Saturday, October 08, 2011

Tourettes: vandalism 101, an educational video

Way back in May 2010, Real Groove wrote a major piece on the state on NZ On Air music funding. One of the artists who was very vocal in their criticism of NZ On Air was Tourettes (see this transcript). He had dealt with numerous funding rejections (going back to 2001), and was so fed up, he had decided to up sticks and move to Oz to further his career.

Fast forward to 2011, and Tourettes has got a record deal - with a NZ label, and has moved back here. And wonders of wonders, the revamped NZOA funding scheme now has room to accommodate his talents. Its a topsy turvy world.

So what does Tourettes do with our tax dollars? Makes a video where he give a bunch of kids hammers and baseball bats, dresses them up as thugs, and teaches them how to trash a car. Genius. Give this man more money right now, NZOA.

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, Oct 8 this tune!

Mr Vegas - Lean wid it, Heads high
Resonators - Gold dub
Barrington Levy - It's not easy
In crowd - Mango walk
Jay boys - I can't get next to you
Betty Harris - Mean man
Wendy Rene - BBQ
Dixie cups - Iko iko
Mary Wells - Keep me in suspense
Sisters love - Now is the time
Ann Peebles - If this is heaven
Dennis Edwards - Dont look any further
 Bronx river parkway - Nora se va
Shogun orchestra - Jacmel
Liquid liquid - Optimo
Ikebe shakedown - Tujunga
Candi Staton - When you wake up tomorrow
Steel image - Shango
Tokyo ska paradise orchestra - The 'Big Man' still standing - Winston Hazel and Marc Woolford remix
Dub asylum - What the funk feat Sandy Mill - dirty mix
Grace Jones - Love you to life dub
45nm - Biscuits
Dubblestandart - Terrarists and inhalers - Keith le Blanc remix
Improvisators dub meets iration steppas - Youth man
Cochemea Gastelum - Carlito
King Errisson - Back from the dead
Scratch 22 - Nothing to lose
Mr Scruff - Champion nibble

Friday, October 07, 2011

R.I.P Charles Napier

Charles Napier appeared in numerous films and tv shows, from his favourite role as a judge in Philadelphia (Tom Hanks), to frontman for the country band the Good Ole Boys in The Blues Brothers, Rambo, Silence of the Lambs, Rockford Files, Star Trek, Curb Your Enthusiasm and others (see the clip below). Napier was 75.

NPR noted that "He also made several films for schlock director Russ Meyer, including "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls," "Supervixens" and "Cherry, Harry and Raquel." He said the latter provided him his most embarrassing Hollywood moment, when Meyer had him run toward the cameras wearing nothing but a hat and boots." If you've ever seen any of Meyer's films, they are downright hilarous sex romps. Napier's character generally are tough, mean bastards, who get plenty of sex. See the trailer for Russ Meyer's Cherry, Harry and Raquel (NSFW, contains nudity). Napier plays a cop fighting marijuana drug runners across the Mexican border. Nuts.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Waititi meets Wu-tang

Taika Waititi directs promo for new Method Man song. Wow. More info here.

R.I.P Steve Jobs

From Steve Jobs And Music: The Revolution Will Be Digitized "... The launch of the iTunes Store in 2003 took the traditional music-industry model and turned it completely on its head.

"For generations, a handful of major record labels had a lock on the distribution of music. They paid to have albums pressed, sent them to stores and dictated the prices. But after making a deal with Jobs to have their music appear on this new virtual platform, the labels quickly learned that they were now partners in their own game with a man whose vision for their business didn't always mesh with their own.... As of February 2010, the iTunes Store had sold 10 billion songs...."

In the early 2000s, the major record companies got together and tried to set up a digital distribution service. Eventually, 3 of the majors went off and set up one digital distribution service, and the other 3 majors set up a competing digital distribution service. They both had differing file formats and DRM, and neither was compatible with the other. They both bombed.

It took a technology company to create a successful digital distribution service, when the music industry seemed unable to embrace to the new digital environment in any meaningful way. Certainly not in a way that music fans wanted.

