Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Post Lucid Ocean

In part to indirectly answer Oxy question, and part for the sake of a rant, here's another post....

After leaving Lucid Ocean, I tried doing a few different things, including resurrecting my sporting pursuits, eventually making it to the lofty heights of captaining Adelaide University's Z grade cricket team - before my premature retirement due to the overseas travel requirements of my job. More on that below.

I also tried to put another band together with my mate Phil, whose band GSD had just split. We got together with a guitarist Anton, who was a friend of Phil's brother Daniel. One of Anton's tricks was playing his guitar with a screwdriver! So given my Sonic Youth fixation he met with my approval! We rehearsed some Lucid Ocean songs (Flood, and an untitled song that Andrew hadn't put lyrics to before I left), two GSD songs, two or songs of Anton's, and a few soundscapes that had come out of our interminable jam sessions. Essentially it was three guys coming from three different directions, and we desperately needed a drummer to fuse it all together. We tried out a few drummers but none cut it. They were probably completely confused by our experimental wall of noise! Not surprisingly, the "band" drifted apart....

I tried to put together another band closer in style to Lucid Ocean, but I was growing disillusioned with the whole idea of being in a band. One of my motivations for playing in a band was as a means of getting out of this pissant town, Adelaide. A xenophobic town with a big inferiority complex! Possibly best summed up by Paul Kelly's song (see below). I have a personal connection to the lyric "Kensington Road runs straight for a while before turning, we lived on the bend it was there I was raised and fed", as a (long lost) friend of mine Nick grew up in a house a few doors down from here! And I annoy my family everytime we drive along this road by pointing out "this was where Paul Kelly was raised!"

Yes, Adelaide is "nice", but it's boring as bat shit if you're young! And even as a teenager I realised Adelaide had problems. We went from being the most liberal and progressive capital city in Australia to the least liberal and progressive. And the least ambitious. What probably sums this up best is that a recent film set in Perth in the 1980s was filmed in Adelaide, because Adelaide now looks like Perth did thirty years ago!

Anyhow, I digress. But the point is I wanted to get outta here, and a band seemed as good a vehicle as any - combining my love of music with a ticket outta here. But when my job started taking me outta here, most of my motivation for being in a band diminished. But another turning point was when a friend pointed out that there were already so many great bands writing great songs, so why did I feel the need to write my own songs. I didn't have an answer. This got me thinking about my motivations for being in a band, and whether they were honest, or in my best interests.

I got to spend a lot of time overseas. And the offers to live and work overseas came pouring in. And then I fell in love with a girl.....from Adelaide! And one who wasn't keen to live overseas since here parents were elderly. She did accompany me on a work trip to Germany for three months, and this almost ended the relationship! But here we are, still together 15 years later.

And irony of ironies - by spending time overseas, I became much more appreciative of the virtues of Adelaide! And I won't be leaving any time soon!

Still awake? If so, your reward (or punishment!) is three more Lucid Ocean tracks, which come from a four track recording made at a rehearsal three days before our first gig. Someone suggested we should record our songs, put them on a cassette, and (snail) mail the cassette to ourselves. In that way, if anyone ripped off one of our masterpieces, we had dated proof that the songs were ours. Just goes to prove what a (unjustifiable) high opinion of ourselves we had! I recorded the tracks on my 4-track, mixed it own onto cassette, and posted a copy off to myself. I really liked the mix, but when I played a copy of the cassette to Andrew, he commented in his usual disparaging way that the guitar sounded too bright. Hmm, sorry, was I meant to make the guitar sound dull? Which reminds me of the time he described my guitar sound on a particular song as being too cerated! What?

Anyhow, I'm digressing again.

Here are the tracks - far from our best songs, but I think they have some charm. And I love the Rickenbacker guitar sound - bright or not! It's 1986 again!

Song for Someone was a song Wayne bought in with him when he joined the band - including all the guitar lines. Which was good as it meant we instantly had a good new song, but bad in that we all felt it didn't sound like our song. So it was the first song to go when we wrote our next song (Said August). All One Moment was probably the next song to go after that, while Darkest, Lightest day stuck around in our set for another year - although it was drastically changed at least once. I'll see if I can dig out the final version for a comparison, although I suspect I probably only have a boombox recording of it. I've played this version of DLD to a few people, and at least two have asked whether I overdubbed a second guitar. I didn't. And yes, the descending riff that appears after the second chorus and at the end is heavily influenced by Gardening at Night by REM....actually, let's be honest here, it was completely ripped off!

