Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Chris Knox - CD Release and Benefit gig
TV3's Campbell Live did a splendid interview with Chris and his partner Barbara this evening (watch it here), and even though Chris can only say yes or no, he was clearly moved by the generosity of spirit of his fellow musos in contributing to this album and making it happen. From the bits I've heard of it, the album sounds like a magnificent tribute to the astonishing body of songs that Chris has built up over his career - which is not over yet. He's starting to work on some new music too, according to Russell Brown.

Press release on the CD and album launch gig...
"On June 11 this year musician, artist, father, writer, film critic & jandal wearer Chris Knox suffered a life-altering stroke at his home in Grey Lynn.

Everyone wanted to do something to help. So a bunch of his muso mates from NZ and around the world have gotten together to do what they do best to celebrate Chris’ music by recording versions of his songs.

The resulting album is a chance for Chris’ many fans and friends to contribute to his future.

The double CD ‘STROKE – Songs For Chris Knox’ is being released in New Zealand on Monday November 16.

The album features tracks by such artists as Jay Reatard, Shayne Carter, The Mountain Goats, The Verlaines, Boh Runga, David Kilgour, Don McGlashan, Will Oldham and many more – 32 tracks in all.

There is a party &; benefit gig for Chris to celebrate the release of this album Friday November 20 at The Kings Arms. Get along!

The line-up is Dimmer (featuring Shayne Carter’s back catalogue), Don McGlashan, David Kilgour, The Bellbirds, & The Pyjama Party (featuring Neil Finn). Entry is $30 which includes a copy of the double CD ‘STROKE – Songs For Chris Knox’. Doors open at 8.30pm. No pre-sales.
Beenie Man apologises to NZ, Australia
Read it over here, and decide whether he's genuine or not. I've also read his statements to Jamaician media where he says that the only reason he signed the Reggae Compassionate Act was to please UK/European promoters.

From the Jamaica Observer, July 2007 (4 months after he signed the Reggae Compassionate Act)...

Beenie Man explained that the Reggae Compassionate Act ... was brokered by European promoters under fire from gay rights groups furious that they continued to support certain Reggae acts whose lyrics incited violence against homosexuals.

"It's a ting from the promoters of Europe. They are getting so much fight from the Christian and "g" organisation and everything," said the self-proclaimed 'King of the Dancehall', who apparently could not bring himself to say the word gay.

At the same time, the deejay said he did not personally sign any agreement and could not promise that he would be abiding by it. "I do music," he argued. "Dancehall mi do, I can't promise nuh man dat. And mi neva sign it, yuh hear sah."

Beenie Man also claims he has been misrepresented and misquoted in the media on this issue, so the above may not be accurate.

ADDED: Emma Hart of Public Adrress has a thoughtful post on the Beenie Man saga.
snip... "Despite what I've already been accused of after just one tweet on the issue, I'm a Free Speech advocate. But, it's just not that simple There's an underlying assumption in this attitude that both sides have the ability to speak. In New Zealand that's true. In Jamaica, it's not.

Stop Murder Music is the campaign that's been driving and organising opposition to dancehall music internationally. It was put together by OutRage!, the Black Gay Men's Advisory Group, and a group called J-Flag - Jamaica Forum of Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays.

In 2006, J-Flag's founder Brian Williamson was found hacked to death in his home. Coincidentally, a Human Rights Watch researcher, Rebecca Schleifer, was on the scene shortly after his murder, and described what she saw:

She found a small crowd singing and dancing. One man called out, "Battyman he get killed." Others were celebrating, laughing and shouting "Let's get them one at a time", "That's what you get for sin". Others sang "Boom bye bye", a line from a well-known dancehall song by Jamaican star Buju Banton about shooting and burning gay men. "It was like a parade", says Schleifer. "They were basically partying."

R.I.P. Derek B
Rapper Derek B has passed away after suffering a heart attack (on November 15). He was the first international hiphop act I ever saw  - he opened here for Run DMC in 1988 at the Powerstation.

"The musician, real name Derek Boland, is said to have been taken to London’s Charing Cross hospital early yesterday morning. Paramedics were unable to resuscitate him, reports Mad News. He was 44. (More from BBC)

Legendary producer Simon Harris told the NME:“Derek was always a huge inspiration to me and can never be replaced, his tragic death at such a young age is a great loss to everyone who has known him and also his many fans. May I offer my love and sincere condolences to his family especially to his dear mother Jenny. Rest in peace Derek B, Bad Young Brother.” (Source: DJ Semtex.com)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Who Am I?
Scoop's Gordon Campbell (formerly of The Listener) has written an excellent piece, The selective targeting of Beenie Man,  examining the Beenieman/BDO issue. He notes that Beenie man's manager says they hadn't signed a contract with the BDO as yet, prior to the cancellation. He also mentions that Labour MP Charles Chauvel had called for him to be refused a visa to enter the country. He also contrast Beenie man's problems with hompohobic lyrics with another Jamaican performer, Buju Banton, who has been haunted by a song he wrote when he was 15.

