Tuesday, April 13, 2004

How Bizarre
I missed some of the weekend papers, due to being outta town for a meaterific time (ie the long weekend I ate meat), but I caught up with the Sunday Star Times article on whatever happened to Pauly Fuemana of OMC fame [have added article at bottom of this post]. Its a lurid piece of journalism from David Fisher, that throws up some entertaining tales of the dizzying heights of international superstardom...

"Alan Jansson (cowriter and producer of How Bizarre): "We were in a restaurant and Pauly said: 'The next album will be drum and bass'. His manager said: 'That's great Pauly, all bands have a drum and a bass'."
Too many people talking in Pauly's ear, and it all came down to lawyers.
"Jansson and Pauly, who penned the hit together, needed lawyers to sort out their problems. Mega-star Pauly came to do battle flanked by four lawyers from Russell McVeagh, says Jansson, whose only lawyer was called John Wayne. "I had The Duke," he cackles."
Points off to the Star Times website getting Fuemana's name wrong in the headline - "How bizarre - What's happened to Pauly Faemana?"

Amazon.com has some amusing customer comments on the OMC album...
"Take Ray Romano, ship him off to New Zealand and have him write music instead of comedy and you might have Pauly. The lyrics are witty, yet if you turned your back on them, they just might bite you on the behind. The instrumentation is tight, yet, just a bit off. As far as Pauly's vocals, um, I guess I'm just not used to New Zealanders rapping. But it's much more refreshing than anything Vanilla Ice ever did."

"I sincerly hope that "OMC" is active and creating back in his own country and we MTV lamos have just lost track of him due to our top-ten-sensitive-only-radar. This album showed glimmers of what could be a real talent two more albums down the road and perhaps they've already been released outside the U.S."

"It's a shame people probably only remember this as a novelty/one-hit wonder-it is so much more.The 90's were probably the worst music decade ever, but this saved it... If you like Paul Simon,Moby, or Poi Dog Pondering's first 2 albums-you will love this."

"I bought this album thinking OMC meant Old Man's Child and the guy picture on the cover of the album was just a twisted joke by the guys in the band. But no this is not Old Man's Child..."
Someone labels Fuemana as a Hispanic rapper, another suggests he's a punk Maori. If you want a copy there are 203 copies up for grabs in the new and used section, starting from $US0.01.

Following 'How Bizarre', Pauly starred in a movie in 1999, that was the feature film directing debut for Matthew Modine, who also wrote and took the lead role. The stinker is called If... Dog... Rabbit... (aka One Last Score) - Pauly played a character called Mister Scary. But check the cast list, and you'll see he wasn't the only Kiwi in the cast - Soane Filitonga (DJ Soane) plays Tod.

Seven years on, it's still pretty incredible to think that this groovy song from a lad from Otara topped the charts in 20 countries around the world. Whether Pauly comes back with something new or not, that's an achievement that no-one will ever take away from him. Right on.


DIY Marae - I wrote about it a few weeks back, and now the NZ Herald has discovered it. Good on them, aye? Tuesday night, 7PM til 8. Check it if you can.
"Tonight in Tauranga there's the barbed wire on the dunny wall. Rawinia has her theory: it's there to hang the loo paper on, or to keep the peeping toms out.
There's the wildly excited guy, watching his marae get a makeover, amazed that the young people are getting involved. Normally, he says, they won't even help "the aunties do the dishes or nothing man.
"They'd rather kick back and smoke in the car - you know that sort of thing."
This is community television. So last word to that guy: "I reckon it's wicked, bro. I love it, bro."
Can we call it cuzzie bro television? Sweet.


Originally published in Sunday Star Times, via stuff.co.nz - spelling typo in headline is from their website.


How bizarre - What's happened to Pauly Faemana? 11 April 2004 Sunday Star Times


It's the classic one hit wonder story - poor boy makes good but then disappears from sight. David Fisher charts the story behind singer Pauly Fuemana whose moment in the spotlight was a global phenomenon.

Pauly Fuemana sang "want to know the rest, hey, buy the rights" - then vanished.

He was King of the World, an Otara kid on a wild and crazy ride. How bizarre it all was.

