Tag Archives: Patrick O’Grady

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”

 

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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

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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

 

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