From Campbell's piece...

"... Rap and dancehall musicians serve as relatively safe targets in that respect for gay politicians such as Chauvel and the Green Party’s Kevin Hague, and enable them to play to their constituents.. In many respects, the campaign against the Jamaican dancehall musicians is similar to the campaign waged against the rapper Ice T for his “Cop Killer” song in 1992. Chauvel’s attempt to deny a visa is also a virtual repeat of the Clark government’s barring of the Holocaust denier David Irving from entering New Zealand in 2004, which I objected to here at the time.
The activists will no doubt be congratulating themselves for their success in silencing Beenie Man. Yet what Professor Bill Hodge said of the Irving incident holds true here, too.
Freedom of speech is really the freedom to read, the freedom to hear and the freedom to listen. It is far more important to the listeners, the readers and so on than it is for the speaker. Everybody is losing. If you go back to John Stuart Mill, we might know the truth of it [the Holocaust], but it might be dead truth, if we do not allow it to be challenged.”
... The verbal extremism and heated tone of dancehall is a bit like the Internet, If dancehall was a blog, it would probably be a bit like Whale Oil...

... there has been a disproportionate concentration on dancehall and black rap musicians. I can see the political convenience for New Zealand gay politicians and activists to focus on a music such as dancehall – which has few defenders on free speech grounds, even in liberal circles. To my mind, art that is said to be ‘hate’ speech is still art. whether I like it or not. It should be engaged, not vetoed. And newsflash : it is all around us. Pick on dancehall as an easy target, but spare me the righteousness...."

Read the entire article, it's a fascinating read. Good comments section on there too.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Beenie Man pulled from BDO lineup.
This afternoon, the BDO organisers released this statement...

"The Producers of Big Day Out have decided not to proceed with the proposed engagement of Jamaican Reggae performer Beenie Man for the Jan 2010 show.

Although aware of the controversial nature of Beenie Man and his previous lyrics that have caused offence with the Gay and Lesbian and wider community, the Producers understood that the artist had renounced these sentiments and no longer expresses those views.

Notwithstanding claims of a commitment to the Reggae Compassionate Act which he signed in 2007 and a promise of adherence to peaceful and humanistic values for the dates here by Beenie Man, the depth of feeling and hurt amongst these groups has convinced us that for us to proceed with his Big Day Out appearances was, and would continue to be, divisive amongst our audience members and would mar the enjoyment of the event for many.

For this reason we have decided not to proceed." (Sourced from Coup De Main magazine).

The response on social media sites like Twitter was mixed, with Coup De Main agreeing with me that yes, it's censorship "but you have to admit its pretty cool that some random girls came up w/ the initiative & it actually worked." A lot of folk seemed to think it was a good thing that this homophobic singer was not coming to NZ.

One of the organisers of the Facebook group protesting Beenie Man's appearance said on Morning Report that she hoped that Beenie Man would come to NZ, so they could go along to the BDO and protest while he played.

Back in 1989, (20 years ago) rapper Ice T released and album called "Freedom of Speech: Just watch what you say". He'd been subjected to intense pressure by lobby groups like the PMRC (Parents Music Resource Centre, led by Tipper Gore, wife of greenie Al Gore) over his lyrics.

"The album was released after Ice-T had been encountering censorship problems on tour. In The Ice Opinion: Who Gives a Fuck?, the rapper states that "People had already told me what I could not say onstage in Columbus, Georgia. You couldn't say anything they called a 'swear' word. You couldn't touch yourself. They were using the same tactics they used on everyone from Elvis and Jim Morrison to 2 Live Crew" (from Wikipedia).

Ice T's response to the PMRC was blunt: "Hey PMRC, you stupid fuckin' assholes / The sticker on the record is what makes 'em sell gold / Can't you see, you alcoholic idiots / The more you try to suppress us, the larger we get." (from the song What ya wanna do).

That last line (The more you try to suppress us, the larger we get) highlights the big point over this absurd controversy about Beenie man and a few of his songs -  his profile is at an all-time high in NZ right now. A savvy promoter would be on the phone booking him for some NZ shows over the summer.

So, where do we draw the line? When is censorship okay? How do we decide when it's okay?
Take Manukau City Mayor Len Brown. In August 2007, Brown was running as a mayoral candidate. To boost his profile, he launched a verbal attack on rapper Ice Cube, prior to the rapper's NZ show.

