in the wilderness of my mind i crouch over a wet pile of tinder and blow fruitlessly

NEXT FEW DAYS!

The last blast of arctic winter has hit us and we huddle around the potbelly and laptops every morning making plans and tuning instruments. I have concocted a new breakfast with COUS COUS using dates and honey and yoghurt and cinnamon.

SWEET BREAKFAST TIMES

SWEET BREAKFAST TIMES

Engineer mR Burke has never eaten so well on a recording gig. His recent jobs were more lean and dangerous, The Drones snared animals in the forest with traps made of old guitar pedals and The Mess Hall chew their leather jackets for sustenance. We are rocking an customised recording Tagine and Indra’s magic sPICE pOUCH filled with arcane Sri Lankan goodness and we the Dan Kelly Dream Band are gonna use that stuff. We may come out sounding a little more full than those bands but i’m resigned to my place in the turgid miasma of oz rock.
Sometimes i drive to castlemaine pool to wrestle with the bandaids in the 17 meter (!) lap lane in a vain bid to stay fit. But after a couple of attempts i give up and resign myself to recording unhealthiness.
It’s about this point that i start developing feelings of dread and inadequacy as i stand tracking in a little hallway behind the band with nothing but a full length mirror of myself to look at . Take after take, Malkovitch after Malkovitch, i start freaking that the record won’t be done in time, my lyrics are shit, my guitar playing is too Malkmus and my voice is weak. This happens periodically anyway but the full length mirror in front of me starts to magnify the vortex of insincerity until i feel like i’m caught in the spirals in the middle of a black sabbath album

DAN KELLY MIND DAY 6

DAN KELLY MIND DAY 6

To take my mind of the pointless boredom of my worries i concentrate on Dave and Indra’s constant good natured baiting of each other and Dallas’ collection of ACID t shirts.

DALLAS IN ONE OF MANY ACID THEMED SHIRTS

DALLAS IN ONE OF MANY ACID THEMED SHIRTS

Meanwhile Burke sits in his tiny bedroom which is about 4 degrees warm and calls the shots. His beard is growing and his hair matting and he start to morph into his alter ego, BLACK RAINBOW.

BLACK RAINBOW IN NATURAL HABITAT

BLACK RAINBOW IN NATURAL HABITAT

Dallas heads home for a day and we get through a couple of songs without keys – I was a Teenage Classical DJ at Dandenong Station,  and Stressing Out!  Stressing Out! is about being drunk at hot yoga

ABOUT TO FALL OVER AT HOT YOGA

ABOUT TO FALL OVER AT HOT YOGA

and falling over after realising that i don’t have a single yet. It actually sounds like a single to me, but i’m bored of the Jackson Brown-esque focus on my life in the music industry that a couple of these songs are alluding to , and vow to change the lyrics in the middle of doing the third take. Of course with my speed at lyric writing that one move threatens to blow the whole album off course. So i’m stressing out about my single Stressing out which is about Stressing out about not having a single and Malkovitch Malkovitch Malkovitch ugh.

MALKOVICH

MALKOVICH

I start making a shrine to my Naturopath out of guitar picks and old Rolling Stone magazines and praying to it every night for guidance.
What would Nick Cave do?

NICK WOULD KNOW

NICK WOULD KNOW

Day Three. The Smell of Petrol in the morning

DAY THREE

After learning the hard way about recording digital music on the whims of generator, we settle into a routine. Three hours  tracking, then refuel the generator, a snack, watch some Tim and Eric, then tracking again.

some special tim and eric for you

Today then every two days  henceforth we’ll need to make the trip into Daylesford for more petrol. The fuel cans both leak out of the top so we can’t fill them up more than three quarters and have to elaborately jam them into place in the boot with a combination of bricks, amp cases and occ. straps lest they fall over on one of the dirt road turns out of the property.
Indra’s little machine does the first trip and we blast Black Flag and Manahan Street band out of his tinny speakers.
Neither of us are great with directions so there are a lot of late corners taken at Indra speed as we realise we’re about to miss every turnoff. As a result the car is reeking of petrol by the time we get back. I get the feeling I’m gonna smell like this for two weeks.

indra negotiating local traffic

We try three songs today. The Decommissioner, Grown up Solutions and Toll Driving on February 5.
Toll Driving is up first and the band settles into a kind of groove that wouldn’t be out  of place on an early seventies Stones or Faces record. It sounds great and we all relax and try and get a good take down. I start to feel a bit weird about my kind of zany middle aged brisbanite theme on this one, as it might be more suited to a straight up Junior Murvin falsetto about crossing the Red Sea on a Jet Ski.