Can't find Pauly to buy the rights now. He's still vanished, and likes it that way.

So I took the rights without asking. And this is the Pauly Fuemana story.

There was always plenty to tell, but Pauly didn't want it told. By the time his shooting star had returned to earth, he was sick of it - so many people wanting a piece of the universe he had made his own.

So he slipped away. A home in Auckland's Birkenhead for a few years, a quiet retreat to the north of the city . . . then nothing.

Pauly was huge, bigger than New Zealand ever realised. He's not now, and he knows that, though it took him a while to understand it.

The Fuemana sound was sweet pop from the hip-hop of South Auckland. The 1994 album Proud was one of the first whispers to escape - as brother Phil Fuemana puts it - the hood. "You don't know me, you haven't seen what I've seen/ So you could never really understand what I mean," sang Sisters Underground on Proud. That could have been Pauly's song, then and now.

He was on that album, on a track from OMC, the Otara Millionaires' Club, titled We R The OMC. For Phil, the music was already happening but Proud brought it to the nation, care of producer and songwriter Alan Jansson, whom he wryly describes as "some sort of great white hope".

When Jansson saw similar comments in print, he rang Phil and the pair butted heads. "I didn't tell you where to get off, I helped you to get on," Jansson said.

Pauly turned up, banging on Jansson's door. "Bro, no one has ever talked to my brother like that," he said, and stayed for a while. More than a year later the two would write the song that would make them rich.

But first there was the OMC. Pauly was living cheap, buying clothes from opportunity shops and at one stage living in a garage.

The first Big Day Out concert was opening, and the OMC was one of two acts to perform in New Zealand and tour Australia.

"Three nights before he left, Pauly and I sat down, and this is how prolific he was, we wrote eight songs," says Jansson. "We did that in the old kitchen of the studio."

One of those songs had the working title: "Big Top" and worked off the notes C-G-F. The lines "How Bizarre" and "buy the rights" would come later, as would the hit.

It was being refined all the time, says Jansson. "Pauly sang: 'Every time I look around, you're not there' and I said ONeeds some work bro'. It became . . . 'you're in my face'.

"Pauly can say it was all his, but I know who did what," says Jansson. He still owns half the song. "I said to Pauly, let's make our goals. Let's make number one in America. At that stage there were only about 840 songs that had been number ones. That was the goal. By getting in there, you are one of the best."

On that Australian trip, Rolling Stone reviewer Clinton Walker watched OMC and wrote: "Fuemana is an absolute natural, a man who sings and moves with the sharp easy grace of a young Marvin Gaye."

Jansson: "I went to see Simon Grigg (of the Huh! indy label). He said of all the bands you are working with at the moment I'm only interested in working with Pauly."

"Alan (Jansson) played me a demo and I said: 'That's pretty good'," says Grigg, with some understatement.

The song, by then, was what you hear now. "We'd tried different things," says Jansson. "Then Pauly came in one night and said 'you know how you are always saying how bizarre all the time? My missus says that too. Let's try that'."

Jansson and Grigg jumped a plane to Sydney to see Polygram where the record label's then number two, Adam Holt predicted: "This will be top five if not number one in Australia."

New Zealand had little idea of the magnitude of Fuemana's achievement as "How Bizarre", number one in Aotearoa and Australia in 1997, was picked up by UK radio DJ Chris Evans, at the height of his popularity.

Top of the Pops, the biggest music television show in Europe, wanted Pauly, a 27-year-old who'd been to Sydney but never this far from South Auckland.

He was treated like royalty in London, says Jansson. Chauffeur-driven cars at the airport, hotels, the finest restaurants, the first waves of fawning, bowing and scraping music industry types.

Grigg: "Pauly at that stage is going 'what the f–- is going on'. We got to meet the Spice Girls, Cher, and Paul Weller. It was amazing."

Then it crossed the Atlantic when a radio station in Buffalo started playing the song and alerted its New York affiliate - "the biggest radio station in the world", says Jansson.

Pauly had made it.

Grigg: "He was taken from Otara to living in an expensive hotel in New York and being feted by the rich and famous. He got a lot more insular, a lot more private, a lot more protective."