"Why is Ice Cube coming to the Telstra Pacific Centre on 22 August this year? We don't want him. We don't need him. He is not welcome here,” said Brown. "Ice Cube brings a gangsta message to our community via his gangsta rap. This message promotes gangs, gang violence and drugs.” Brown then stated: "We don't want this in our homes. We don't want it on our streets.”

This is the same Len Brown who was namechecked by Savage at the NZMA's, and appeared onstage with Savage at the I Love the Islands concert, where Brown professed his love for hiphop.
Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, Sat Nov 14
10" vinyl set
Frankie Paul - Worries in the dance
Twilight circus meets the Disciples -Foundation rokcers (vocal, dub)
Barrington Levy - Dances are changing
Dawn Penn - To sir with love
Kenny Knots and Bush chemists - Good sensi
Mere mortalz and U Brown - Dis a boom

Dub colossus - Azmari dub
Jo Jo Bennett - Canteloupe rock
International observer - Miss hit
DJ Center feat Samia Farah  -Tout passe
Nightmares on wax - Flip ya lid
Bronx river parkway - Nora se va
VV Brown - Crying blood (Andrew Weatherall dub mix)
Andrew Weatherall - Fail we may, sail we must
Alice Russell - Living the life of a dreamer (Mr Scruff remix)
Jahdan Blakkamoore  -She said
Mr Vegas - Must come a road
Julian Marley - Violence in the streets

10" vinyl set Pt II
Slim Smith - Conversation
U-Roy and Francois K - Rootsman
Mungos Hifi & Top Cat  - Herbalist
Rhythm and sound feat Jennfer Lara  -Queen in my empire
Michael Prophet - Been talking
Jah Wobble - Get Carter version
Sabres of Paradise - Underdog vs sabres feat Dominick

Queens tag team - Jump around (Big Will mix)
Mad Lion - Girlzz

Saturday, November 14, 2009

DJ Sirvere's record sale - photos.
Still on tomorrow (sunday) too, from 10am til 6pm. 13 Great North Rd, AKLD, cash only. I got 27 records for very little $. Click on slideshow below, and enjoy!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Anika Moa, Mulatu interviews
Anika Moa interviews herself, very funny...
Shes a SERIOUS artist, you know... " I am insecure and egotistical and it has to be silent when I play or it's not the truth."
And this is her opener... " Well if I can just start by saying that my real name is Anika Moa. My mum thought of it while doing a poo on the toilet. That's what she told me but she might have been angry when she told me."

And Stinky Jim interviews the mighty Mulatu Astatke, famous Ethipopian jazz musician. Well worth a read. The new compilation of his career looks awesome. Here's a sample...

Why is Ethiojazz, and in fact most Ethio music, so different to other African forms, is it just the isolation?
“Well now with Ethiojazz it has been 40 years I have been creating it you know. Why its different, why we are different to most is we have one mode which is called Anche Hoye, which is not found in any other part of the world at all. And also we use five tones to compose our music, five tone scales.

"What I did was I use also twelve tone music, so this is five tone against twelve, that’s how Ethiojazz is. The area I’m talking about is when you have three or four cultures, trying to put them together you really have to be very careful that one doesn’t dominate another one, and you must have a feel.

"My feel is Ethiopian mode, Ethiopian scales. So what I did was, I combined with twelve tone but I have to collect my own progressions, I sort of like have to create my own voicings, so that it doesn’t really disappear the Ethiopian modes at all. So you know it’s been very interesting but hard work, but now it's very big in the world.” Read it in full here.

AND.... Leading hiphop DJ (and Rip It Up editor) Sirvere is having a record sale this weekend,  Saturday November 14th and Sunday 15th, 10am-6pm both days. He's selling Hip Hop, RnB and soul vinyl from his extensive collection - 1000's of 12"s, EPs and LPs. The address is Askew's Studio, 13 Great North Road, Grey Lynn, which is near the corner of Great North rd and Ponsonby rd.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Controversy over Beenieman's addition to  BDO 2010 lineup
Earlier this week, the Big Day Out had their second lineup announcement. Amongst the rockist dross was the exciting news that Jamaican reggae artist Beenieman had been included.

The Big Day Out has a spotty history with reggae, from the 2008 visit of raunchy singer Lady Saw, to the 2006 visit from Mikey Dread, who wasn't the original Mikey Dread (Dread at the Controls) from Jamaica, but a UK singer who had been using the same name for a number of years (more here). Stinky Jim alerted the BDO organisers to this fact, as they didn't know about it.

A number of commenters on C4 TV's website have taken offence at the inclusion of Beenieman (see here), and local news site Gaynz.com has also picked up the story.

