It’s the last two days of the band side of things. After a mega day trying to redo West Coast fishing incident which was too slow originally, we head up to see Joan and Russel and stay for a lentil pie and a chat about art and stuff. It is an incredible house stuffed with fabulous sculpture, photos and paintings. Designed like the captains quarters of a Spanish galleon but with light coming in all the right places. The Pie is to die for and the conversation warm and fascinating, Russel talks a lot about negative space in his work. I cant recall terribly much because after two weeks of stressing out and tee totalling I crack and have a few beers and some cheeky cigs on the starry walk back through the trees to the studio. Feeling fabulous i attempt to get the band to do an impromptu recording of ‘Gap Year Blues’ With Indra and Dale on trumpet and sax.
But i cant really sing after all the celebrating and having a mild flu too, so bed beckons. We are all sleeping in this kind of loft filled with mattresses and bookshelves. If the band had insisted on their own rooms i would have been screwed but thankfully there’s no prima donnas in this group. Burke has his own room but that’s so he can be close to all his groovy recording gear.
The next day i awake feeling ratty but it was a good night so sometimes you just have to wear that. The last song to do before we left Yandoit was ‘Dan Kelly’s Dream’. It is probably the title of the record and one i hold high hopes for, just because of its general spazness and 5/4 beat. Which is a change from my 4/4isms of the last 6 years. I wrote the words for this song in the back of a tour van in 2008 as Paul Kelly, his tour manager Greg Weaver and myself drove over the endless Canadian plains towards Winnipeg.
We had started in Austin at SXSW and worked our way up through LA, San Fransisco, Seattle, Portland, Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary performing as a duo with Greg on sound and a lovely gent from LA named Patrick Park in support.
In Vancouver i had met a very lovely,energetic and slightly intoxicated girl who used to go out with Kurt Cobain back in the day. Somehow in the course of the evening she ended up giving me this amazing crucifix that had belonged to Kurt and that she had worn every day since his death. I didn’t want to take it but she insisted she needed a break from it for a while and it would help me make an amazing record. She wouldn’t take no for an answer. So the next thing i’m scooting across the plains of Canada with Kurts cross on my chest, feeling weird about it but open to anything really.
Eventually on about the 12th hour of the drive to Winnipeg i got stuck into the left over rider wine and busted out these kind of Eric Burdon ‘Spill the Wine’ stylee lyrics about blowing up coal trains in Vietnam. I had been on an eco-terrorist trip for a while and was pretty keen to write a few songs just to stir shit up really. Im not a violent chap, but if i can rile up some conservatives and climate deniers then well and good. I swear If i hear another stupid 60 year old English geologist wanking on about solar flares I will blow up his brain with my Electro Harmonix Pog pedal
So anyways i wrote these lyrics and welded them to a little piece that i had written back in The Baker St rock commune days with A ron Cupples and in a hundred ks or so i had a song. Probably my first finished song in about two years at that point so i thanked the universe quietly.
That night we ate Chinese food in the smallest town in the world, about 300km from Winnipeg and i crashed out in the hotel room. I awoke at about 3am having these intense heart palpitations and started to freak out. No one was awake and it was negative 15 c outside. Stupidly i looked up the net and of course concluded i was having a heart attack. I went to reception to see if they had any aspirin as it thins your blood, but the guy there didn’t and thought i was strange. My hair was particularly high with the worry.
He directed me to a truck stop pharmacy type place about 2 km up the road. I was in a real panic so i hoofed it out the door in just my jeans, suede boots and hoodie. I was about a k down the road, no houses just endless snow fields and massive semis blasting past, when i realised that i might actually freeze to death before i got there.
My uncle and Greg the tour manager were asleep oblivious and the guy at reception was doing his best to forget me. It was like Fargo only more pathetic.
