I often wondered if the stories they print on these pages are true or just made up by a bunch of horny youths frustrated at not getting any action – that is, until we went thru Nashville and met ‘the wild one’, Miley Cyrus.
The saga began when we had some time to kill, no idea where Miley lived but knew this was her home town, and were fast running out of gas. We cruised around for a while before parking up in a downtown gas station.
“My turn to clean the car, lads!” Bob yelled enthusiastically, half-leaping, half tumbling out of the car then emphatically throwing off his shirt to expose his gleaming pecs. Steve bristled visibly as Bob manfully grabbed the hose, adjusted his nozzle and let loose with an intense spurt of sudsy foam.
“Hey shut the door asshole!” yelled Dragan, awoken by the sudden presence of the foamy liquid on his face. “Thank god ..it was… just a… dream!” he said semi-coherently, slamming the door as he regained full consciousness, while smearing the foam over his chest, pausing occasionally to lick his fingers and let out a quiet moan, and humming a few bars of ‘Karma chameleon’ before sinking back into a deep sleep.
“I just got the number for Miley boys!” Stu yelled, swaggering out of the gas station. “I got it right here on my phone! Its made for low light so i can’t actually see it out here, I’ll just nip into the toilet and write it on my hand! Anyone got a pen? i can change it but it says it needs to dowload the latest os updates first and one of my apps still uses system 18.104.22.168! I think i can probably just jailbreak it and run both systems, even if it voids my warranty.” Steve handed him the pen.
When he came out Bob was giving the car a final chamois down, and was pausing, rivulets of sweat drizzling down his chest, to pull out and light a cigarette.
“Someone lookin for Miley?”
The owner of that instantly recognizable Nashville drawl grabbed the cigarette out of bobs fingers, took a puff and then returned it to bob, as if it had never left his mouth.
We instantly recognised Billy Ray’s surly drawl, hacking cough awkward limp and bulging Calvin Kleins, which on this day protruded as if he were hiding a couple of souvenir tennis balls from the last Williams Sisters final.
“Looks like you guys got a bunch of achey breaky hearts!” he sneered, spitting a drawlful of tobacco onto the carpet – at this point, 5 seconds or so of of canned laughter/applause came thru the P.A. in the dressing room.
“Hell that always happens when i mention the Achey Breaky [he paused to wait for the applause to die down] – i had it written into my contract when i was young and foolish and now i can’t seem to get it unwritten…. the dangdest thing. almost having some kind o pact with the devil himself.”
“Anyway” he scoffed, snapping himself out of his thoughts back to his cockier past, before Miley, before Hannah, “You boys looking for Miley or Hannah? cos I can tell you now that Miley’s gonna cost a lot more than Hannah, being a virgin and suchforth – Hannah just your typical skanky ho, but Miley… well she’s somethin else”
“Well we just came to see Miley” chirped Stu.
He may as well have had a roll of “Admit One” tickets and a flashlight the way he ushered us into the seedy underbelly of Nashville, and we were ready to get season reentrys until dragan, the sensible one, pointed out we were leaving Tennessee tomorrow.
“Maybe we can do Miley today and Hannah tomorrow” suggested Dragan.
“We gotta be in Fresno, St Paul tomorrow by 1400 EST for frikks sake!” said Stu “-Stat!”.
“Thats Ok, I’m not driving so i can rest all day tomorrow” said Bob.
After evaluating all the options, including some tempting Miley/Hannah lookalikes who somewhat repulsively class themselves by age (‘I am good Miley from ages 11-12!‘ – see left‘; ‘you will find i am replicating well the Hannah Montana from Series 3! You will not be disappointed if you have learnt all the catchphrases and characters!’,’i will give good hannah to meet your budget, ma’am!”;”I am the cheapest hannah around! I have all my certificates!”), and after some heated debate, we decided to do the Miley Cyrus Night and Day Tour.
Well… What a day and Oh, what a nite that was!
The Red Carpet Walk (Miley seemed to prefer calling it a ‘ride’) was the first real insight into Miley’s world. Among the glitz and glamour of the A-list celebrities rolling up to collect their awards, drink their fill, and try to eke a meal out of the tiny portions of food provided (Madonna: “Hey Lady! I think you gave me Kate Moss’s portion! I think even she would be lickin her lips and rollin up for seconds!)
We got our meal – Don’t think it did our cause any harm having Meatloaf and Buster Bloodvessel at our table
As 2009 comes to a close, The House List’s writers and photographers (and editor) take a look back at the year that was. Check back tomorrow for our year-end photo gallery.