When you get that high, you find there's very few who can breathe the thin air up there. The myriad of executives and helpers moved in and, says Grigg, "were trying to turn him against Alan, and by association, me as well. People were saying 'you don't need these guys anymore"'.

There was new management, and new people running Pauly. Jansson believes "that's where Pauly and I fell apart. It drove a wedge between us".

And the money started coming. "It must be hard to never have had any money, then these massive cheques arrive through the mail," says Grigg.

"Pauly spent it like water," said one former friend.

Jansson: "The money was rolling in . . . You can stick the fame. But f–-, the fortune is amazing. Instead of just looking the part, he had the cash stocks and bonds to go with it."

Both Jansson and Grigg are critical of the handling, after the hit, of Pauly's career - including the remake of Randy Newman's "I love LA" for the Mr Bean movie.

Jansson: "We were in a restaurant and Pauly said: 'The next album will be drum and bass'. His manager said: 'That's great Pauly, all bands have a drum and a bass'."

It got bitter at times. Grigg remembers one manager asking: "Does Alan Jansson want more than one track on Pauly Fuemana's greatest hits?" "I said: 'Does Pauly Fuemana want more than one track on Alan Jansson's greatest hits?'"

Jansson and Pauly, who penned the hit together, needed lawyers to sort out their problems. Mega-star Pauly came to do battle flanked by four lawyers from Russell McVeagh, says Jansson, whose only lawyer was called John Wayne. "I had The Duke," he cackles.

"Since then, I haven't really talked to Pauly."

Pauly stayed in the US, working with a number of new producers. Nothing was released.

In mid-1998, he married long-time girlfriend Kirstene Gee, the mother of his three children. Pauly had left Otara behind and now lived in leafy Birkenhead, although he did get married in South Auckland - even if it was on exclusive Puketutu Island in the Manukau Harbour.

A year later he was back in the US playing Mr Scary in a Matthew Modine film If . . . Dog . . . Rabbit. It was a difficult time - torn between the US and home, trying to make it while being a husband and father.

Meanwhile, Pauly poured royalties from "How Bizarre" into his management and music company, OMC Ltd. Recording equipment was bought and he continued singing and writing, under pressure to produce another hit. Again nothing was ever released. Anything he produced, even those follow up singles on the How Bizarre album, would be measured against that song.

Phil Fuemana, who runs successful South Auckland hip-hop label Urban Pasifika, says Pauly wasn't looking for the music. "Music just sort of fell on him. It was a moment in time. He got rich and came home to New Zealand to his wife and family."

As the song got less air time and royalties dropped, Pauly's spending didn't, according to accountants' reports for OMC Ltd, which went into liquidation a few years later. Credit reports show debt collectors started looking for the well-hidden star.

"It wouldn't be very nice when it comes to an end and you see who your friends are," says Jansson.

Those who know say this doesn't mean Pauly is broke - the success of the song will provide a comfortable living for years, perhaps the rest of his life.

Few in New Zealand appreciate how great his fleeting success was. Phil has an award for Pauly hanging on the wall at home. It has 20 flags on it - one for each country "How Bizarre" went number one in.

"I was f–-ing proud, eh. We had a really big party when it went big in the UK. And it was because Alan and Simon believed in our brother.

"You can only wish to have a hit like it. When Pauly made it, for us, it was like we made it. We shared in his fame. We all got something. We made it out of the hood.

"He f–-ed the whole world. He f–-ed the whole lot of them. It was just a moment. It was a rush for a second. How many seconds do you need, once you start banking the cash?

"Does he have to come back? If he wanted to, he would have."

Phil points to the brilliance of current Kiwi hip-hop, and wishes the record industry would show the same faith in artists such as Che Fu and Scribe and release their work abroad.

The record companies and music money-men can leave his brother alone: "Make Scribe or Che the new 'How Bizarre' . . . don't try and dredge up the old one."

Pauly is a private man, says Phil. They see each other on family occasions, but other than that, he rarely goes out.

Sunday Star Time understands Pauly and Kirstene have moved to Albany, to a modest home with a swimming pool. This year, for the first time in years, Pauly's music has an audience again, although a small one. Mike Chunn, the former Split Enz bassist has demos he is touting around town.

