Fugitive Microbes Live at the BC Club

Hi, Tony here with my first blog on this site in just over four years. The truth is I have largely run out of material to post on this topic. However I have managed to dig up a live recording of the Fugitive Microbes playing at the Band Collective‘s venue, the BC Club, upstairs in the student union complex at the George St campus of the Queensland University of Technology (QUT).  As the Time Off ad for the gig shows, it was on Friday 28th September 1989.

 

Fugitive Microbes

Live at the BC Club

Tony Kneipp    guitar, vocals

Kristin Black    guitar, vocals

Oscar Dewachter    bass

Colin Barwick    drums

 

 

 

 

On this occasion we were a support act for the Celibate Rifles. The Rifles were one of Australia’s best known punk bands, forming in 1979 and sticking around until the second half of the nineties. They always had a strong following, and guaranteed that a packed crowd of over a thousand were there to hear us that night. Halfway through our first song, almost as an afterthought, Tim the sound guy pressed record on the cassette deck he had hooked up to the mixer.  These recordings are what he captured on that cassette.

celibate

The BC Club was the regular venue for the Brisbane Band Collective, held at the Gardens Point Campus Club, QUT I remember attending a number of meetings at 4ZZZ to set up the collective. The Fugitive Microbes were one of the original member bands. Oscar and Irena (by then in Airborne Toxic Event) were heavily involved as well. The collective served a dual purpose, as bands desperately needed a place to play, and 4ZZZ needed a regular venue and a supply of bands for it.

We played on the opening night of the club, Friday 31 August.  This recording is from the second time we played there, this time as a support act for the Celibate Rifles. On both occasions Oscar was still paying bass, and there were upwards of a thousand people there. The last two times we were there Peter Adams was on bass.

This would have been the last time I played with Oscar Dewachter. Shortly after this he returned to the Netherlands. He later came back for a couple of years, then went back over to the Netherlands again, and hasn’t been seen or heard of since. Nobody knows where he is or what has happened to him!

The recording is a bit rough, but gives a much better representation of how we sounded live than the other recordings I have posted. Great memories of a band that was indeed fugitive!

Tony Kneipp

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Hazy Space plays Childhood Problems

Hi, Tony here with my first post of the year.

This post is a tale of two cities, two bands, and one song (well, plus another one for good measure). After Trash Of All Nations had finally run its course back in the early nineties, Guy and I transformed its remnants into Childhood Problems. Such is ever the way with bands. The song, one of mine, was basically our theme song, and we would have played it most times we performed. When Childhood Problems performed our eponymous song, Guy used to to do a rap in the middle, with a few basic standard lines, then improvising to suit the occasion. It added a certain edge. I managed to find what appears to be some cover art by Guy for a Childhood Problems demo cassette tape. As far as I can see I don’t have a copy of it. Maybe with a bit of luck we’ll unearth one as we delve deeper into Guy’s archives. In small type at the bottom of the cover is the line “Live in our Living Room”. That would have been Guy’s place in Gibbon St in New Farm. When Guy’s grandmother who owned it died, it got tied up in probate for years, and Guy ended up living there for a fairly nominal rent for the best part of a decade. A modest sized cottage by today’s standards, it would have been built no later than the 1870’s. It was seriously run down, but it had real character. I have some great memories of that place.

John Sullivan and I formed Hazy Space out of the remnants of Beige SA in Adelaide towards the end of  2001 (see the June 2011 posting on this, also note the recurring theme of the regular mutation of bands). With the absence of Patrick O’Grady, who was the driving force behind Beige SA, we began to do more of my songs, as well as John’s original compositions. I did write a few new ones during the life of the band, but naturally we delved into my “back catalogue”. Like most bands doing their own original material, we did some covers too, but very much in our own style.

So here we are delving into my back catalogue, with Hazy Space the band doing Childhood Problems, the song.

 

 

 

John Sullivan, synthesiser, Hazy Space

From memory it was Gary aka Billy Nudgel, who sang with us for about six months during the second half of the band’s life, who organised the recording session featured here, two or three hours with a friend of his who was keen to try out his new computer recording setup. So the first song I chose to record was “Childhood Problems“. The second song of mine was another one which we had played regularly in Childhood Problems, “Nobody Wants To Know You Anymore”. We also did one of John’s songs and one of Gary’s. I might post them up at a later stage, but John’s song in particular is done no real favours by the recording. As a general aside I have serious reservations about recording engineers who are not musicians. However I am thankful that we do at least have this recording.