01. Song for Someone
02. All One Moment
03. Darkest, Lightest Day

Thursday, September 22, 2011

5MMM Interview - October 1992

Here's an interview we did before our Governor Hindmarsh gig.

See if you can guess who is who....


This also solves the mystery of the name of the band who supported us.......Oblivious!

Studio recordings - November 1991

As promised, here's some more material.....a studio session we did with our sometime soundman/manager Peter, who managed to wrangle some free studio time over two nights at a studio he had some association with.

I don't remember much about the session, other than Peter and his assistant were shocked at how quiet I had my guitar amp! I had a Roland JC-120 at the time, and I was after a clean sound. I found that if I turned the volume up to high the sound started to distort.

We kept this recording to ourselves as we felt it sounded a bit lackluster and didn't capture our "live" sound. Listening to it now, I can see what we were thinking, but it doesn't sound to bad.

This recording features two songs from demo's I've posted previously, Haunt and This Peaceful Place. The latter sounds almost identical to the demo version, while the latter is again pretty similar, although I played my Rickenbacker on this version rather than my stratocaster.

This recording also features two songs which I considered to be two of our best songs: Led and Said August. However, they aren't necessarily the best representations of the songs. It was a very early version of Said August, and has a poor mix - the guitar solo at the end is barely audible! And Led has a few skips in it for some reason.

It also features another track Sunday, a song we played at our first few gigs, but which was discarded as we wrote new and better songs.

01. This Peaceful Place
02. Sunday
03. Haunt
04. Led
05. Said August

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The End

So why pull the plug?

The short answer: I stopped enjoying it. I realised I enjoyed my day job more than I enjoyed the band. And when that's the case, you know somethings wrong! Actually, I still work in the same "industry. And calling it work is a bit of a misnomer, as it's more like a hobby. And a hobby that brings in enough money to support a family is a blessing!! In contrast, to quote Sonic Youth, all the band did was "burn a hole in my pocket".

As for why I stopped enjoying it......that's a longer answer.

The reasons, in no particular order:

1) Wayne. I couldn't stand him in the end. Giving him the microphone was the last straw! I started to feel like the band was only there to serve Wayne's ego. And while he could come up with great basslines to songs I bought in, as well as great song ideas of his own, he could also come up with rubbish - and it would be impossible to convince him that this was the case.

2) Andrew. I don't think I've ever met anyone so insecure before, and it was usually up to me to reassure/cajole him. And he was sometimes a bit of a loose canon. I became an amateur psychologist from from dealing with Andrew, and I've put much of my learning to good use throughout the intervening years! But in the end it just wore me down.

3) The music. I had a vision of what I wanted the band to sound like and evolve into. When I first heard Radiohead's OK Computer a few years later I was livid - that's what I was trying to do!! OK, we probably wouldn't have done it as well as they did it, but that was the vision. My favorite band at the time was Sonic Youth. They were everything Lucid Ocean weren't: unique, chaotic and anarchic. Lucid Ocean were just another band, and were always going to be just another band - and I didn't see the point in that!

4) Creativity. I felt that the band wasn't able to get the best out of the ideas I bought in. And I took personally at the time - you're not fucking trying hard enough! But hindsight is a wonderful thing! I later realised that part of the problem was actually my inability to express what I wanted. And even later I realised that the main problem was that I couldn't properly translate the ideas in my head onto my guitar. My thoughts in this regard are best summed up by the lyrics to Wilco's The Late Greats - if anyone ever asks me which song I wish I'd written myself, this is it - or at least the lyrics.

The first thing I did after leaving the band was cut my hair short! This had two purposes: renewal, and insurance against me changing my mind. I figured that they wouldn't want me back with short hair! I felt the rest of the band were more obsessed with image than music. This was probably unfair, but it's a pretty good indication of my disillusionment with the band.