From Billboard: Steve Jobs 1955-2011: The Father of Digital Music, and His Legacy. "... According to former Apple employees, Jobs' involvement in the music industry was a labor of love. He was personally involved in not only creating the iTunes digital retail system itself, but also in acquiring the music catalog he himself wanted to hear and make available on it.

The most high-profile example is his success in ending the Beatles' longstanding digital embargo, but there were many more such cases of his personal involvement earlier on in the process. He personally convinced Dr. Dre. to make his catalog available digitally. He negotiated directly with Bono, Jimmy Iovine and manager Paul McGuinness at his kitchen table for the U2 iPod in 2004 ... Apple's TV ads remain one of the all-time greatest platforms for music exposure...."

Local band Steriogram can attest to that value of gaining exposure from having their music in an iPod ad. It may be fair to say that was the pinnacle of their career to date. I recall them casually mentioning in an interview that they had Steve Jobs' phone number, following their song Walkie Talkie Man being picked by him for the iPod ad...

The band talk about how the ad happened "...We managed to get Steve Jobs' fax number through a friend of ours, back in the old days of fax we sent him a little note telling him who we were and that we just signed a deal to Capitol Records in the US from a video we made on iMovie. The note just said thank you. Two weeks later the phone rang and it was Steve himself saying thanks for the note and that he would keep an eye on us and help us out if he could. He then started mentioned it in his key note speeches which led to it being on the iPod ad." From Menu, Nov 2010.

ADDED From LA Times...Steve Jobs revolutionized the music industry

"... Stevie Wonder said Thursday that he sought Jobs out late in his life to express his gratitude for matters that went well beyond what he and his company did for music.

"The one thing people aren't talking about is how he has made his technology accessible to the blind and the deaf and people who are quadriplegics and paraplegics," Wonder, 61, said. "He has affected not just my world, but the world of millions of people who without that technology would not be able to discover the world.

"His company was the first to come up with technology that made it accessible without screaming out loud 'This is for the blind; This is for the deaf.' He made it part of the actual unit itself. There was application inside the technology that allowed you to use it or not use it..."

King Errisson

Legendary Motown guitarist Dennis Coffey is featured in a recent issue of Wax Poetics magazine,(#47, EWF) talking about some of the recordings he worked on over the years, including releases for Rare Earth, Edwin Starr, Wilson Pickett, The Parliaments, and Rodriguez (the fantastic Cold Fact album, reissued by Light In The Attic).

One record Coffey talks about caught my eye. The Magic Man by King Errisson came out on Westbound in 1976. Coffey says that Errisson "got discovered because he was in one of those James Bond movies [Thunderball]... playing the congas, and that is what led to his eventually getting a deal with  Westbound."

Coffey recorded the album with Errisson in Detroit and LA; his approach to the record was "we built it around King Errisson, so we put the conga at the centre of it. However, what I think really took it up a level was that we had Robert Greenidge on the steel drum. We also had a lot of weird percussion instruments from Asia that we used on that record, so that helped give it a unique feel."

Coffey says that since that record, Errisson went on to be Neil Diamond's percussionist for many years. I managed to track down a copy of the record, it's a marvellously funky collection, with the added bonus of steel drum. Imagine one of Dennis Coffey's groove-ridden jams with steel drums and you're on the way.  Digging it a lot.

2006 interview with King Errisson: He stands behind the star and is proud of it (USA Today)

Wednesday, October 05, 2011


So, turns out The Black Seeds were actually a band of US soldiers stationed in bases across Western Germany, who eventually found Jah and moved to Wellington and played reggae (kidding)...

"Now-Again Records is proud to present Hell Below: faithful reissues of the three albums released by the winners of the US Army’s First and Second Annual Original Magnificent Special Services Entertainment Showband Contests. Packaged as LP and CD box sets, Hell Below presents nearly two hours of heavy funk and soul music played by United States Army soldiers enlisted during the politically turbulent early 1970s.

East of Underground, SOAP The Black Seeds and The Sound Trek were bands comprised of soldiers stationed in bases across Western Germany during the height of the Vietnam War. While little is known about the bands, the players, and the milieu they came from - other than what can be pieced together from a handful of photos and documents found in a box in the New York Public Library, and the vague recollections of some of those involved – we at Now-Again Records have worked diligently with the United States Army and researchers the country over to present this important document, and some damn good music to boot.