Me and Patrick O’Grady in Beige SA

I have just recently been back to Adelaide for the first time in eight years after living there for almost six years up to September 2003. I stayed at Patrick’s place, then John’s, and generally had a great time. Thanks to you both for your hospitality. The main excuse for going down was an event for the Adelaide Fringe Festival 2012 celebrating a venue for local bands called Bijou that Patrick organised. Bijou started in 1974 and continued for some years. The do-it-yourself similarities with the Brisbane alternative music scene are striking.

 

Club Contagious

I am including a couple of handbills from gigs at the Governor Hindmarsh Hotel. Club Contagious was a government sponsored monthly event especially for people with disabilities, some in wheelchairs, etc., others with intellectual disabilities. They always seemed to have a really good time, and the event generally had a really good positive vibe to it. We played there several times, both as Beige SA and as Hazy Space.The Balcony Bar gig we organised ourselves,  in 2000 as Beige SA and a year later in 2001 as Hazy Space. Life would be a lot easier for musicians if a few more pubs that were regular music venues were open to letting a band have a room on a Saturday night and keep the door, with the pub settling for the bar takings. I doubt if you could even do this at “The Guv” now.

Tony Kneipp

 

The Second Balcony Bar Gig at “The Guv”

 

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Sweet Marijuana

Hi, Tony here. It’s been a while, but this posting at least follows on from the last one from Guy about his bust for a single joint. This song has a very basic theme – marijuana good, prohibition bad. Marijuana is back in the headlines with the arrest and possible jailing for years of a 14 year old Australian boy in Bali. What has really made my blood boil has been the comments from his fellow Australians on news sites, Q&A, etc., to the effect that if he has done the crime, he should do the time; ie it’s perfectly OK if he does six years or more in an Indonesian jail for a stick of pot.

The local product, Nimbin 2000

The local product, Nimbin 2000

I wrote this song for a competition as part of the 2004 Nimbin Mardi Grass. There were three heats held in the Rainbow Café. The winner was decided by popular acclaim. At the end of my heat the two judges spent at least a quarter of an hour playing back their recording and checking the levels on the applause to try to split me and a Swedish duo. In the end the Swedish duo won out. Later on in the finals, they lost to a local entry, and finished as runners-up. Some months later I made this recording at my friend Kim’s place in the Valley. The set-up was fairly primitive – a Soundblaster gaming sound card and a headset mike, plus an old version of Cubase. This was the first time I had ever recorded on computer myself. It was of course a steep learning curve. I gave the finished song to a few friends, including in Nimbin the following year, but it was never circulated publicly or played on air. Recently, looking for things to add to this blog, I found the disk that had the original files on it, and I was able to remix it to at least get a better balanced result than my first effort.

Me heading up a HEMP smoke-in outside Parliament House
George St Brisbane 21 October 1994

Both Guy and myself have been involved in campaigning for drug law reform over many years. The first time was in 1986, when the Bjelke-Petersen government introduced the Drugs Misuse Act. It had many draconian provisions, including mandatory life sentences for possession of two grams of cocaine or heroin. As a way of expressing my opposition to this particular piece of tyranny, I stood as an independent candidate in the Queensland state election of 1986. With about twenty supporters as company, including Guy, I was arrested in the Queen St Mall smoking what was actually a dummy joint (comfrey leaf), and became the first person to be charged under the new legislation. The charges were later dropped.

 

Cannabis Cup Nimbin 2000

Later on, following the demise of Joh and the Nationals, Wayne Goss’s government started a process of reviewing the drug laws through the CJC (Criminal Justice Commission). In 1993, myself and two of my friends, John Jiggens and Dusan Bojic, started HEMP (Help End Marijuana Prohibition) to campaign for positive changes to the law. We were very active for a period of about four years, with numerous demonstrations, pickets, forums, public meetings, and concerts. Some of the demos were quite large, with over 2,000 people.

The review process in 1993 got off  to a promising start with Phil Dickie, the journalist who had so much to do with bringing about the Fitzgerald Royal Commission, in charge of the process. An excellent discussion paper was released in July, followed by a series of well organised and well attended public meetings. Later Phil was replaced with no explanation by Dr David Brereton who authored the final report. Phil’s response to the report was headlined “It’s criminal what they’re not doing”. He referred scathingly to the CJC’s “timid little report”. Clearly Brereton was the right man for the job. In the end some of the worst provisions of the Drugs Misuse Act such as the mandatory life sentences were changed, otherwise it was business as usual.

 

Judging the Cannabis Cup 2000

As a part of HEMP’s campaign I again ran as a candidate in the 1995 state election, along with Guy and two other HEMP members. At a large demo of over 2,000 I was arrested for the second time for smoking a joint in front of Parliament House. The first time is shown in the photo above. As part of his campaign Guy changed his name to Guy Freemarijuana. John and Nigel Quinlan used the same tactic in later election campaigns, including for the Federal senate. The powers that be hated this so much that later the federal government changed the election laws to stop this happening.