The Green Party have also waded in, with one of their MPs calling the invitation of Beenieman to NZ "shameful... Hatemongering is not welcome in New Zealand. Big Day Out must withdraw its invitation. If it does not then both musicians and fans will be called upon to declare which side they are on."

The Big Day Out orgainsers have responded this afternoon, issuing a press release. Here it is in full.

Beenie Man: statement from the Big Day Out

The Big Day Out Festival booked Jamaican Dancehall artist Beenie Man for the 2010 tour in the knowledge that the artist has a controversial past.

In response to the concerns that Beenie Man may perform homophobic material from his youth, the Big Day Out promoters say that as far as they could ascertain, that since signing the Reggae Compassionate Act in 2007, Beenie Man has stayed true to his word in not performing the offending songs.

The Big Day Out has today contacted Beenie Man to seek confirmation that Beenie Man stands by the Reggae Compassionate Act.

“The Big Day Out’s core values include those of tolerance and understanding,” says Auckland Big Day Out promoter Campbell Smith.

“We are responding to concerns that Beenie Man’s presence at the event may compromise those values and are directly investigating fears that he will perform material conflicting with our philosophy and his own undertakings pursuant to the RCA.

“It may take us up to a week to resolve this matter.” ENDS

In the statement the BDO organisers say they "booked Jamaican Dancehall artist Beenie Man for the 2010 tour in the knowledge that the artist has a controversial past." However, in an earlier statement to Gaynz.com, BDOs Campbell Smith is quoted as saying that "We were not aware of this history regarding Beenie Man."

Beenieman was banned from performing at an MTV event in Miami in 2004.

ADDED: Samesame.com.au: "Ban Homophobe from BDO?" - The only Australian news site with any coverage of this story, so far.
 "Beenieman, Capleton and Sizzla renounce homphobia" 2007.

Beenieman denies signing Reggae Compasionate Act,  in an interview with Jamaica Observer, July 2007.
Beenieman's signed  statement - Reggae Compassionate Act. March 2007

ADDED: Radio NZ's Morning Report on Beenieman/BDO controversy, they talked to Stinky Jim on it, listen here... http://bit.ly/2MGii1  (23 mins in)

Sintky Jim :"Why dont they pick out hiphop artists? Its not just dancehall that this goes on in, It happens in other forms of music. Dancehall is the scapegoat - I think it is because its a poor music, it doesnt have major corporations backing it - its an easy target.

I can't believe that by harrassing artists and making it a witchhunt, this is going to improve the situation."

Monday, November 09, 2009

Please welcome Matt Mikas, the master of lounge music
 Latest installment in photoblog Dust And Grooves  - another stunner for vinyl junkies. 

And don't forget, leading hiphop DJ (and Rip It Up editor) Sirvere is having a record sale,  Saturday November 14th and Sunday 15th, 10am-6pm both days. He's selling Hip Hop, RnB and soul vinyl from his extensive collection - 1000's of 12"s, EPs and LPs. The address is Askew's Studio, 13 Great North Road, Grey Lynn, which is near the corner of Great North rd and Ponsonby rd.

Now, get yourself some spaced out funk. Heard the Natural Yoghurt Band? Try em here.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, Nov7
Noel Ellis - Stop your fighting
Prince Fari - Good music brother
Sister Nancy - Aint no stopping Nancy
Joe Higgs - I'm the song my enemies sing
The Skatalites  -Exodus
Gregory Peck - Pocoman jam
Little John - Fade away
Ragga twins - Love talk
Al Green -  Love and happiness (Shoes edit) AL GREEN LIVE IN AKLD at the Civic Jan 21, 2010!!!!
Dabrye - Won
Wajeed - Jeedo suave
Hypnotic brass ensemble - Balliki bone
Romanowski - Romjack steady
Barrington Levy and Beenieman - Murderation
Linton Kwesi Johnson - Brainsmashing dub
Congos and Big Youth - Feed a nation
Willie Royal  - General alarm
Jah Wobble - Get Carter
Serge Gainsbourg - Aux armes etcetera
James Brown - The Bose (Giesha boys - Gamm Doin James Vol 4)
Donae'o - Riot music
Ragga twins - Spliffhead (original)
The Clash - Magnificent Seven
Unitone hifi  -Sneeze off
Umod - Cowboy lovin
Oddisee - Evrything changed nothing inst
Al Green  -So glad you're mine / Take me to the river

Friday, November 06, 2009

ACTA fun and games. 
ACTA is an anti-counterfieting treaty that NZ is about to sign up to. The worl'ds biggest culprits in counterfieting, Russia and China, are not part of this trade agreement. It has shifted into a copyright treaty, with the relevant chapter on copyright being written by the US. And it's all being done in secret.

Why is it so bad? Cory Doctorow of Boing Boing points out the following problems...