The band eventually found another guitarist and started gigging, but I don't know how they went - I couldn't have been less interested. I know they recorded a demo, but I haven't heard it. After they started gigging again, someone I'd never met came up to me in a bar and said he had seen the "new" band recently, and that he felt they were much better when I was in the band! Vindication! Or maybe he just wanted me to buy him a beer!

I did meet Wayne, Mark and the guitarist in a bar about two years later, and they had just kicked Andrew   out! Apparently his behavior continued to degenerate, and they had finally had enough.

The next time I met Wayne was at a friends wedding! It turns out my friends wife went to school with Wayne and his partner Theresa. Six degrees of Kevin Bacon? What bullshit! In Adelaide, I'm sure you can link any two people in at most three degrees!

Wayne and Mark later formed a techno band Superphatass, with also featured Peter, Lucid Ocean's sometime sound guy/manager. I saw the CD in a second hand store for $2 last year so I bought it. Not exactly my cuppa tea, but quite good for what it is.

So that brings things to a close - almost. I thought I might dig up the best versions I can find of some of our better songs - so stay tuned!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

It's still living.....just!

S'pose I better finish this fucker off!

We played three more gigs after recording the demo.

The first, as previously mentioned, was upstairs at Control nightclub. I knocked back a few lagers that night, and was reasonably sozzled by the time I took the stage. This was a fair indicator of my disillusionment with the band at this time, as I had always previously avoided drinking before a show in order to play at my best. As a consequence I fluffed quite a few notes, or so I thought - we recorded the show on a ghetto blaster, and when I listened to the recording later I was surprised at how well I played, and how good the band sounded.

In the previous few months we had discussed incorporating backing vocals into our songs. Both bassist Wayne and myself had a go, and although neither of us sounded too flash, we agreed that Wayne should take on the responsibility. Which turned out to another source of disillusionment for me. The problem was that giving Wayne a microphone on stage gave him license to spew verbal diarrohea in between songs, totally destroying any atmosphere or mystique the music strove to create. And when he commenced his inane ramblings in between songs at this show, my frustration (and inebriation) led me to yell out "SHUT THE FUCK UP!" - an exhortation clearly audible on the recording! Although I expect it didn't even register with the self immersed one! Another indication of my disillusionment was that I didn't record a diary entry for this gig, or any of the remaining gigs!

Our next gig was the release party for our demo at the Governor Hindmarsh hotel, a fantastic venue where I've seen many great bands over the years, including The Go-Betweens just months before Grant McLennan's unfortunate death. Our performance was nothing special, but it was great to catch up with many people that had supported the band, and to see some former members, including guitarist DavidWe were also supported by a band whose name escapes me now, but who featured someone else who has featured several times in this diary - guitarist Tony.

My last gig was the last gig of our residency downstairs at Control - and thank goodness for that!

Our next gig was to be at a festival of local bands. Although the thought of this gig excited me, my increasing disillusionment with the band eventually led me to pull the plug......but that's a bedtime story for another night!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

October 1992 - Rip it up magazine

Have to laugh about this now, but at the time we weren't too impressed!

So what happened?

The magazine asked to interview us, but were reluctant to nominate a time.

They finally settled on a time mid afternoon, which didn't suit any of us as we all worked/studied.

Wayne made himself available to attend the interview, but then they postponed it at short notice.

Wayne was pissed off, and made it known that this was an inconvenience to him. Hence the reference to our "lack of social grace"!

I remember at the time being pissed off with Wayne that the whole band was tarred with lacking "social grace" tag because of his behaviour! But this was representative of my general feelings of disillusionment with the band (and especially Wayne) at this time.

And I have since used the fact that it is stated in print that I lack social grace to my advantage many times since......though I'll leave it to your imagination to decide how I may have done that!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

September 1992 - dB magazine

Change of's our first article from dB magazine. As you can tell from the interview, we didn't take it very seriously.

The photo was taken from a photo session we did in a forest. I think there were around 100 photos taken. God knows why we selected this one - maybe it had the right "atmosphere".

That's me second from right. My partner cannot look at this photo - she thinks I look "gay"! She prefers my more "manly" current sheared look!