Although the campaign lost some of its intensity after ther first four years, people have continued to agitate around Australia on this issue, and stand candidates in elections. In early September I attended a demo in King George Square organised by a group of students etc. who have revived the old name of NORML. HEMP was registered as a federal party in 2004, and Guy and I ran for the senate in Queensland. They don’t make it easy for small parties, changing the rules whenever necessary, and HEMP was later deregistered, but just recently it has again been registered as a federal party.

I could rant endlessly about this issue, but let me just point out one piece of research (p. 114)  in the original CJC discussion paper which shows that 10 to 15% of cannabis users are upper white collar workers who make up 1.8% of arrests, 30% of users are lower white collar workers who make up 3.5% of arrests, 25% of users are blue collar workers who make up 14.7% of arrests, unskilled workers make up 5% of users and 19.3% of arrests, unemployed make up 5 to 15% of users and 46.1 % of arrests, and students make up 5 to 15% of users and 7.1% of arrests. In other words if you are part of the upper half or society, you have absolutely nothing to worry about. On the other hand, if you are poor, look out.

Tony Kneipp

 

3 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Hazy Space

Two Million Too Many

Hi, Tony here with my first posting in ages. The truth is, I’ve almost run out of recordings that are good enough to bother posting up, but we’ll be hearing more from Guy soon as he dredges through his archives.

This song is basically a rant about the war on drugs, a peculiarly American form of tyranny disguised as benevolence, which they have managed to foist onto the rest of the world. The title refers to the number of prisoners in jail in the USA. The current figures according to the US Department of Justice are 208,118 federal, 1,405,622 state and 760,400 local prisoners, making a grand total of  2,374,140. To this you can add 4,203,967 adults on probation and 819,308 on parole. This means that more than one in a hundred adults in the USA are prisoners, almost a quarter of the world’s prison population. With the probation and parole figures, about one in thirty adults are under some form of correctional control. From 1980 to 2003 the number of prisoners quadrupled. Since then it has begun to plateau out. Along with tougher sentencing, the war on drugs has been a major contributing factor. The number of drug offenders in jail now is fourteen times more than in 1980. The war on drugs has also been used by the US government as a major tool for some of the more coercive and brutal aspects of its foreign policy. The word imperialism springs to mind.

Hazy Space was a duo I was one half of in Adelaide for two years from mid 2001 to mid 2003. The other half of the duo was was synthesiser player John Sullivan. Prior to that we were both members of Patrick O’Grady’s group Beige, but when Patrick fell ill and wasn’t able to continue we decided to continue on as a duo and became Hazy Space. For a while we had Mr Billy Nudgel on vocals as well, from memory for about six months. John had a practice room set up in his home at Grange, and we used to get together once a week to rehearse, maybe twice if we had a gig. At least half of those would have been at “The Guv”, The Governor Hindmarsh Hotel in Hindmarsh, a venue that was, and still is, the heart and soul of the live music scene in Adelaide. I also remember playing at two or three pubs in the city, and I’ve still got a handbill that shows that one of those was the Directors Hotel in Gouger St. That was for Scala, a venue dedicated specifically to original music (there’s never enough of those). We also played a couple of times at Rob Scott’s bookshop Bookends, in Unley.

John used to write his own songs, and his musical background and tastes (techno, with more than a hint of disco) were very different to mine, which made for  some strong contrasts in our sets. On my songs I would be playing rhythm guitar, but on John’s songs I was able to feature as a soloist on alto sax or lead guitar. We did do some covers as well, but very much in our own way.

John’s setup evolved over time and got quite interesting in the end. He’d made his own synth stand, starting with the traditional ironing board with an extra shelf built on top, with his old Yamaha synth on the bottom, and the more recently acquired Casio MZ 2000 on top (by most accounts perhaps the best ever Casio keyboard, it even had a floppy disk drive for MIDI files ,which was unusual then). He also had a small MIDI box he used for strings and the like, a Korg Trinity rack unit which had a really great sound, and an old Roland drum machine (like there weren’t enough drums already in the two keyboards and the Trinity). He also had a small Yamaha mono box which was actually designed to be used with a wind controller, which John had also bought. This was a synth that you blew like a sax, a very interesting instrument, and as the sax player I was the one who got to play it. But John developed a taste for using the box (tone generator, for those who must use the correct jargon) as a solo voice from one of the keyboards, and after that I didn’t get a look-in on the wind controller too often. As though all this wasn’t enough, he also had a long low box he’d built that he used to perch his stool on top of. This was his stomp box, and a mike was fitted underneath for maximum effect. The number of leads running around a setup like this was rather daunting, on top of which you can add the internal switching with these different units all talking to each other. I did learn a thing or two about synths and MIDI though.

