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The road to Slack Jawed...

February 19th, 2005. I was in a band called MightyBoy. It was the primary vehicle of all things creative from me. Months earlier we had released an EP entitled "Sucker Punch" nation wide on Shock Records. It was the biggest event in the band's long career. I had quit my job as it was becoming increasingly hard to juggle a 9 to 5er under a very strict boss while promoting a band under a very demanding manager. As MightyBoy was rapidly eating through my savings I took a part time job at a juice bar in an attempt to make ends meet. It's hard to believe the lady who I now call my wife managed to hold in there as I continued to beg her for more and more money.

When the EP and single failed to set the world on fire, management and record company alike were undeterred and talk began about moving straight into the MightyBoy album. At that stage I had done everything I could to maintain the image that we were an upcoming “band to watch” and have our name and CD everywhere possible. The band costs and just the cost of living unemployed had seen me manage to eat through upwards of $10,000 of my own money and $5,000 from my girlfriend. And the Sucker Punch EP was put together largely on favours. Nigel Derricks, an Aria Award nominated producer recorded the EP for free, along with Bakehouse Studios he also recorded a 14 track album demo for a MightyBoy album for free. Kalju Tonuma a legend engineer mixed the song Sucker Punch for a tenth of his usual rate. Lead singer of Effigy, Pete Hardeman added some production to the EP for free.

As much as MightyBoy's manager at the time is responsible for a few blunders along the way he was very good at one thing. He made a lot of people believe we were the next big thing. As a result a lot of people would help us out free of charge or very cheaply just so to cement their part in the MightyBoy debut album.

So yeah, here we were, we had managed to trick these people into believing in us, and hell... I believed the hype as well. However, when the EP failed to achieve our goals and talk of going ahead with the debut album out of our pockets I was terrified. As management started to loose faith I protested “I'll get the money, I'll get the money”. Initial quotes from Nigel Derricks who had previously worked for us for free was $16,000 as the cheapest we could do a decent sounding album with him. Shock would distribute the album for us no problem. As long we paid for pressing of at least 500 CDs - $1000, and obtained a publicist - $2000min. However the publicist only commits to a band willing to undertake a certain level of advertising, the minimum being $800 worth.

At this stage the band consisted of a barely committed guitar player who would rarely contribute his time let alone money, a drummer who whole heartedly believed in the band and my songs but was on apprentice wages, and an extremely young and McDonalds employed bass player who could barely afford lunch let alone a $20,000 album.

The thought of approaching the lady friend once again was not pretty. My parents didn't understand why we were recording another CD. So it was up to me.

Late 2004 I had joined the Doggy Paddle Scandal. My brother Broni's rock band. I wanted to play rock music without the stress. Let the stress be Broni's this time. Fully intending to do MightyBoy at the same time, and did for months.

January 2005, Mitch from local band Soundgauge asked the Doggy Paddle Scandal to open a show for them at the Dan O'Connell. Followed by Chasing Butterfly. Then Soundgauge. Then MightyBoy. It was one of the only times MightyBoy had been asked to headline someone elses show. Normally it was us asking bigger bands to headline our shows. Or doing our own headline shows that we'd promote like crazy.

I imagine we had been asked to headline the show as somewhat of a crowd puller. The Doggy Paddle Scandal graced the stage. It was one the first DPS pub shows and as a result the place was politely full. As the night continued however the crowd steadily dwindled. I had been enjoying the break between DPS and MightyBoy a little to much with more and more beer. Soundgauge's last chord was cue for the Soundgauge fan's to leave. Leaving the room, 10 or so people shy of being empty.

February 19th, 2005 a switch flicked in my head. We had fooled many many people into believing we were this big deal. To an extent even I was fooled. On this night in February we were called on it... and we were busted big time. Second song of our set that night, looking out at a room reminiscent of those my very first high school band would play too, my throat just went completely dry and my heart sank in my chest.

After the show as the rest of MightyBoy laughed and chatted with the members of Soundgauge that had stuck around, I got off stage and sat outside and thought about the 4 more booked gigs on MightyBoy's calendar, as realized I just couldn't do them. I confided in my Dad who said “tomorrow you'll feel normal again don't worry”. I didn't. Two days later I cancelled all MightyBoy's remaining shows. Cancelled our weekly practice. Told the band's manager I wouldn't be meeting him this week. I laughed it off, said I just needed a break. But I was done.

It's funny, I believed 100% that I was put on this earth to make/play music and I knew I was good at it. Even when early on, my guitar teacher would get frustrated at my slow learning. Even when the singer in my first band was like “you can't sing” when I wanted to sing a song I wrote. Even when MightyBoy member's would question the merits of a particular song that I believed was good. I was always confident, I was always sure.

Something changed. The confidence left. At it never returned. I became so unsure of everything I had been so certain of.

The people I call my best friends were not muso people by any stretch. Most of which weren't gig goers, some barely even CD buyers. As one after the other got married, bought a house and settled down I believed that was the path for me. The lady friend who had stood by me all that time finally became my wife. We bought a house and “settled down”.

Since MightyBoy's demise I had recorded low-fi songs by myself in my home “studio”. When I returned from my honey-moon my apprentice – Broni showed me his latest effort, an EP named – Simone. I was floored. The kid who was so green when picking up a bass to join MightyBoy at age 16 had delivered this mature and sophisticated piece of work, particularly in the song “Too Late”, it felt superior to anything I could ever imagine doing and it felt like the apprentice had now become the master. I went home and recorded the song “Can't Keep Up” which was to be my last song ever. For all intensive purposes, I was done.

For the following two years my mind would continually change. I'd listen to an album and think “I can do that, I gotta get the band back together”. Next day I'd listen to another album and be completely intimidated. During this time MightyBoy appeared once or twice as I tricked myself into thinking I could still do it. I recorded songs at home here and there as the mood dictated. It was a constant battle with my own damn brain.

I had a bunch of new songs that had popped up in that time and decided, in a brief window of self confidence, to played a show. A month later I played another. A month later I played another, and holy crap, people came. After show beers saw a girl sidle up and ask if I had a CD she could buy. I replied no.

And then it rained. Literally. Summer had ended and it poured. I find rain to be extremely inspiring. Trapped inside I entered the “studio” to start work on a “Speds EP”. In thinking what songs to do I listened back to some I had recorded previously. Whether it was the “rain inspiration”, the fact I had just eaten my first bowl of coco-pops in 10 years or the more popular theory that I was enjoying a brief lowering of my own self criticism, but I was enjoying some of what I heard. I spent the entire day re-recording bits that bothered me, re-mixing things that sounded weird and by days end burnt a copy of what would become “Slack Jawed”. I whipped up a cover and was at the printer Monday morning. Determined to get it out before my mind changed.

The result of this overly dramatic and long-winded blog – http://www.fist2face.com.au/?speds

If you are at all interested, do me the MASSIVE favour of purchasing a copy. It's only $5... for 15 songs. It's just a bunch of honest songs, no lavish production, no commercially viable singles followed by filler... its ALL filler hahaha, it's just a collection of songs that I'd love people to hear.

So go hear it...... please, before I change my mind and pull it from circulation. Because if we learnt anything from the above its that I'm a moody and temperamental bitch!

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