Junior warming up for red sea crossing

I file that away till later and just concentrate on trying to play like JJ Cale.
We have a good take by 1pm and dave does a little dance so i think thats a good sign.
The Decommissioner is my jaunty song about an indie band that goes on tour blowing up coal fire power stations. I expect to get in trouble for this song but nobody ever really pays attention to lyrics anyway unless they’re about love being like the wild inner feelings of rabbits and foxes. So i’m not to worried. I don’t think it’s actually illegal coz i’m not the guy in the song. But i should get my Lawyer uncle Tony to look that shit up before I put the record out.
We track this one forever as we again struggle with slow versus fast, click track versus no click. My radar for this stuff is strangely scrambled and we bash on into the night like the Kinks being led by a confused public servant. We finally settle on a good one with no click track( more on that later, ahem) and i go to bed with the sound crickets in my head.
Grown Up Solutions will have to wait for tomorrow. I’ve been putting them off for years anyway.

GEN PETTY TIME

GEN PETTY TIME

Day 2 : Nighttime Tempo Japes!

DAY 2
NIGHT tIME JAPES WITH TEMPO DOWN
After a fitful sleep where i dream of doing the record on a nature strip in Northcote with a tape recorder, i wake to the blissful sound of Joan and Russel driving up to the house towing a trailer sporting a very large generator.
Saved.
I make porridge as Burke and Dave hide the generator behind a large water tank and start running leads into our little bed and breakfast.
Dallas and Indra rock up at midday and I stop stressing out as i’m too distracted by their general enthusiasm and large collection of TIM AND ERIC clips.
Another 4 hours building amp rooms and tuning the drums and it’s time for dinner.
I make a lentil and tomato soup with fenugreek, testing out recipe that Joan had mentioned this morning.
It’s good!
But um we should make some music now that i’ve calmed down.
Tonight we are trying ‘West Coast Fishing Incident’
I’m looking for a  sound somewhere between King Sunny Ade, Corner Shop and Kevin ‘Bloody’ Wilson.
However tempo issues rear their ugly head for the first and, i suspect, not last time.
The guitars sound great when the song is fast, but my multi layered lyrical attack seems a bit crammed and un-funky.
We try some takes with the click track, some without, some without a big Surf Stratocaster sound, and some with a little plinky parlour guitar.
Some fast, some slow. (But strangely none in between, more on that later)
We finally settle on a take about midnight.
But a little sick feeling in my tum makes me think i might be having a crack at this one again.
I hate that feeling, i get it often.
i need to meditate like David Lynch, or just be better at everything.
I have stopped drinking so i can’t make it go away the traditional way.
blehh.
The generator runs out while we are having a break, Burke screaming ‘Apple S!’ frantically  and we are plunged into darkness.

10

Sweet eco times in stress ville. Afternoon day one

AFTERNOON DAY ONE

HMMM

We spend about five hours loading gear in, setting up amps. putting a squillion guitars and pedals out for possible use , positioning mics and making the mother of all keyboard cages for Dallas. Now to plug stuff in.
Oops.
First we realise that the cool solar power setup is about enough juice to charge my mac and pay a small stereo. But we suspected this so on goes the Generator, albeit a lot earlier than i had hoped.
Then we realise that the generator doesn’t seem to quite be able to power up the monitor speakers for Burke’s set up either.
This is more of a problem, but unsure whether it might just be a blown speaker we call up Dallas and Indra who are coming tomorrow and organise some new monitor speakers.
The we realise that the electricity has an insistent mosquito like hum that ebbs and flows in time perfectly with the gasps and surges of our little generator.
This is definitely an issue
I spend the next two hours on the phone to friends and electricity stores trying to figure out how to cut the hum. To get phone reception i have to stand on a hill as the first of the antarctic winds and hail of our spring chill start to hammer down.
I go inside to put on extra clothes, gloves. scarf and tracksuit pants under my stovepipes.
No one seems to have any good ideas.
We try pulling the earth pin out of a power board but no dice. Though it is a bit exciting .
I start to panic about how much money i’m going to waste if i cant record here.
Dave suggests i call Paul Martin, Augie March’s mixer,Driver,loader and Guru.
He suggests i get a bigger generator then run straight into it to avoid the dirty power of the house.
Good idea.
Then i ring generator companies and realise that to rent a big one for two weeks would cost about the whole budget of the record again.
By now it’s midnight. We have the big meeting where i make plans to send dave home to his kid and tell the others to stay in Melbourne while Burke and i sort this out.
Fuck it.
Then i actually have my own technical idea.
We can just plug straight into our generator and bypass the house system altogether. I should have realised this hours ago.
We get a long lead and stash the genie 50 meters away behind a water tank and plug her in.
It still hums.
Then i turn off the solar power battery even though we are not connected to it.
Aha. This is better, but still not totally quiet.
Then we plug in the earth removed power board and i stand in a certain part of the house while holding my guitar on a certain angle and Voila!
Audio silence.
As long as i don’t move for the next two weeks everything should be cool.
But every time Burke turns another knick knack on the generator surges then slows and the lights dim a bit.
We still need a bigger generator.
I text Joan up at the main house.
Um, this isn’t part of the deal but do you have a massive generator you can lend us for free for two weeks?
It’s 1 am though so we’ll see in the morning.
I head up to the loft to sleep on it.
Sweet times indeed.