The song was recorded in the practice room in a single take on John’s old reel to reel two track. We then took the tape to community radio station 5UV (now Radio Adelaide), where we overdubbed John, myself and Billy Nudgel on the chorus, and converted it into CD format. I paid to have about 30 CDs made up with the label printed on (so easy these days, not so then) and circulated them in October 2001 to the usual community radio stations, etc.  Oh, and on this occasion I did the cover art myself. Thanks especially to John Sullivan for the memories.

Tony Kneipp

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Say Goodbye To The Queen

 

Hi, Tony here.

I recorded this song in October 1999, shortly before the referendum on the republic. It is essentially reflecting on a basic irony – while we were still getting into a collective lather over whether we should finally assert our full independence from Britain, in reality our allegiance and subservience has long since been transferred to the USA. The recent debate over our role in the war in Afghanistan has once again highlighted this.

This seems a good time to post this up as the media gets into a lather about the engagement of Will and Kate and the impending spectacle of their royal wedding (with constant invocations of the ghost of Lady Di).

The prospect of King William of Australia has already galvanised the republican debate again, although we are unlikely to have another referendum soon. I suspect there is very little enthusiasm for a King Charles of Australia, or a King William of Australia, but neither is there any widespread feeling that a change is urgently needed. The referendum in 1999 was of course set up by Howard to fail, and to postpone change for as long as possible.

For those who want Australia to be a republic, naturally I agree, and the sooner the better, but as I commented at the time, just as importantly, Australia badly needs a Bill of Rights. We also need a much more independent foreign policy.

At the time I recorded this I was living in Adelaide. I recorded it at Big Cactus Studios, a small studio upstairs in the beautiful old Grace Emily Hotel in Waymouth St, a well-known venue for live music.

I had a couple of dozen CDs printed with the above logo, pinched from the 20c coin, under the name Fats Parameter, and circulated them to community radio stations (and Aunty) around the country. Basically this was a throwaway ditty for the occasion, with a short use-by date, and of necessity produced in some haste. But I was happy with the song.

Tony Kneipp

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

That Curse Is Broken

Hi, Tony here. This posting is somewhat different in that it is of a recent recording that I finished in September last year. I wrote the song in 2008. Early last year I made up a MIDI file of the song, (piano, bass and drums), converted it into audio, and added rhythm guitar and vocals, all on my PC in my bedroom. Ian Graham added the lead guitar track on his PC in his shed/studio.

A few months later I  took my computer etc to a rehearsal room in Eagle Farm (Scream Ahead Studios) where Steve Pritchard added the drums. My brother Terry gave me a hand with this.

This recording then sees the original Parameters together again on a recording for the first time since 1984, when we recorded Material Possession. This would never have happened if not for the 2007 Pig City concert, where we played live for the first and only time.

Finally I recorded the bass track in place of the original MIDI bass, and added just a touch of slide guitar in the chorus. The MIDI piano survives in the rhythm track for a bit of extra colour and body.

Ian knows a lot more about digital recording than I do, and made some very helpful suggestions in the mixing process. The graphic is by my brother Shane.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Living It Up On The Dole

As election fever is in the air with only a week to go it seems like a good time to post up this recording. I had moved down to Adelaide to get out of Brisbane for a while, and had been there for less than a year when the Howard government first ran for re-election in 1998. The main issue was the GST, but there was a healthy dose of bash the dole bludger thrown in to the mix for good measure. I was on the dole at the time, and was stirred up enough by the hateful rhetoric to come up with this song. This was also of course the time of Pauline Hanson and One Nation, not referred to by name in the song, but clearly reflected in the words of the third verse.

 

I wasn’t in a band, but I decided to record the song if I could and circulate it to some of the community radio stations around the country in the lead-up to the election.

I was regularly going to Rob Scott’s jam sessions on a Thursday night at his bookshop Bookends in Unley – a very civilised affair, I have fond memories of those nights. Rob put me on to Jim Redgate, from the well known surf rock band GT Stringer.

The song was recorded at Jim’s home studio in Belair on 15/9/98. The guitar I am playing is one of Jim’s. That’s what he does for a living. His home was also his luthier’s workshop. His guitars are internationally famous and sell for thousands of dollars.

I made a couple of dozen cassettes of the recording under my old musical moniker of Fats Parameter and circulated them to community radio stations and friends.

Later on in my stay in Adelaide I was playing in Beige with Patrick O’Grady and John Sullivan, then Patrick dropped out and I was playing in a duo, Hazy Space, with John. This song was regularly included in our play list for live gigs in both lineups and went down a treat with our audiences. Unfortunately I don’t have any recordings of those gigs.

Tony Kneipp

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized