This song is not one I wrote, but it is dedicated to my dear freinds, who bailed me out in my hour of need. I’m sorry to those of you who don’t speak German, (though I know man of you do) and for those who may think its just a god song (the fan vid is not the best) For me its about much more than that about having family and support ina world that can be hard as nails. Even being agnostic, and remains one of the most powerful songs I have ever heard. I hope you enjoy it.
Millionen Legionen – von die Fantastische Vier
Ich werde die Tests besteh’n
Bin damit nicht allein
Fließe in den Äther
Komm hierher, komm hierher
Ich bin für dich da,
Ich werde dir mein Leben geben,
Und Du findest in mir
Mit jedem Satz bitt’ ich
Wo ich bin steh’n sie
Wir werden erwachen
Ich rufe alle Superhelden,
In den Wogen der Welt
Find more similar lyrics on http://mp3lyrics.com/aUj
Und auch du Baby
War`n zwei echt gute Spinner
Und heute rufst Du alle Superhelden,
Es war die Nacht der Vampire
Geh’ ich unter und verschmelz’
Und ich ringe zum Himmel
Herrscher über mein Leben
Und dann erheb ich meine Feder
Obwohl es scheint als ob
Dieser Junge steht am Rand,
Und dann ruft er alle Superhelden,
It might be a cliche, but only because it is true. A picture is worth more than words, and can conjour up richness from nothingness in only the seconds it takes to absorb it.
So when you know good people in the visual arts world, it makes sense to collaborate! Being in the fortunate position of knowing some fantastic film makers and visual artists, I had the opportunity this year to work with the very talented Shaun Garea. This is a man who single handedly runs a production company (Estrata), works with musicians on Mike Patton & Billy Goulds “Koolarrow Records” and produces films, documentaries, and, as it happens, comics!
And because words really ARE inadequite for describing the amazing job Shaun and his crew did on the video for “The Arsonist”, I shall stop typing and let you check out his work for yourself!!
“The Arsonist” was filmed by Shaun Garea – http://www.shaungarea.com – on location in Christchurch, New Zealand. Music by Jordan Reyne, actors, Keri Wheeler (the scientist) and Charles Grubb (as the adventurer). Dedicated to the people of Christchurch.
After the last surveys I sent out asking you guys what you wanted in your newsletters, one of the things you guys asked for was “random tales from my life”. I kinda sidled over that request for a while, partly cos chosing randomness is a bit of a contradiction, but mainly, cos I wasn’t sure what to write about. Having had a few letters urging me to please do it anyway, I decided the best thing to do would be to relate the non music related stuff that comes up in conversation for me at odd points in the week.
“The Drums of Satan”
It happens on New Zealand’s west coast, a ruggedly beautiful place where the mountains plunge straight into an ocean that hurls itself onto talons of rock, ripping itself into foam. It happens where I grew up, though some time after me and my family had all moved on, in a place called Tauranga Bay, where the sea roars out its rage at the coast.
Tauranga bay is half an hours drive out of Westport, which is three hours drive throgh a mountain range and one-lane roads, from anyplace civilized. I wanted to show my then-partner what this place I had come from was like – probably because I thought it explained something, thought what that something might be, I have yet to figure out.
In a rusty old holden station wagon, whose column shift screetched in fear when you so much as touched it, I drove the poor man, whose name wasn’t Ben but will be for this story, into the depths of nowhere – to the only place left in the country where one-lane bridges still share with trains, and where the locals point and laugh if you drive over at the wrong time of day cos everyone knows that’s when the good train comes through from the south.
We arrived late at night, only to find the nearest campsite wasn’t near at all, and was, in any case full.
When we got to the shore, “no camping” signs poked up from the ground ike middle fingers, jeering. We took a side road; drove the car over shuddering, unsealed chip, hunting for a likely looking place. With so little space between earth and sea, we hit the end of the road before finding anything suitable. We stopped and killed the lights. Sea booming in our ears. There seemed to be a broad sort of area to one side of where the road ended, where the ground flattened out between two hills. A picnic table was balanced there with rocks underneath the foot that was falling away into soggy ground.
“What the fuck is that?” (we use the f word for anything and everything down under). That was the first thing I heard before yanking out my earplugs to hear what the problem was.
All around us there was drumming. It would rise up on one side, deep and irregular and loud, before sinking back into the sound of the far off sea, and then rising up again someplace else nearby. It was eerie and other worldly, and definitely not human.
I went with my eyes shut. I didnt want to see ANYTHING, cos if I did, I would be forced to believe mumbo jumbo. The slick cool of the grass on my feet didnt sooth me, normal as it was – my brain sent me images of bloodied skins lying piled up upon one another; of the slick dead tongues of murder victems taken out here by mad pagan locals on a dark night, whose ghosts lingered here forever. Eventally I realised my own imagination was far more horrendous than anything real life could offer, and I opened my eyes.
