Since the last update we played Sleepy’s launch at Moshpit in Newtown to launch their awesome new album New Shanghai Night, and you really must get a copy and support Sleepy! It was fortunate that we were able to squeeze in one last show before what has obviously turned into a lockdown situation for venues everywhere with this virus thing. Who knew it would turn into something like this?! Everyone out there please stay safe, and take all those extra precautions.
Our trip to Brisbane was around the awful Bushfire time, and driving up past Taree etc and seeing so much freshly burned-out landscape was pretty sobering.
Our show at The Outpost with The Double Happiness, Stress of Leisure and Majestic Horses was great – there were lots of people there, and it was great to catch up with good friends we don’t often get to see (PS: thanks again Pete for whatever rocketfuel was in those shot glasses you kept shouting). It was pouring with rain outside, so rain-affected gigs continue to plague any event SLS is part of. The Outpost is a beautiful new venue up a sneaky flight of stairs in a back lane in Fortitude Valley. It was a very handy location for us, with all our gear literally just across the street behind The Zoo at Tym Guitars.
Our recording stuff went well, and once again our trusty captain Matt Weatherall was our eyes & ears on the ProTools while we were cracking jokes and loosely blasting stuff out of amps. Before leaving Gosford I carefully crafted a pedal board for the gig and for the recording – I packed everything else imaginable into Hobson’s VW Golf aaaaand…after all that, it wasn’t until I was setting up in the room in Bris that I realised I’d left the precious pedal board at home (!!?!) so I had to build a new bunch of pedals from all the leftovers I took with me, stuffed into ALDI bags – plus a few things on loan from Tim’s fancy shelves in his shop.
We ended up with 5 or 6 new songs this time – some are old snippets of song demos that never quite had the legs in the past, and some really new things too. We had a vintage Selmer amp (Tim assures me it’s the same model Syd used on early Pink Flyd records…the way its sound does things is like nothing else I’ve ever heard – it’s unbelieveable), and we had J Mascis’ actual Marshall head (it’s since been recovered in purple tolex) that he used around the time of the first couple of Dino albums, and I even got to play Adalita’s old SG that she used in Magic Dirt. So, so not worthy, right? So much great gear flowing from one group to another just like that, and so grateful to Tim for lending us anything we wanted to try. Kid, meet candy store.
Unfortunately Travis missed these sessions (he was overseas with his family) but we’re still tinkering with all these songs, so he’ll add his bits and it all eventually ends up in the same melting pot anyway.
We’ve had a few false starts over the last couple of years trying to get things going with this bunch of tunes, but we’ve found some traction this time and they’re starting to feed off & lead into each other a bit now. It’s all sounding like a strong bunch of ideas & the whole project is taking on a bit of a life of its own – lots of energy, upfront raw sounds, lots of live action accidents and stuff – we’re starting to sound a bit like a band again.
Phil & Bea’s house on the hill is our home when we stay in Brisbane, and the continual flow of Hammer & Tongs with that view of Brisbane and Robbie’s cheerful and calming presence are all things we love about the place. I had a fair bit of foot pain but I really wanted to run this time while I was in Brisbane (last time in Bris I had a bad knee injury) – so Robbie took me out running a couple of times around his routes around the hills of Paddington. I went out a few other mornings on my own too – ran down to the XXXX factory and back – another time I ended up somewhere out in Red Hill. Those hills around Brisbane are tough but it is a very pretty place to run.
(Another month or so after we returned home I finally saw a physio and discovered that I’d been running on a fractured foot the whole time, so now I’m stuck wearing a big moon boot as we speak).
After 4 or 5 days away, Hobson and I drove back home to reality again in his VW and pelted each other with whatever we think to be essential listening right now. Hobson had the keys so he kinda got to fill a large proportion of the 11ish hour trip with the multiple variations of Bob Pollard/Guided By Voices and I threw in a bit of DIIV and True Widow where I could. You can’t go past GBV though, and that’s not a bad thing cos GBV’s influence on SLS is still as strong as ever.
We’d love to head back to Brisbane again soon to do one last batch of songs with Matt, but with the way this Covid-19 thing is gathering pace, we might need to be doing the whole thing remotely from here on in. Who knows? These are interesting times for us all to navigate.
All the best folks, make sure you keep safe and well, and we’ll keep the info coming whenever it happens.