20

Dan Kelly’s DREAM blog

Welcome to my album Blog Peoples.
My goal is to have one genius album recorded, mixed and out by early next year. I have a cast of new playaz, being,

Indra Adams on Bass,who plays in Ground Components and books lots of venues  in Melbs and can make great Sri Lankan food and has a lot of energy.

Dale Packard on keys, also of the Ground Components and also plays Sax for Architecture in Helsinki and Catcall and tour manages Midnight Juggernauts and also has lots energy but less than Indra.

Dave Williams who drums for Augie March and also has a surfeit of Energy.

and recording the lot will be Burke Reid from sydney who has recently done the Drones, Jack Ladder, Mess Hall and most importantly, the TUCKER b’s

We just did 8 days straight rehearsal at Sound Park in Northcote, trying to work out what the fuck i played on my garageband demos, and then not play that exactly anyways, or there wouldn’t be much point doing it again.

I’M looking for a more sixties, nigerian indie, highway 61 -revisited -for-retarded -children kind of sound on this one.  Good luck to me. It will probably end up sounding like Paul Kelly on acid again.

DAY ONE: Morning!

I get up at six in the morning to go shopping for band food at the Footscray markets.
Lots of grains and legumes for body and brain strength! The vegetable aisles go a ways toward cooling my already racing brain.

Last night at Joe’s bar i farewelled my compadre and general life co producer A Ron Cupples  back to LONDON where he fled in 1997 after i made him record and  mix ‘Drowning in the Fountain of Youth’  for a year in a sheep shed.

I realise i am alone now on the slippery scree of autistic endeavour.

By 9 am i have loaded 12 guitars, 4 amps, three synths and 21 guitar pedals into my uncle’s small camry, then i drive to Sound Park and meet a chipper and be-shorted Dave where we must load the ridiculously heavy seventies key boards (RHODES, YAMAHA 345). Dave has been struggling to start Dale’s van but thankfully it is now spluttering in the corner of the carpark waiting for us to stuff it with our worn and stenciled rock phalli.

We are on the western highway by 11.

I’m listening to a Doors live tape that i found under the car seat. Not gonna talk about the Doors at all.

Our destination is a little house in Yandoit east of Daylesford that is rented out as a holiday shack which sits on the beautiful property of Joan and Russel. The property is filled with massive and tiny iron sculptures.
We arrive and Burke greets us with his Beard.

I have a feeling this blog is going to become a lot more succinct.

Stay tuned for Day one: Afternoon!

43

MY GOD I AM ACTUALLY ABOUT TO DO SOMETHING!!

Good news! After probing the depths of my soul with various psychic implements i have managed to write 17 songs. Thats about 33% of my total life output! God knows what else i’ve been up to but I am proficient in middle eastern cooking styles, can swim 1500 metres in 22min30 sec and can hold forth on a variety of esoteric topics if plied with perfume and negroni. I have found a fabulous new group of gents to help me record the next album, including Dave Williams from AugieMarch and the preternaturally connected duo of Indra Adams and Dale Packard from the Ground Components. We head up to Daylesford on the First of October to record what will probably be called ‘The Decommissioner‘. I intend to blog the whole thing. Hopefully these blogs will be the basis for my episode of ‘Classic Albums’. Otherwise you can use it as a how not to’ manual. Useful either way! So thanks for waiting around for three and a half years while I read Bruce Dawe on the loo. The time for action is now! Attached is a photo of me looking homo erotic with my hero Joel Silbersher.

17

Australian Tour and The SUV Song

On a small island off Western Samoa, (Sa ‘Sacred’ and Moa “chicken’ in the local parlance)… a lone ukulele chimes under the cries of starving seagulls, beyond the crash of surf on the bleached reef, factory ships scour the ocean floors.

Meanwhile on the beach three voices croon in sweet harmony, an island chorus, “As the sun sets, sing along, a simple tunes for cultures burned and gone….”

It is the ghost of Elvis, with two young Hollywood starlets? Is it Enrique Iglesias holidaying with two soulful Russian tennis players? No! Its Dan Kelly and The Ukeladies!!!!!!

With the planet in peril, Dan Kelly has taken time off recording his third album to team up with Melbourne’s premier faux Hawaiian duo, The Ukeladies, to release The SUV Song, which is available as a free download from October 11th.

A timely ode to the sinking Samoan and Tuvaluan women as they resignedly gurgle insults at Westerners pottering about in their supersize automobiles, The SUV Song is another skewed, witty, sweetly melodic and bleak song from the pen of the man who brought us “Drunk On Election Night’ and the award winning LP Drowning In The Fountain Of Youth.

The SUV Song floats onto the airwaves this month, featuring possibly the world’s first ever mobile phone feedback solo, performed by the Ukeladies in true tropical Armageddon style. This ground breaking tele-communictaion experiment combined with their dreamy vocals and Dan’s crooning falsetto make for a match made in tropical heaven.

The summer winds will blow Dan Kelly and The Ukeladies around the country for a string of headline shows and a number of shows supporting Augie March, through October and November.