Tag Archives: Tony Kneipp

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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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

 

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Fugitive Microbes

Hi, Tony here with a post about a different band. In 1989 I spent a year studying for a secondary teaching diploma at Kelvin Grove campus, the last year before it became part of QUT. During the year I discovered that one of my friends at college, Kristin Black, was a very talented guitarist and singer. I asked her if she would be interested in playing in the band I was in, and somewhat  to my surprise she she said yes. At the end of the college year we played in the main refectory at Kelvin Grove in what was the Bye Bye BCAE Breakup Bash. That was the first public performance by the Fugitive Microbes. The other band members were Brisbane music veterans, with  Oscar on drums and Irena Luckus from Xero on synthesiser and vocals. Irena may have played one or two other gigs after that, but was the first to drop out. Around that time Colin Barwick came in on drums and Oscar switched to bass, so for most of the band’s existence it was the four of us, me, Kristin, Colin and Oscar.

We played throughout 1990, quite a few times for an original Brisbane band then or now for that matter. Bands playing original material have always found venues somewhat scarce here, with all but a few of them being lucky to play once a month on average. I’ll mention some of the gigs I remember in my next posting. Towards the end of the year Oscar left to live for a time in Holland (his original home). Peter Adams stood in on bass for us for at least two gigs, expecting that we would replace him as we went on. But the end of the year was the end of the band as people had commitments to go in different directions.

Mad Dave

Living With A Schizophrenic

So the band truly was fugitive, a common enough story. I have very fond memories of this band. Most rock bands are essentially art by committee, and the process is always somewhat fraught at the best of times. There was really none of that in the Microbes, and it was a lot of fun.

Before people went their separate ways I was able to organise two sessions in January and February 1991 in a small suburban studio, Burbank Productions, in which we recorded six songs. Kristin’s boyfriend Peter Fergusson (now husband) was our bass player for the recording sessions. At that  time he was playing guitar in Splat Acrobat. My brother Patrick Kneipp also stood in as guest lead player.

Some time later, in mid 1992 I had two of the songs, one of mine (Mad Dave) and one of Kristin’s (Living With A Schizophrenic) pressed as a single on my own A Records label by Sundown Records. It was never widely circulated, though all the songs from the session were played extensively on 4ZZZ.

Here is that single, taken from the vinyl.

The reversible cover art above is by another of my brothers, Shane, a very keen and well-known (but penniless) Brisbane artist.

Tony Kneipp

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The story of Pig City

Hi. My name is Tony. Welcome to my blog.

Pig City with Trash Of All Nations live Melbourne 1986

Pig City (by The Parameters) is a song which I wrote and recorded ages ago, in 1983, at the studios of Brisbane’s alternative radio station, 4ZZZ, at that time on the St Lucia campus of the University of Queensland. It was basically a throwaway piece of satire, recorded shortly before the Queensland state election in October that year.

Without 4ZZZ there would have been no Pig City. 4ZZZ started broadcasting in December 1975. By the time Pig City was recorded, 4ZZZ was clearly a major part of the opposition to the excesses of the then Bjelke-Petersen government. For years after that election they thrashed the song to death on the airwaves, making it something of a local protest anthem.

So here is the link to the song. This version is not from the vinyl, but from the original master tape.

Another way of listening to the song is to watch Steve Stockwell‘s video to Pig City which he has uploaded to YouTube. Here is the URL.

youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ehx4CZSsojI

In 1984, I recorded another original song, Material Possession, and had 1000 singles of Pig City pressed by Sundown Records on my own label, A Records. The song became a perennial on 4ZZZ’s annual Hot 100. In the early 90’s top local band Ups and Downs recorded a cover version of the song which was also played repeatedly on 4ZZZ for a while (I’d love to get a copy!).

In 2000 Pig City was included on a 2 CD compilation released by 4ZZZ, Behind The Banana Curtain (1975 – 2000) – a mixture of some of the biggest name bands to come out of Brisbane, along with others whose public exposure was almost entirely limited to 4ZZZ. In 2004 Andrew Stafford published his book Pig City (UQP, subtitled, From The Saints To Savage Garden), an in-depth account of the Brisbane music scene over those years. Following on from the book, Pig City was used as the name for a major concert in July 1997 as part of the Queensland Music Festival 2007. The irony of the government footing the bill for a concert of this name was not lost on me or my friends! The headline act was the reformed Saints.

I was fortunate enough to be able to get the other two original Parameters, Steven Pritchard (drums) and Ian Graham (lead guitar), as well as some other friends, (Marko, John, many thanks) to perform the song live at that gig.

The irony about this is that we had never played the song live before. The original recording was overdubbed on an 8 track tape deck 4ZZZ had, with none of us ever playing at the same time. Ian and Steven were never even in the studio together. So The Parameters was basically the band that never was.

The top of the page shows me playing the song at an anarchist conference in Melbourne in 1986 with Trash of All Nations (originally The Tapeloops, their material will feature in future postings). Fellow Brisbane activists jumped up on stage to sing the chorus, pretty much obscuring the rest of the band. That was only one of two or three times I had ever performed the song in public.

Tony Kneipp

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