  • That ISPs have to proactively police copyright on user-contributed material. This means that it will be impossible to run a service like Flickr or YouTube or Blogger, since hiring enough lawyers to ensure that the mountain of material uploaded every second isn't infringing will exceed any hope of profitability.
  • That ISPs have to cut off the Internet access of accused copyright infringers or face liability. This means that your entire family could be denied to the internet -- and hence to civic participation, health information, education, communications, and their means of earning a living -- if one member is accused of copyright infringement, without access to a trial or counsel.
  • That the whole world must adopt US-style "notice-and-takedown" rules that require ISPs to remove any material that is accused -- again, without evidence or trial -- of infringing copyright. This has proved a disaster in the US and other countries, where it provides an easy means of censoring material, just by accusing it of infringing copyright.
  • Mandatory prohibitions on breaking DRM, even if doing so for a lawful purpose (e.g., to make a work available to disabled people; for archival preservation; because you own the copyrighted work that is locked up with DRM).

For a local perspective, read more about it here. on Mark Harris's blog.
Computerworld NZ also has some good articles on it. Check here.
P-Money, meet P-Money.
"One’s a hip hop DJ turned producer from New Zealand who’s best mates with Zane Lowe. The other is a south London grime MC who has a habit of making people utter the words ‘What did he say?’ Both are called P-Money."
This interview is great fun, have a read here, at (NZ) P-Money's blog

Thursday, November 05, 2009


 So, last month I did an interview with Trevor Reekie for his feature, Moments Like These, where he gets a muso to dig out an old photo of themselves and rabbit on about it. Read on. 

Moments Like These: Peter McLennan
Published in NZ Musician, Oct/Nov issue 2009. By Trevor Reekie

"Peter McLennan was once the guitarist in Hallelujah Picassos and these days makes music as Dub Asylum. He is a self-described Auckland musician, a DJ, writer, graphic designer, music blogger and pop culture junkie who buys lots of magazines. His creative curiosity and eclectic taste is only some of the sum of his many parts… a musical gent who is always on time!"

Can you remember who took this photo and when?
Wildside label boss Murray Cammick shot it. Gavin Downie had recently joined the band, which makes it 1994 I think. It was in a car park in central Auckland in the middle of winter, and we were freezing our butts off, hence the beanies, jackets, etc. At that point, we were heading in about a million different directions musically – we put together the ‘Gospel of the DNA Demon’ EP which came out in late ’95 and toured to support it. Shortly after that Johnny and I left the band for spiritual reasons.

What was your relationship then and what are the others doing now?

They were my bandmates, and today I can still call them my friends, which I’m very proud of. The Picassos were a tribe, not a band, or that’s how we described ourselves in interviews. It was about including our fans in the equation. When we’d do gigs, we’d always come back out and sit round on the front of the stage afterwards and talk to the folks who had come to see us play. There was some other bands round Auckland at the time who thought they were better than their fans and that they were special, and we weren’t having a bar of that crap.

Bobbylon and Roland are still lurking around Auckland city. Johnny Pain was in Singapore making animated kids TV shows for the last few years – he’s recently shifted to Toronto to do more of the same, but is going back to Singapore as he’s joined a thrash metal band there. He also recorded as Pains People post-HPs, and played bass in the Nudie Suits – the man is a musical chameleon. Gavin was in The Managers and a few other acts, and is working as a guitar tech for hire.

How did you get the name ‘Hallelujah Picassos’ and how did the band evolve?
We started out playing as a garage punk band called the Rattlesnakes for about a year and a half. By then our sound had evolved, adding reggae and ska, so we needed a new name. I turned up late for practice one Sunday afternoon (I’d been at work, I think), and the others had a sheet of paper with heaps of names scribbled on it. They’d narrowed it down to three, and the only decent one was Hallelujah Picassos. I was at art school at the time, so I went for that name. And of course, as Jonathan Richman sang, Pablo Picasso was never called an asshole.

The Picassos live was a full-on thing. One of the best things about the Picassos was that people either got it or they didn’t. That style of mashing up genres (labelled ‘crossover’, back then), no-one really got it on a widespread scale until a few years after we split, when US ska-punk outfits like Sublime and Rancid found mass popularity with it.

As we evolved musically, we basically kept adding new genres to our musical ammo, and didn’t attempt to limit what we attempted stylistically. We had four strong personalities in the band, with the contrasting vocal styles of front man Roland’s aggressive rasp, and crooner Bobbylon on the drum seat – he was once labelled as the Dirty Harry of NZ reggae – face of steel, voice of gold. All four of us wrote songs, so we never had a shortage of material to play with, and pretty much everything we wrote we recorded too.