Each of the two double-billed albums contained in this box set is presented as an exact reproduction of the original United States Army issue. The extensive, full-color booklet features essays, annotation and a collection of Army ephemera from the creation of these albums. Also included is a full-color, exact reproduction of East Of Underground’s 1971 tour poster."


Aloe's green light

Aloe Blacc | Green Lights | A Take Away Show from La Blogotheque on Vimeo.

In which Mister Aloe Blacc croons his way thru his song Green Lights for La Blogotheque's Take Away Show. Shot at MichelBerger Hotel in Berlin, during MMM Festival, August 2011

Aloe Blacc returns to New Zealand for a series of shows alongside John Butler Trio next February. Local support is Annabel Fay.

Picasso core

The remastering for the Hallelujah Picassos retrospective is finished, cover art done, it's all go!

We've set up a website for the release, with a bunch of old photos, a discography, and so on. Go have a look.

I posted up some old tunes today, our cover of Head Like  A Hole's song Air, and their Picassos covers. The idea to cover each other's songs came about as we did some live shows together in 1994. Read more over at Picassocore.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Boogie woogie bugle boy part two

Dalvanius Prime, The boogie woogie bugle boy of Patea
By Murray Cammick, Real Groove magazine, December 2001... continued. (part one here)

"Back in New Zealand, Dalvanius started to have an impact as a record producer. In 1982, 'E Ipo' by Prince Tui Teka reached No.1 on the sales charts and another 1982 Dalvanius production, 'Maoris On 45', by the Consorts, made it to No.3 on the single chart. Dalvanius put 'Maoris On 45' together for a fee.

''When our parents had parties at home we would bring out the ukulele and sing our Maori medley. We put together our medley of songs we did as kids. I was asked whether I was going to put my name on it and I said 'fuck off'. When it got to No.3 I nearly dropped dead.”

To release his next project, Dalvanius started his own label, Maui. To Rip It Up he spoke of his envisaging a ''Maori Motown''. A collaboration with Ngoi Pewhairangi, started in 1982. Ben Pewhairangi recalls: ''In 1982, Maui Dalvanius Prime walked into my home in Tokomaru Bay. On that day l knew our lives would never be the same. I watched my late wife Ngoi; once again she was the tutor, her student wide-eyed and eager to learn about Maoritanga. I recall their days and nights together, Kaiako [teacherl and Tauira [student] immersed in their work, oblivious to the existence of anyone.”

Their collaboration lead to the No 1 song 'Poi E' In 1984, by the Patea Maori Club.

“I have worked with people who had a command of the old language that was dying. Working with Ngoi Pewhairangi was such a blessing. She'd write words as I sang her the melody lanes. With 'Poi E' I wasn't going to compromise with an English version. If the beat doesn't sell it, nothing will.”

Poi E went on to gain praise as Single of the Week in UK music magazine NME, and the touring - Patea Maori Club played New York's Irving Plaza with the Violent Femmes.

Ngoi and Dalvanius

With your embracing of Maori language did people see you as a Johnny-come-lately? “Of course. Better to come late than not at all. Particularly from my own brothers as they were deeply immersed in the Maori culture. They were singing at the National Maori Culture Competitions but my audience is bigger.''

Did your upbringing as a child educate you about Maori culture? ''Every weekend we went to the Pa. I wasn't interested. I didn't want to be in the haka. I was into doo-wop groups and Phil Spector. At school we weren't allowed to speak the Maori language. 'We won't have that language here, thank you very much.' In the 50s Patea was such a redneck town.''

Dalvanius gained some allies in the music industry for his Maui label. “Hugh Lynn gave us his Mascot Studio for below mate's rates. Something like $15 an hour. I still made sure Patea Maori Club were totally rehearsed. Hugh was great. Maui would not have got off the ground without him. Tim Murdoch at Warner Music was great. What I loved about Warners was Patea Maori Club always got their royalties on time and to this day they always do. Their promotion team was always behind us.''

Why is there no Maori Motown? "What's the use of having a Maori Motown when you haven't got the vehicle by which it's going to be played, which is Iwi radio.”