My Top Five 7″ Tour Singles
I’ve always loved that for the price of a drink, bands sometimes go the extra distance for their tour and press 7″ vinyl that you really can’t get anywhere else but at the merch table.
1. Times New Viking/Axemen, Tour Single
I love Times New Viking’s no-fi melodic messiness, and they save the great experimental stuff for their B-sides. I got this at their Mercury Lounge show. That it was a split with New Zealand legends the Axemen was even better. Only later did I find out each band covered the other’s songs and they hand-colored every copy! It’s that combination of paying homage to this influential band and introducing people through their reinterpretations that makes this an easy No. 1.
2. Jeff Novak, “Home Sweet Home” Single
I recognized Stephen Braren of Cheap Time behind the table after the Jay Reatard show at Music Hall of Williamsburg, and I got Jeff Novak’s long sold-out single from Reatard’s Shattered Records. I actually ended up contacting Novak after this and talked with him for my own blog.
3. Black Dice, “Chocolate Cherry” Tour Single
Black Dice have just a handful of singles from quite a few years ago, so when I saw them at The Bowery Ballroom, I was just looking out of habit. But this unlabeled single ended up being from Catsup Plate, which put out the insane Animal Collective LP box set this year. Both unreleased tracks were a departure—almost funk and with recognizable vocal samples! Truly weird.
4. Make a Mess Records, “Brilliant Colors” Single
I went to see Nodzzz and Wavves at the Underground Lounge on the Upper West Side. I managed to talk to Eric Butterworth from Nodzzz, who had just pressed a single on his label, Make a Mess Records. This ended up being one of my favorites of the year. Simple, stripped-down female-fronted No Wave punk pop.
5. The Balkans, “C++” Tour Single
I caught the Balkans at a new space in Brooklyn called Little Field. Woody Shortridge had pressed a single-sided 7″ at home, and I had to see it for myself. He pours them in his apartment and you get a really crazy-looking handmade single with the lowest of low-fi sound. And it helps that the track is great too. —Jason Dean, writer
(reprinted from the website of Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus Ohio – home of Times New Viking)
9PM Sat 14 Feb ’09
For our closing party for the exhibition Andy Warhol: Other Voices, Other Rooms—and to celebrate Valentine’s Day—local breakout band Times New Viking play their own versions of the eternally lovable tunes of the Velvet Underground, the art rock icons launched with the help of Warhol himself.
TNV, like the Velvets, know the addictive lure of twisted pop riding on buzzing droning riffs, and they’re keen to rev up the Velvets songbook with fresh interpretations.
Psychedelic Horseshit, also from Columbus, kick things off.
Click below to listen to the entire 69 minute Velvets set by TNV (95MB MP3)
01. Run Run Run
02. I’ll Be Your Mirror
03. I’m Waiting For My Man
04. All Tomorrow’s Parties
05. Sunday Morning
06. Venus in Furs
07. Can’t Stand It Anymore
09. Pale Blue Eyes
10. Here She Comes Now
11. Femme Fatale
12. After Hours
At the recent MONSTER GIG at Christchurch’s glamorous crumbling Media Club, Bill Vosburgh handed Kawowski a single A4 sheet with a few paragraphs written on it all in capitals, relating to his earliest recollections of THE AXEMEN days in Christchurch (1983-1987).
Luckily he stuck around and performed an incendiary blues rock set that night, as well as jamming with Steve, Stu & Helm at 4am New Year’s Day out at South Brighton, and also playing a few songs on various acoustic guitars on subsequent visits to Kawowski’s seaside hideaway.
I REMEMBER WATCHING THE AXEMEN PLAY AT THE GLADSTONE AND THE FIRST 45 MINS CONSISTED OF STEVE FIDDLING AD INFINITUM WITH HIS ‘PAUL BUNYAN MACHINE’. AN ENTHUSIASTIC AMATEUR ELECTRICIAN, STEVE HAD SOMEHOW ATTACHED A FUZZ-BOX AND IT TOOK HIM THAT LONG TO FIX IT WHILE BOB AND STU MANFULLY IMPROVISED IN THE BACKGROUND.
AFTER A WHILE, THEY TRANSCENDED THE COMICAL AND THE PIECE BECAME A SURREAL EPISODE OF PERFORMANCE ART.
AS I RECALL, THE AXEMEN WERE INCREDIBLY PROLIFIC, AND THEIR RECORDINGS, WHICH WERE PRIMITIVE TECHNICALLY IN THE EARLY STAGES, CAME THICK AND FAST. THEY GOT SOME LIMITED SUPPORT FROM RADIO U.