Phil says if Pauly is making music again, it will be his own, not something manufactured for him to sing.

"We came from simple dreams. We didn't want to be huge huge . . . we just wanted to support our families.

"That's where you'll find him, somewhere in suburbia. You won't find him. He doesn't want to be found.

"If you're looking for Pauly, turn the radio on, request his song and there he is."

Pauly yells "we're outta here"

Kirstene says "right on"

We're making moves and starting grooves

Before they knew we're gone

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Street racers anonymous
There's this guy on the news last night, defending his son, who has killed himself by wrapping his car around a tree at high speed. His son had been stopped by the Police in a known area for boy racers at 3am sunday morning, but before the Police could talk to him he sped off, took a few corners, clipped a van and crashed, spreading wreckage over a 50 metre stretch of road. The man's son was a 35 year old father of two. The father claimed his son was not a boy racer.

Then on 60 Minutes, there was an doco item about four boys, killed in a high speed crash. One of the boys had been given the keys to the car by his parents, driven round to his mates for a barbeque, then headed off home about midnight, but had also taken three of his mates. Turns out he was going for a cruise to the gas station, but he failed to take a corner at high speed (140 km) and killed himself and his three friends. The driver, a 15 year old, did not have a license. Yet his parents still gave him the keys to the car. The Father was belligerent when the interviewer asked him why he hasn't apologised to the other families, but later gave a sort of apology.
Later, TV3 chose to screen Fast and the Furious, a film set in LA around the exciting world of street racers.

Whatever happened to personal responsibility?

Friday, April 02, 2004

The Godfather
The last time James Brown was in town, it was 1977. After a few near misses he finally returned here, to the St James, a suitably funky venue for a very funky guy. After a fine warmup set from longstanding club act Ardijah, Mister Browns current band, the Soul Generals made their entrance, dressed in sharp sky-blue suits. Onstage were two drummers, two bass players, two guitarists, 3 piece horn section, a percussionist and 3 backing singers, introduced by Mister Browns MC Danny Ray as the Bittersweets. Then Danny Ray started the build up for Mister Browns entrance... "Are you ready for the Godfather of soul, Mister Dynamite, the hardest working man in show business?" And so on.

Finally, Mister Brown makes his entrance, casually strolling onstage. What follows is a greatest hits package, which is exactly what you want from a legend like Brown. Even though some of his hits were presented in shortened form, like Please Please Please (including his famous 'stage exit with cape' routine), there was still plenty of funk in evidence. When Brown took things down a notch, like on Its a Man's World, he showed that he still has a hugely soulful voice, giving the song some real grit. He pulled a few dance moves - no splits but hey, the guy's 70! He even threw in a few mic stand tricks, just to show he's still got it.

The crowd was very very white bread - very few kids, very few brown faces. Maybe the high ticket prices put some off going. Still, that didn't make me think twice about buying a ticket.

Some commentators suggested Brown seemed more like a cameo in his own band, letting them take extended solos, and noted that he even passed the mic to one "of his hair-tossing female proteges take centre-stage for an overlong bracket while he conducted the band or held his place behind the keyboards." The cool thing was, even when he wasn't on the mic, he was always in control of the band, via his hand gestures. They followed his lead very closely. And as for the female protege, well she's Ms Tomi Rae, aka the current Mrs James Brown. She is also the woman Brown is currently up on charges for assaulting back in late January. The couple had previously announced their separation, placing an ad in Variety in July 2003 noting it was a "mutual show business decision" to "go their separate ways." The accompanying photo is the couple and their three year old son at DisneyWorld posing with Goofy. Ms Tomi Rae is 33, and looks like a sultry Vamperella character.

Yet there she is on stage, singing a love song to Brown, and clearly they are still a couple; Brown takes her hand and leads her offstage at the end off the show. At a press conference in Melbourne, after his Auckland show, Brown was faced with a question on the domestic violence charge, much to the disapproval of the Brown camp, who had asked for no questions on this (check the mugshot). Brown, who was sitting next to Tomi Rae, asked the journo straight back if she was married.

"You're not? Well then you wouldn't know what I'm talking about anyway," he said. "Ask all the married couples -- they know. You get up on the wrong side of the bed and everything, but we're doing fine." Go figure.