Dalvanius claims Iwi radio is not making the contribution it should to Maori music. "Maoridom lives in this incredible luxury of having Maori radio funded by a state agency, yet they don't bloody play our shit. It's not happening because too many of these Maori programmers are all little cloney black Americans.

“A perfect example was when I went to the APRA Silver Scroll Awards. I was really pissed off when I drove through New Plymouth and I had the radio on and our local Iwi station, in one hour, played one Maori language record and two Kiwi artists. The function of Iwi radio was, one, to promote Maori artists and two, was to promote the Maori language. For me, Iwi radio stations are dysfunctional.

"I did these radical recommendations for the Arts Council and for NZ On Air. If you play 20 percent Maori content or Maori artists you get 20 percent funded. If you play 80 percent then you should be 80 percent funded, right? The biggest problem that Maori artists face is that they have to sing in the Maori language to get funded by Te Mangai Paho, and few Maori artists get funded by NZ On Air. 

"I think that the New Zealand Music Commission should have funding for music productions. The Government should allocate funds to the commission, as you only get funding from both NZ On Air and Te Mangai Paho if you have a broadcaster. I think that is unfair.”

To support that idea, Dalvanius names artists who you don't hear on the radio, such as Mahinarangi Tocker or the Topp Twins, ''whose records sell''. Dalvanius regrets that high profile Maori artists miss out on funding.

'Te Mangai Paho, which is the funding agency, it's the Maori version of the tall poppy syndrome. You have Te Mangai Paho giving out grants of $30,000 to do an album. The acts do great, incredible albums in regards to Maori language, yet Iwi stations won't necessarily program them.''

Why did you start up the Maori & Pacific Island Recording Industry Association of New Zealand? "We formed the Association so that Maori cottage industry could have a voice. We've been doing huis for the last two years. The Maori music industry is hard to coordinate, we're all fighting for the same dollar.''

Dalvanius is keen to see further collaborations between Maori and Pacific island musicians, and is a big fan of Urban Pasifika Records boss Phil Fuemana.

"Phil's stuff is brilliant. Fuemana is the greatest indigenous record producer this country has. Herbs have only scraped the surface of the fusion of Pacific Island and Maori music."

Referring to Hawaiiki, from where his Maori ancestors migrated, Dalvanius quips, ''Last time I looked it was in the middle of a bunch of coconut trees''.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Zoo Music canned

Last Friday I heard via promoter acquaintance that Auckland Zoo's annual Zoo Music concerts had been canned. I asked Auckland Council via Twitter, who referred me to Auckland Zoo to see if this was true and why. They replied this afternoon, telling me it was true, but failed to say why.

The folks at Amplifier jumped in (on Friday), telling me via Twitter "Just spoke to the Marketing and Comms Manager for Akl Zoo and yes, Zoo Music won't be happening this year.... that it was a saturated market and that they'd left it too late to do anything to revamp it this year. Hence a next year return."

The other report I heard on why Zoo Music was canned for 2012 was that it had proved unpopular with respondents in a recent Council survey on events. Never mind that this event had attracted big crowds for the last eight years. I also heard that they had changed event management for the event, and the new company in charge had managed to run the event at a huge loss this year.

Still waiting for official comment from Auckland Zoo.

ADDED 458pm Monday 3 Oct: Auckland Zoo responds "After review, Zoo Music in its current form doesn't stack up in this financial environment, so we are investigating what else we can offer to our visitors over summer."

Further response from Auckland Zoo, via Twitter: "On the whole it's been successful, and we have been really proud of what we've achieved over the past 8 years with our supporting partners and artists. Now we are looking for new ways to provide innovative zoo experiences."

ADDED Tuesday 1.15pm 4 Oct: Here's 5 pages of feedback on the Ticketmaster site from ZooMusic concert goers, all raving about what a great event it is/was. If you want the event to be revived, let the Mayor know. His contact/email details are here.

ADDED Friday, 7 Oct: Auckland Now's Bridget Jones wrote a story on the cancellation of ZooMusic for 2012. She got a statement from the Zoo about it...

"For 2012 we have made the decision to focus our energy and resources on delivering other innovative Zoo events. However, we have not ruled out having Zoo Music as part of our events calendar in future years," a statement from the zoo said.