We ended up with these descriptions of our music with A LOT of hyphens; reggae-ska-thrash-rap-punk-funk... which is why, when people asked us what sort of music we played, we said ‘Picasso core’. Much simpler. And we had a song mentioning it, with the delightfully subtle chorus, “Picasso core will fuck your mind”. We even made a video for it, which got played on television. Once. True story.

When did the Picassos come to an end?

The others carried on for about a year after we left, going through six drummers. I kept meeting guys in the street who would tell me they were the new drummer for the Picassos (as Bob moved to bass). They got a new line-up together, with Roland moving to guitar and a new vocalist filling his slot, and they did a few gigs and recordings. Johnny and I went and saw them play at Squid one night, and it was the weirdest thing. We were standing there watching them play songs we knew inside and out, except it wasn’t us playing them, it was this other band. We were both a bit dumbfounded by that.

I’m not sure when the band ceased as I wasn’t a member, but I gather it was sometime later in ’96, when Roland left the band. We’re working on a re-release of some of our favourite songs and our audience’s faves too, getting them re-mastered and putting together a tasty CD package for them, with the aim of getting it out by the end of the year. It will also be available as digital downloads, and if anyone wants to give us two or three grand (seriously), we’ll do a vinyl release too.

How has your musical career progressed since the time this photo was taken?
A rapid descent into poverty! I started working on a solo project under the moniker Dub Asylum around 1998, although I notice I’m wearing a baseball cap with Dub Asylum on it in this photo. I’ve released an album, two EPs (one of which was on vinyl) and a handful of singles under that name. I’ve also directed a few music videos for Dub Asylum too. I think I did a jungle/drum n’ bass cover of I Love My Leather Jacket by The Chills back then, and it got used on the closing credits on a music TV show.

My musical career has pretty much devolved back to what it was like before the Picassos got a record deal – which was DIY, The Picassos recorded and released two cassettes independently before we got a record deal. Do it yourself, you ain’t got no one else to blame. It’s not hard – just ask someone who has already done it. There’s plenty of people to give you advice and encouragement. If it’s any good, people will like it and buy it.

Who is one artist and/or record that you would say has had the most influence on you and why?

Argggh, back then we were listening to Fishbone, Urban Dance Squad, African Head Charge, Bad Brains... just one? Okay, ‘London Calling’ by The Clash. I heard it when it first came out, taped it onto cassette off a mate’s 2LP set, and have revisited it numerous times since. Like a lot of skinny white boys, it marked my first exposure to reggae and ska. It was an education, and a damned good record filled with great songs.

When the deluxe re-issue package came out in 2004 I discovered the stories behind this album, thanks to the bonus DVD that came with it, including watching old video footage of the album’s loose-nut producer Guy Stevens swinging a broom round the studio while Mick Jones tried to play. But mostly, I revisited these tunes and was reminded what a great band the Clash were. They were a gang.

What would you consider your proudest musical moment?

Dunno, still to come. Making music that people like is pretty damn special. You make music because you want it to connect with people. Opening for Screaming Jay Hawkins was special. We opened for him two nights in a row, and he saw us on the second night, at the Gluepot.

We asked him after we played if he saw any of our set, and he said, “Yes, I did. I like to hear other bands, cos I get sick of hearing my own”. We asked him if he had any advice for us. He told us to “Keep rocking”, so we did. He strolled out of the Gluepot at the end of the night with a beautiful woman on each arm. He knew how to live.

We also opened for Violent Femmes, Faith No More, Primus, Ice T and Body Count, African Head Charge, Beastie Boys, Soundgarden and a few others.

The most imposing presence I have ever been in the presence of was?

Screaming Jay Hawkins. And Noam Chomsky. He handed me my award at the Media Peace Awards when I won a Highly Commended for an article I wrote for Pavement magazine. He had a firm handshake, which was reassuring.

The most important thing you have learned from your creative endeavours is?

Do it yourself.

What are your recollections of the music scene back when you started compared to now?

Local music was not cool. NZ music was less than 2% of NZ radio play – if you weren’t Dobbyn or a Split Enz derivative, you were invisible. I think it’s really cool that there are kids growing up now that think it’s normal to hear NZ music on the radio. Back then there was still a debate going on over alternative vs mainstream - glad that idiotic notion died. The closest we ever got to commercial success was one of our singles Rewind grazed the Top 40. It was at number 39 for one week. But we still packed out venues around the country, so we didn’t really care.

As a music blogger what pleases/annoys you most about the current local scene?

What pleases me is that musicians are getting motivated to make music without waiting round to see if they get an NZ On Air grant or whatever. What annoys me? People’s sense of entitlement. Earn my respect, fool.

What’s the best book about music that you have read?