I eventually made it there with blue hands and swallowed some aspirin and calmed down a bit and warmed my hands by the coffee machine before attempting the trip back. I was too scared to go back to my room by myself so i sat and watched tv in the lobby for five hours until the team woke up. I got in the tour van feeling very strange and ended up spending 600 bucks on tests at winnipeg medical center that afternoon. It turns out that i was having an allergic reaction to some medication my doctor had put me on to lower my cholesterol a bit (genetics have been kind and cruel to me in equal doses),
but for a while i thought the Kurt cross was jinxing me and i took it off. Now the record has taken three years and i wonder whether i should have worn it more?
I’m not usually superstitious though i avoid eating flake, in the hope that if a shark has to choose between me and another swimmer, he chooses the flake eating guy.
DAN KELLY’S DREAM
I FELL ASLEEP ON A TRAM, HARRY POTTER IN HAND
I WOKE UP DROOLING IN THE SOUTH OF VIETNAM
WITH A CONTROVERSIAL HAIRCUT AND OVERSIZED HANDS
IN THE BACK OF A CAFE CALLED ‘MYSTERY TRAN’
I STARTED CYCLING BACKWARD DOWN THE TRIBUTARY
BY THE COCA COLA WATERS,UNDER INSTANT NOODLE TREES
TASTE POLICE GOT ME, THREW ME IN A CELL
LONG NIGHTS PLAYING CARDS WITH THE GUARDS AND SCHAPELLE*
TILL I MADE MY ESCAPE WITH A TRANNIE NAMED MARY
WE HITCHHIKED DOWN THE ROAD
OUR LEGS WERE ALL HAIRY!
SINGING ‘DOO DOO DOO, DOO, DOO, DOO ETC”
ME AND MARY TOOK A TRIP ON A BIPLANE, UP TO THE HIGH PLAINS
LIVIN ON CRUSKITS FISHED FROM THE MAIN DRAIN
KILLING TIME BY DERAILING COAL TRAINS
MADE THE CITY FOLKS ANGRY, THE COULDN’T HEAT THE WATER MAINS!
(HAD TO HAVE COLD SHOWERS, SHIVERIN’ FOR HOURS)
TIL THE AIR FORCES, GROUND FORCES, GREEN BERETS, MERCENARIES
COME DOWN UPON ME LIKE A SWARM OF ANGRY WORKER BEES
I JUMPED IN A FOXHOLE, COME UP IN NEW GUINEA
STOLE AN INDONESIAN GENERALS WATERPROOF HUMVEEE
THEN I CRUISED PAST JAPAN WITH THE TYPHOONS STINGING
UP TO ALASKA, THERE WERE ESKIMO GIRLS SINGING!
DOO DOO DOO, DOO DOO DOO ETC
STUMBLIN ROUND THE NORTH POLE, CHECKING ON MY MAP
IT WAS A POLAR BEARS TRAIL ON A PIECE OF FOOLSCAP
BUT THOSE DAMN CORPORATIONS SET ME A TRAP
A WHOLE POLAR ICE CAP MELTED ON MY LAP!
THEN I SURFED DOWN THE GULFSTREAM TO THE COAST OF CHILE
I WAS THE LAST THING SWIMMIN, THEY MADE A DOCUMENTAY!
I WENT TO THE PREMIERE AT THE LAST WORLD FAIR
SO MANY TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCEMENTS THERE
RUB TWO IPODS TOGETHER MAKE A FIRE!
PUT CHICKEN WIRE IN FRONT OF YOUR CLOTHES DRYER!
RAISE DRY CHICKENS,
PUT EM OUT IN THE YARD TO COOK A WHILE!
SINGING DOO DOO DOO, DOO DOO DOO ETC
I BUSTED OUT SCREAMING, ADVERTISERS SCREAMING,
GROWN UPS AND CHILDREN LIKE REFUGEES TEEMING
NEON SIGNS SPRUIKING PORN STARS REAMING
THEN ALL OF A SUDDEN I HEARD THE TRAM BRAKES SCREAMING,
THANK THE LORD, IT WAS JUST ANOTHER SONG WHERE THE GUY WAS ONLY DREAMING!
END OF SONG
*i know Schapelle is in Indonesia but hey, anyone ever heard ‘Bangkok’ by Alex Chilton?