In the lighter black of the road, the car sagged on its haunches, unscathed and not crawling with deamons. The moon was half. The booming hadnt stopped though, and seemed to come from several directions at once. I took a few steps toward the bushes near the tent – leaping back and letting out a yip as something skittered off into the undergrowth. The booming continued. There was nothing to see but shadow on shadow, and when something dark moved off across the corner of my eye I got back into the tent as fast as I could, lest I see anything “ghostly”.
The sun comes up early on a clear day in summer. By 7am we had crawled from the tent, now heating up and baking us inside it. Ligaments cracked as I tried to realign my body with gravity, stretching as Ben headed over to the car to get the cooker. He stopped by a large plackard
At this point I would like to thank the New Zealand department of Conservation for its informative sign that let us know that we were not insane, and that the word was still completely devoid of ghosts, miracles or wonders, and that besides that, wekas (flightless, curious, chicken-sized birds, that look a lot like Kiwis if you dont happen to ever have seen a kiwi) bred at the exact time of year we had decided to camp. These birds, said the sign, made a deep booming noise with their throat, to announce their readiness to screw to potential sexual partners. The sound, the placard went on could be “surprisingly loud”, but was not often heard by people as the birds were “easily put off” their mating rituals.
As if on cue, several of them appeared, as they actually do all the time on the west coast. They lunged about, gawky and decidedly unfrightening, near the boot of the car. One of them jumped into the open boot and made off with a slice of bread.
Ben Naylor is a UK visual artist from Brighton. We met in the Brunswick pub during the fringe festival – a time of year where Brighton fills with people toting guitars, wearing all colours of the rainbow at once, and playing join-the-dots, by foot, on a map of fringe events.
I was playing a show at the Brunswick, which likes to play with boundaries so much that it is in Hove and Brighton both at once. I had trouble finding it, but onyl because I tried following people with guitars and found out that that was 50% of the populace. After the show, in the windowless gig room, we got chatting. People are chatty in England. I like it.
It turned out Ben was a very talented visual artist with a style that combines all the best elements of storytelling, humour and horror. For those of you who don’t know, I have a thing for the visual arts, and visual artists too we talked about doing something collaborative, in that way one does over a cider, where one is never entirely sure if things will pan out, but hopes it will. We parted ways after scrawling website addresses and emails on soggy beer mats.
When the upcoming album, “Children of a Factory Nation” had the release delayed to co-incide with tour dates later in teh year, it seemed the perfect opportunity to hunt out some unusual and interesting multi-artform ways of presenting the stories within it. It’s times like that where I am very thankful to know as many talented filmmakers, authors and artists as I do. Added to the people we already had plans with – the globe-trotting, groundbreaking, Eloise Coveny who was working on an animation video for Johnny’s tale, and Anarchy Books’ chainsaw weilding mastermind, Andy Remic, who was organising a writing competition – Ben’s artwork seemed like the perfect fit. A few emails and rough sketches later, I was very excited to see what would come next.
So, without further waffle, Ben’s work is presented below. What I will add is that working with such wonderful people as those named above makes me proud to be a creative type, and able to hold my head up at least half high when snarly tax-office types accuse me of engaging in terrible folly for even imagining that the arts is a valid persuit. In the name of creativity being a very valid persuit indeed, here are the picures, as promised.
Lastly, if you’d like to have a copy of your own, cos of technical hitches, the comic has become one of those special things you can only get at gigs – unless you order one of the 15 copies my partner and I printed at home and cut ourselves in our dimly lit flat on a rainy afternoon. Our eyesight has since deteriorated too much to do any more by hand, but the images, in full, will also be part of the magazine that comes out after the album release with all the related projects presented, and will be released digitally, with the track itself, closer to the albums release.
Playing with yourself on stage is not nearly as offensive and out of the question as it sounds In fact, I do it so often a few of you have asked me how I manage it without embarassing myself. The secret is not nearly as smutty as my inability to resist making double entendres would suggest. In fact, I should probably explain what I am on about in case people are seriously worried about where this post is going.
The Digitech Jamman Stereo is a loop machine. A wondrous device I have worked with for almost two years now. It allows you to sample yourself as you play, and plays those samples back in a continuous loop. What it means is, you can record a guitar riff, or a vocal phrase, and have it replay indefinately, whilst you play over the top of it. Unlike most of the competitors out there, the Digitech Jamman Stereo allows you to record both vocals AND guitar, albiet on the same channel. This blows the scope for making full, harmony rich performances as a soloist wide open.
With that in mind, I’ve made a video on how to use them for those of you who are looking into buying one, and the few of you that are worried that it’s all very complicated. This vid should show you the opposite – it’s actually really simple. I am a clutz at the best of times, and this thing is simple enough for me not to get wrong too often
There will be another two videos coming up in the future about the Digitech Jamman Stereo with some tricks for advanced users, and a couple of secrets about how to synch them up if you are using more than one (which is one of the ways to separate the vocal and guitar parts). For now though, enjoy messing around with your loop machine! They are an inspiring gadget and make a lot of very creative things possible.
And yell if you have any questions I will answer to the best of my ability!