Please Kill Me, by Legs McNeil, cautionary tales in drug taking and NYC punk rock, and Last Night A DJ Saved My Life, by Bill Brewster and Frank Broughton, an essential read on the history of the disc jockey – from Northern soul to disco, reggae, hip hop, house and more. They also wrote a fantastic book called How To DJ (Properly) which is a must read for any DJ, no matter whether you’re a veteran or a newbie. That’s three, and then there’s this other book...

What can people read about on your blog?

Music that I like. That simple. I’ve got a pretty eclectic taste,and that’s just got broader as I get older (although I tell myself it’s got more refined! Ha ha). There’s music from Jamaica, Canada, Ethiopia, Argentina, all over. Good music is where you find it.

What’s on your playlist right now?

Albums by Mayer Hawthorne, Quantic and his Combo Barabaro, Opensouls, Wheedle’s Groove, Ze Records 30th Anniversary compilation, Best of Steely and Clevie, and the Esso Trinidad Steel Band. And a ton of vinyl 7s and 12s.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Flyin' Cut Sleeves

"Portrait of the lives of street gang presidents in the Bronx over a 20-year period. A remarkable perspective on life in the ghetto.

Sleeping Dogs Films and MVD Visual are proud to announce the DVD release of Flyin' Cut Sleeves on October 20th in North America. This 60-minute documentary was produced and directed by Henry Chalfant (of Style Wars fame) and Rita Fecher.

Flyin' Cut Sleeves, completed in 1993, portrays street gang presidents in the Bronx. The project grew out of the experiences of Rita Fecher, the film's co-producer, who taught in a South Bronx school in the late 1960's and early 1970's, became intimately involved with the gangs, their leaders, and the leaders' families and began to document their lives. Their world was the streets, set against a backdrop of uprooted families, cultural alienation, drugs and violence.

Neighborhood teenagers responded by organizing into street groups known to the members as "families", but labeled in the most alarming terms as violent gangs by the press. In fact, the "families" had a stabilizing effect, enabling the youths to cope with their troubled environment. The political climate at the time, movements of national liberation and such organizations as the Black Panthers and Young Lords Party influenced the young gang leaders to aspire to be more than warriors and to become, to some degree, a positive force in their communities.

When Rita Fecher returned after twenty years to see what had become of her old friends, she found that they had stayed in the community of their youth, that they were deeply committed to improving conditions there and that they were engaged in helping their own children survive in the hazardous street environment. The documentation of these lives over a twenty-year period offers a remarkable perspective on life in the ghetto (spanning four generations), and the means that people devise to cope from the time that they are children to when they serve as parents and role models for a new generation."

Hat tip to Different Kitchen

Monday, November 02, 2009

Making music
I have been working away on getting a Dub Asylum vinyl seven inch single out and it's finally coming together. One side will have the title track of my latest EP Ba Ba Boom, and the flip will have a killer remix of it in an afrobeat/dubstep style from OoGuN, more on it soon. Out in early December. Just sent it off to be pressed today, rather excited.

I've also got a remaster/reissue project under way for my old band, Hallelujah Picassos. We're going to remaster a handful of tunes that were faves with us and our fans and put them out on CD/digital. There's a fun interview I did with Trevor Reekie for NZ Musician's latest issue (the one with Gin Wigmore on the cover), talking about an old photo of the Picassos, check it out. (Will ad a link when NZ Musician put it up online)

Friday, October 30, 2009

Vinyl junkies stand by
Couple of events coming up for you...
Leading hiphop DJ (and Rip It Up editor) Sirvere is having a record sale, November 14 and 15, 10am-6pm both days. He's selling Hip Hop, RnB and soul vinyl from his extensive collection - 1000's of 12"s, EPs and LPs. The address is Askew's Studio, 13 Great North Road, Grey Lynn, which is near the corner of Great North rd and Ponsonby rd. (See photos above., below)

Also coming up, the next installment of the Record Collectors Fair is happening on Saturday the 21st of November 2009, this time at a new venue. Kelston Community Hall, Just off Great North Road, Awaroa Road, Next to Waikumete Cemetery. This venue is bigger and better with more stall holders than ever before, more parking and a nicer location.

And on tonight, The Turnaround, the monthly club night full of vinyl delights from Manuel Bundy, Cian  and Submariner - this month they have "succumbed to the siren’s song and invited some laydeeeez to step up to the plate for this Halloween special. Aroha, Wendy Douglas, Maiden Hong Kong and Lisa From Down The Road will be concocting and mixing up a wicked brew of sonic sorcery for your musical enjoyment.  Ahem!!!" 