"While Zoo Music was initially part of the new-look events calendar, a number of factors have led to the decision not to hold a Zoo Music series in 2012."

The zoo cites a number of similar events in the Auckland events market, the availability of suitable artists and "the challenge in finding a mutually beneficial ticket price point for the Zoo and its visitors" as contributing to the decision.

The revolution will not be televised

A lot of folk have been going on about how the media are failing to give any serious coverage of the Occupy Wall St protests. Why? Dangerous Minds blog nailed it in one - go listen to Gil Scott Heron, cos he knew what was going on. As the late poet said, the revolution will not be televised - the revolution will be live. 

"So I’ve been trying to sum up how I feel about Occupy Wall Street and the media coverage (or non-coverage) of the demonstrations the last few days, when I found this clip and realised that one of the most brilliant poets of the last hundred years had already summed it up perfectly. Of course.

"I was gonna say that the oldstream media has been over for me since 2000, when I saw some peaceful protests badly misreported on TV and in the papers. I wanted to mention how my obsession with this summer’s “Murdochgate” sprang from a desire to see the established news channels I detest so much crumble, to lose all respect with their audience through their refusal to cover a story with such huge significance. I’ve been struggling to express how we don’t need validation through a mainstream that has always ignored us or deliberately misrepresented us, that people shouldn’t worry too much, the message is getting out there loud and clear.

But fuck it. Gil Scott Heron beat me to the punch (hard) thirty years ago.

This incredible recording of “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” (as a spoken monologue with no music and some ad libs) is from 1982. It was performed at the Black Wax Club in Washington DC, as part of a documentary film on Scott Heron called Black Wax. His voice is a thing of rich, easy-going beauty but his words are like dynamite. Yeah, the times and technology may have changed, but this is still so prescient and just so damn relevant it’s amazing..."


Boogie woogie bugle boy part one

Love train, from the compilation Waiata: Maori showbands, balladeers and pop stars, recently released by EMI NZ. Well tasty comp it is too. I recently came across this 2001 article from Murray Cammick, on the late Dalvanius Prime. Have scanned it and converted the text. It's a great read. Republished with author's permission.

Dalvanius Prime, The boogie woogie bugle boy of Patea
By Murray Cammick, Real Groove magazine, December 2001

Early 1976, at the seedy Great Northern Hotel, corner of Queen and Customs Streets, downtown Auckland, Dalvanius and the Fascinations were strutting their stuff disco style, like a downunder Labelle, playing an earthy mix of soul and dance hits like 'Respect yourself', 'Love Train', 'Lady Marmalade' and 'Shame Shame Shame'. Although they had singles released across the Tasman and won countless awards from the Australian Soul Appreciation Society, Dalvanius could not get his recordings released in his home country. At the time he was blunt when speaking to student magazine, Craccum.

“We're with a record company but their New Zealand branch is just a bunch of idiots. They've got a selection committee and they won't release our new single here and they've told us it's shit-house. They're literally sitting on it.”

Dalvanius grew up loving music and grows older loving music in Patea, In the 50s and 60s, he loved doo-wop, the Beatles, Dusty Springfield, Motown, Stax soul and country music. In the Craccum interview it was clear Dalvanius was enjoying recording soul music, but he showed some awareness of the cultural alternative. ''People say ‘you're just a rip-off of a Negro group', but to us that's like telling the Average White Band to pick up the bagpipes or having the audacity to tell Charlie Pride to sing 'Funky Chicken'.''

Always part prophet and part profit, Dalvanius was blunt about the bucks too. “I've been in this business about four and a half years, about four years of that making money ''.

And how did Dalvanius get that Dr John voodoo meets glam look back In 1976? Was it the feathers?

“I found a dead hawk on the road. I cut its wings off, dried them, but it still stunk to high heavens. On tour I used a whole bottle of Old Spice aftershave!''

Dalvanius Prime first got started in music arranging the 60s hit, 'Beat the Clock', for the Shevelles. After two years in Wellington as the Fascinations with his brother and sister, Dalvanius moved to Sydney, in 1970. When his 15 year old sister, Barletta, got an offer to join the Maori HiMarkeys show-band on a two year tour of bars in Vietnam, Dalvanius made Sydney's Kings Cross his home.