Yes, James Brown the legend came to town. He may not have been like the records of 30 years ago, but back then he had Bootsy Collins, Jabo Starks, Fred Wesley and Maceo Parker playing alongside him - some of the funkiest players on the planet. You got the spectacle, you got the soul, you got the funk - what else is there?

Public Enemy's Chuck D caught James Brown late last year, in Atlanta. "When Mr. Brown took the stage the ATL immediately roared for their Georgia son. The very first cut was 'Make It Funky' signifying that James and the Soul Generals were gonna pull some joints out the bag. Highlights included JB doing two microphone stand tricks that left the crowd stunned as if MIKE JORDAN threw it. Bursts of dance energy came at the crowd and wowed them. At 70 he moved, grooved, and cold sweated us to death... This was JAMES BROWN in his 70s doing it like he did it in the 1970s. No doubt. The double drummers even played high speed funk thru the finale of SEX MACHINE when the venue cut the power, as it's known to do. The point is that it was more turbo energy than cats twice his age using multimedia crutches."
Bummed you missed it?


Choiceness!
Despite all the rumblings, Maori Television has made its entrance into the world, and its pretty darn cool. Try and catch Mitre 10 DIY Marae if you can, Tuesday nights at 7pm. It takes the original shows gimmicky approach - find a DIY disaster and save the poor family involved - and applies it to a different Marae each week. Oddly enough, the outcome is something far removed from the original. Sure, it has the same elements, gardening, landscaping, painting, but it also has the kids cleaning and repainting the old weatherbeaten carved panels. Its like a tele-gimmick reinvented with cultural values. At the start of the show the old Kuia of the Marae are shipped off to the Marae down the road while the DIY team get stuck in. They fix the Marae's kitchen, relocate the chiller, no mean feat as its a monster, off an old truck; and create an awesome entry way to the Marae, a fence of punga that curls at the end like a punga frond. One of the old guys from the Marae said that the DIY team got done in 4 days what they had been trying to do for 30 years. He said there was some Koro and Kuia who he wished could've been there to see it. He said you can hear them , not turning in their graves, they are dancing!
While the Kuia were at the next Marae, they brought in a hair and makeup stylist, to get them makeovers. One of them comes out after having her hair done, and the others go, oh, you look beautiful. And she replies, now all I want is some teeth!
When the Kuia return to the Marae to see the DIY teams handiwork, it starts raining. The Kuia see their Marae, they cry. Its quite moving. And all this from a clever rejig of a worn out concept. Check it out.

Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Tread softly.
Yesterday I bought a copy of a book by Michael King to send to my Mum for her birthday. Today I read that Michael King and his wife Maria Jungowska died in a car crash yesterday. My thoughts are with his family. Its such sad news.

Monday, March 29, 2004

Heavy.

Kevin Eastman is the publisher of Heavy Metal magazine - he wrote this on their website, about Martin Emond.

"I dare to call Martin Emond a friend of mine.
I first met him in the early 90's when he brought me the concept of the "White Trash" graphic novel to me through "Tundra UK, and Dave Elliot. Dave had the insight to see Martins work was of the "Best of the Best" and needed to be out there for all of us to embrace. At that time, agreed 100%,funded the project soup to nuts, and have never looked back.
"Marty Fuck" as he liked to be called by his friends, moved to Los Angeles three years ago, and worked out of a studio in the back of "MeltDown Comics" on Sunset Blvd, due to the genius insite of my pal Gastone, the owner of the shop, who loved Marty's talents times ten.
Once week I'd make my trip there for my comic fix, and was always thrilled to go hang out with Marty in his back room studio, and see the latest work of brillance he was chest deep in.
He always had 20 things going on at once, and all of them in true Marty style--all amazing. Marty recently began to work with another close friend of mine, Brice, (The artist who did all of my tattoo's) to start a career in Tattoo's and one of the first he did was on Brice. Brice was the one who called me today (Monday) to tell me Marty had passed away.
Sad, yes I am, pissed, yes I am--Marty was simply one of the most beautiful fucking humans I ever met. Honest, genuine, original, true blue, sincere, a guy that was always quick with a smile and a laugh, and always said what he meant, and meant what he said.
To me the person far out weights the insane talent he had, and if he couldn't even draw a stick figure, you and I, would have loved to have been around him just the same.
Marty, you know how much we already miss you. I hate you for not giving me more time to hang with you, I hate myself for not making more time to hang with you.
Christ--I wish I could turn back the hands of time. You promised to tattoo me, I want that time with you--I can't believe I'm writing this--I miss you, I love you, I am so sad that I can't see you again.
You will be SSSSOOOOOOO FUCKING MISSED.
Kevin


