea about release dates but keep an eye out — as soon as we hear anything, we’ll post it here. Dirty Girls is a feature project I have been working on for a number of years. In August, my co-creatives and I were granted around 40% of our production funding by Screenwest. We are enormously grateful to them. We still need to raise the rest of the budget but are working on it. It will be a great film, one I’ll be extremely proud to say I’m part of.
The COUNTDOWN book is out and about. See the review by the wonderfully supportive Bruce Elder. If you know any Countdown tragics it will make a good Christmas present for them. Lots of good photos and a few good behind the scenes stories, although I was disappointed some of the best ones didn’t make the final edit. My first foray into children’s books, Charlotte and the Starlet, is finished and is slotted for publication next May by Random House. It tells the story of a young outback girl trying to make an elite riding squad of city snobs. Her only ally is her horse, the wise-cracking egocentric Leila who makes Lindsay Lohan and co look like the kids from Little House on the Prairie. A star of many Hollywood films, Leila has wound up in Australia after a bungled nag-napping and now she wants to get back to Sunset and Vine. It’s a long way from Half Time At The Football, but there’s more than a few smirks to be had for an adult reader believe me.
If you haven’t seen THE DEPARTED yet, go see it! These past few years, television has eclipsed cinema for great writing, directing and acting. The US has given us such fine farfe as The West Wing, The Sopranos, Monk et al (not to mention Six Feet Under, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Entourage, Dexter … webmaster). Australia has provided Kath & Kim, and the UK The Office, Extras and more. Good commercial films have been as thin as a Ford New York model on a hunger strike. But now Marty Scorcese rocks back with this super crime offering. It’s not easy to get a powerful take on corrupt cops. We’ve seen or read it all before and what James Elroy didn’t wrestle into submission with his mighty LA quartet, I finished off with Big Bad Blood. (If you haven’t read it, shame on you. Order it from the site, you won’t regret it) But this film about corrupt cops in Boston is a ripper. The story has great depth of character in an exciting and suspenseful plot. Taut direction and top performances make this a rare pleasure. Jack Nicholson eats up the screen. I reckon one of his best ever performances. Matt Damon and Leonardo DiCaprio are convincing and just don’t hit a bum note. The camera operator, one Andrew Rowlands, hails from my old city of Perth. Maybe that’s why the film is so good … but don’t tell Marty or Jack I said that.
I’ve reached that age where I don’t buy new albums anymore. At best I buy the CD reissues of my favourite old vinyl albums — though I maintain a collection of well-worn vinyl also. Anyway, if you’ve never heard of The Fugs or heard of them but never heard them, go lay your hands on a Fugs classic like Golden Filth or The Fugs First album or basically whatever you can. The Fugs included a Beat poet, a writer and a crazy drummer Kenny Weaver. They were punk before punk had a name, and a big influence on my early band, Pus. The Fugs were the ultimate Garage Band — primitive, poorly recorded thunks with caustic, funny, scatological lyrics. For years I played their immortal Slum Goddess in my set. I Couldn’t Get High, Nothing, I Feel Like Homemade Shit are other classic Fugs songs. There is absolutely no way you can dance to these tunes unless it’s a kind of primal shuffle in the forest thing with your body painted blue.
Until next month, stay cool