When Barletta returned, the first of many line-ups of Dalvanius with two female singers, often his sisters, took to the stage in 1973. Manager John Lamb soon had his R&B act working the clubs, doing recording session work (including Renee Geyer's first album), touring as backing singers and releasing two singles, 'Love Train' and 'Respect Yourself', on the Reprise label. The biggest break for Dalvanius and the Fascinations was working with Sherbet, the Australian pop group

''Sherbet manager Roger Davies saw us up the Cross and he went, '0h wow, way out. I've heard some of the bv's you do, do you want to do a Coke ad'?' And I say, 'anything for money!'. We did it and then he says, 'We've got this tour coming up.' We ended up becoming Sherbet's doo-wop group, their backing group for three years.”

Roger Davies, who went on to mastermind Tina Turner's solo career, scored Sherbet a No 4 UK hit with 'Howzat' and pioneered the arduous national rock tour with Dalvanius and the Fascinations in tow, opening the show and joining the headliners for a few songs.

''Sherbet's Clive Shakespeare and Kiwi keyboard player Garth Porter said, 'We want to record you guys doing your own single'. They listened to 'Voodoo Lady', they loved it and so we put it down with producer Richard Batchens. Then they said 'Listen, we've got this song that we want you to have a Listen to'. It was 'Washington We're Watching You' by the Staple Singers. Labor Prime Minister Gough Whitlam had just got sacked by the Governor General and then Garth said, 'Right, we're changing the song.' They called It 'Canberra We're Watching You'. They rewrote the lyrics, they localised it.”

''We did the 1975 Sherbet Life as For Living tour and [a] Countdown TV special. We'd go on stage and Sherbet would play 'Canberra We're Watching You', backing us. Then we did all the bv's for their entire set and then when it came to the Christmas show, we joined them for rocked-up versions of 'Santa Claus ls Coming to Town' and 'White Christmas'. Sherbet were doing the Sydney and Perth Entertainment centres and 50,000 at the Myer Music Bowl In Melbourne.”

On tour with Sherbet, Dalvanius got invited to the right parties. ''We'd meet people like Billy Thorpe, all the idols that I used to listen to down in Patea on the radio, when you'd listen to 2SM Sydney on the shortwave radio. I learnt all about APRA through Sherbet. I knew how much money you could make from recycling your songs. I have Roger Davies to thank for learning about the music industry.''

By the end of 1977, Dalvanius and the Fascinations were family, with younger sister Cissy joining her older siblings, and new manager Ian Riddington, making sure his local soul act were kept busy opening for the many USA artists he toured in concert or in cabaret, including the Pointer Sisters, Tina Turner and the Spinners.

While on tour in New Zealand in 1976, Dalvanius discovered Maori funk band, Collision, and took them on a nationwide tour, before getting them to move to Sydney where they worked live with Dalvanius and the Fascinations, and recorded one album for Festival Records, acclaimed as a rare funk classic on the bFM's last NZ Music Week. In 1977, the group released the 12,' single, 'Voodoo lady', and 'Checkmate on Love', both songs written by Dalvanius.

“When we brought 'Voodoo lady' out, Molly Meldrum [Countdown TV show] rung me up and he said, 'Dalvanius, what's this shit record you've got? How come it's the a-side? I think it's the worst record I've ever heard you do and you've had some bad ones'. I just went, 'Oh, thanks Molly'. And then he said, 'The other side's better than that, how come Festival haven't pushed that?' I thought I'd try it out on the Isaac Hayes and Dionne Warwick tour and it just killed them, so we threw 'Voodoo Lady' on the back burner and started featuring [re-titled live] 'Chessboard of love'."

The 1978 record company biography for the single, 'Ecstasy', describes Dalvanius as 'a culinary expert of some repute who once wanted to be a lion tamer, but now his ambition is to be a record producer'. By late 1979, the group had left Festival and Cissy Prime had departed due to illness.

PART TWO tomorrow... Dalvanius talks about Poi-e, Iwi radio, and Phil Fuemana. Read it here