UPDATE
I've scanned the flyer from Martins memorial service, and posted it here. NOTE; images are quite big, so this page may be slow to load.

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Wednesday, 1.04PM
Listening to Russell Brown on BFM, hosting the Wire. He's on the phone to Judith Tizard. She's just admitted that she has just got an iPod. Russell asks her whats on it - has she copied some of her cds onto it, even though its illegal? No, she hasn't even got it out of the box yet.

Russell tells her that he has it on good authority that several of the heads of the major record companies here own iPods,namely Michael Glading (head of Sony) and Adam Holt, (head of Universal). He asks what does she think they might have on their iPods? She replies that maybe they have recorded their kids singing, and downloaded that from their computers - surely they wouldn't be breaking the law by copying music? Especially as they are making such a fuss about proposed law changes to allow format shifting.
If the RIAA in the US goes after filesharers, maybe RIANZ should go after iPod users. Remember "Home taping is killing music"?

Lil Donny Rumsfeld is a Joker....
"....After the president returned to the White House on Sept. 11, he and his top advisers, including Clarke, began holding meetings about how to respond and retaliate. As Clarke writes in his book, he expected the administration to focus its military response on Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda. He says he was surprised that the talk quickly turned to Iraq.
"Rumsfeld was saying that we needed to bomb Iraq," Clarke said to Stahl. "And we all said ... no, no. Al-Qaeda is in Afghanistan. We need to bomb Afghanistan.
And Rumsfeld said there aren't any good targets in Afghanistan. And there are lots of good targets in Iraq. I said, 'Well, there are lots of good targets in lots of places, but Iraq had nothing to do with it.
"Initially, I thought when he said, 'There aren't enough targets in-- in Afghanistan,' I thought he was joking..."
Richard Clarke, former White House terrorism adviser, on CBS 60 Minutes.


But wait, there's more!!!
"WASHINGTON - The credibility of President George Bush and his platform of fighting terrorism was again undermined yesterday when a commission probing the September 11 attacks confirmed claims by a former White House anti-terrorism aide [Richard Clarke] that warnings he gave in early 2001 regarding al Qaeda were ignored..." from NZ Herald.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004




Rest in peace, Martin F Emond.




More here. Original Google cache story here




Update: from Illicit (thanks drift); A memorial ceremony will be held at on Sunday March 28 at 4.44PM at Alleluya Cafe, St Kevins Arcade, K Rd Auckland. All welcome.
"The Illicit Family mourns the loss of our brother/son and best friend Martin "Fuckin" Emond, AKA Mickey Martin, AKA Switch Blade. Who passed away in Los Angeles on Sunday the 14th of March 2004. An inspiration to so many, words cannot express our grief, we love you and we'll see you again on the other side."

NZ Herald obituary here.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Seen the new Channel 4 promo?
Check this link....
Copped this from Dubber over at the Wireless - he says "If you scroll down on that page, you'll notice that there's a webcounter. Fairly hefty numbers too. Since Channel 4 are not actually promoting this, just storing it on an unlinked page on their website, it's actually completely viral.
In other words, you've just been part of a marketing campaign distributed at no cost to Channel 4 - and they're counting the impressions."
WARNING - promo contains excessive and unabated swearing. Don't watch it if you don't like rude words.

Monday, March 15, 2004

Gabba gabba hey
She's crossing the road; a young Asian woman, hand in hand with her boyfriend, both dressed fairly conservatively, smart casual, both mid 20s. Shes wearing a jeans, a pink jacket, and a black tshirt; written on it in red stencilled letters is the slogan

I AM NOT JOEY RAMONE.

Sighted in central Auckland, 5.50pm, sunday evening. True story.