Any rumours that Manny, Cian and Subby will dress up in full drag are groundless, apparently, but I bet Manny would look the best of those three boys. He'd give Buckwheat a run for her money! (Kidding, Manny, kidding.) Kick off is 10pm, at Toto Bacco Room, 53 Nelson, st, only $15 on the door.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Quick hits
1. Alice Russell drops 32 remixes of her latest album Pot Of Gold, grab Mr Scruff's remix over here for free DL.
2. DJ Craze tears it up at the Roc Raida tribute in NYC (via P-Money's blog)
3. Grab this tune from DJ Center featuring Samia Farah (who was on the latest Lee Scratch Perry album, the Mighty Upsetter).
4. Universal Robot Band - Barely breaking even (club version) go get this. "This 13-minute extended club version has never been heard before now, and is being released as part of a collection of legendary disco producer John Morales’ mixes for disco stalwart Salsoul, amongst others."
5. DJing with one turntable and an iPhone. Mental. Watch this video.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, Oct 24
James Brown  -The bose (Geisha boys remix)
DJ Vadim - Hidden treasure
Beverley Road allstars - I'm still in love
Various - Got to be at that party
Justin Hinds - The higher the monkey climbs
Skatalites - Beardsman ska
Dawn Penn - No no no
Carlton and the shoes - Love me forever
Chaka Domu and Lady Yolanda - Mash up (Dancehall mix)
Andrew Weatherall - Fail we may, sail we must (off Pox on the pioneers)
DLT - Liquid skies (Ultraneon mix)
Innerzone orchestra - bug in the bass bin
Jah Batta - Informa (Watch it)
Joe Ariwa - Bouncing with Joe
Manasseh  -Skenga 12" mix
Noiseshaper - Bushmasta
Lee Perry - Venus
Ragga Twins - 18 inch speaker
Quantic and his combo Barbaro  -Mas pan
Chico Mann - Sound is everything (Rich Medina remix)
Nicolette - No government
Kashmere stage band - Superstrut (Kenny Dope remix)
Orgone - Be in here
Troublefunk - Drop the bomb
Ticklah - Answer me
Dubblestandart and Lee Perry - Respect the poor dub
The Wailers  - Put it on
Umod - Just4funksake
Andrew Weatherall - Pox on the pioneers

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Quick hits
1. New music from Doom (aka MF Doom) over here. "Unexpected Guests is a compilation album of old Doom tracks that the Gold Dust imprint has gathered up an thrown on a single record."
2. Musician Rex Visible (member of NRA, Headless Chickens soundman) is in trouble. From the Manawatu Standard (ignore the reference to Vizible producing How Bizarre - the producer of that record is Alan Jansson).
3. Skream and Benga live set from RinseFM's 15th birthday party for download here, and new from Mad Decent (Diplo's label) Jovi Rockwell with Killing Dem (Free DL here)
4. Stinky Jim's Stink Inc blog has a great post about the new Andrew Weatherall album A Pox On The Pioneers, go have a read here. As Jim says "... the whole thing has a ring of 'Sandanista' era-Clash about it amongst many other flavours, not in a slavish way, in a way that puts a huge grin on my boat when driving around to it." 
Bonus - some Weatherall mp3 action here, with an interview, via The Fader.
Pretty Purdie hitting it
Link... from Crate Kings. "The master Bernard Purdie breaks down drums, rhythm, and, of course, ghost notes.  It’s difficult to decide which is better, Purdie’s drumming or his commentary and reactions to the sounds."

Monday, October 19, 2009

Quick hits
1. Oddisee dropped a wicked ep of funky, laidback beats a while back, called Oddsummer. The follow-up is out now, Odd Autumn. Grab it here
2. New LCD Sound System single has come out, cover of an Alan Vega (Suicide) track, Bye Bye Bayou. Grab it here. You might find the original there too.
3. There was a killer comp from legendary NY label Ze Records that came out earlier this year on Strut; now a bunch of dance producers have been let loose on their catalog for a series of re-edits, including the likes of Todd Terje, Greg Wilson, and Pilooski, who is always good. Zevolution: Ze Records Re-Edited comes out Nov 24, but get a sneak preview for free here...Aural Exciters- "Spooks In Space" (Luke Howard & Felix Dickinson Filthy & Foolish Edit) (zshare) (mediafire)
4. Via Crate kings: "Tom Ashbrook of NPR’s On Point interviews RZA to discuss his new book The Tao of Wu and his personal ideas pertaining to spirituality and growth.  The hour long conversion includes a number of interesting stories about ODB and other Wu-Tang members, an explanation of RZA’s fascination with kung-fu, and insight into the future of musical sampling."
Listen to the complete interview.
5. Stinky Jim interviews Jahdan Blakkamoore over here. Great stuff. 
6. One more... Wu Tang meets dubstep. Yup. Album is called "Wu-Tang Meets The Indie Culture Vol. 2: Enter the Dubstep" More here.