STU KAWOWSKI WAS AND IS A MARKETING GENIUS AND PRODUCED NOT JUST T-SHIRTS, BUT TROUSERS, STICKERS ETC, AND PRODUCED A MURAL THAT STOOD PROUDLY IN CHRISTCHURCH FOR OVER 10 YEARS, AS WELL AS MANY OTHERS THAT DIDN’T LAST SO LONG.
ALL IN ALL I WOULD HAVE TO SAY THAT THE AXEMEN ARE ONE OF THE LOOPIEST AND MOST ORIGINAL BANDS I’VE EVER SEEN AND I’M GLAD THEY’RE BACK ON THE ROAD.
A NOTE ABOUT STEVE’S COFFEE WINE: STEVE MADE THIS COFFEE WINE AND THEN DISTILLED IT – STRANGEST ALCOHOL I EVER TRIED. IT WAS MORE LIKE A BARB, AND I RECALL WALKING ACROSS THE SQUARE AFTER A COUPLE OF SHOTS AND HAVING TUNNEL VISION!
-Bill Vosburgh Dec 2008
Man these guys are way out
better than Ginsberg and Kerouac ever did
these guys were on the road before the road was the road
can you dig it?
so, we pulled up 6:15AM at the diner and all i had was two quarters in my pocket
The tank was on empty and me and Joe had no idea of where we were heading.
I looked over at the tips jar and the waitress shook her head slowly.
I knew that her three children and two-bit husband depended on that tip money but I also knew that by the time I walked out of that joint i would have a free cup of coffee, a full breakfast and the contents of that tip jar, maybe the girl as well – just because thats the kind of bastard I am – the lowest of the low – a beat poet.
Joe suddenly stepped up and grabbed one of the complimentary biscuits off the table, tearing off a corner and, chomping down on it in his haste , recklessly knocking over the cups of tea which had been set out for the homeless, burning one of them who liked it strong and black, “Like my men”.
“Hey Joe – where you going with that bun in your hand?” I called out with the obligatory nonchalant tone expected of such an obvious setup line.
Pointing at me pointedly with his one good pointy finger Joe nodded and said “Pull this, asshole”
I pulled his finger and he twisted it 70 degrees and said “You don’t know shit mutha now order me a beer and I want it on the table with that waitress right their feeding it to me with a teaspoon!”
He then pointedly strolled out nibbling on his bun, after ordering my beer and tipping the waitress generously – “Buy a new pair of pants for your kid – or at least change his diaper for godssake” he sniffed.
Pointedly the joint stopped jumping
A yellow breeze hawked by
This bun wuz made for eating
here’s mud in yer eye (gobbles bun)
The waitress sauntered out, more sultry than she was before.
“it’s my smoke break” she sneered
Joe nodded and kept walking.
Back in the diner I continued in my role until the silence was crushed.
“My name’s Pam but they call me Pammy because its cuter”
“No I don’t think cuz its cuter”
“Probably for the best”
“Mmm-hmm, its cuter…I got your beer teaspoon, sweetie” she winked.
Now you’re talking, I thought.
Following her back into the bar I couldn’t help but notice her ass – sexist and un-pc as it is I couldn’t help placing it on a scale and it easily achieved a 9, 10 being reserved for professionally photographed and retouched tennis players in a public place, maybe scratching the crack to give an extra couple of leverage points.
Sidling back up to the bar, I put my bib on.
Rolling her eyes, the waitress brought the spoon over and dipped it into the glass, scratching her ass purposely.
“You know I’ll have to leave this with you once it starts getting busy” she said, matter-of-factly.
Proclaimers – Arkansas
I looked around the bar and, seeing the “Tonight – The Proclaimers – Gays and Scots welcome!!” poster in the window I smiled glibly.
‘Teaspooned beer till closing time’‘ ran the ticker in my head.
Steve, Bob and Stu were jogging round the band rotunda as usual on a chilly but glorious crisp Christchurch day, tossing around a genuine cowskin rugby ball red and black of course being the Canterbury colors, with a faded PineTree Meads signature on it indicating it had been around, dropping it to the foot on more than one occasion to give it a solid punt.
Waving to George who had moved into the rotunda for the season, (“Its warmer in here in midwinter than Jetty Street in a high Dunedin summer! – Och Aye!” he jested, sniffing his singlet and grinning approvingly). Pulling out a razor from his pocket, he half-heartedly gave his icy beard a good hard scrape.
“Never works!” he chortled, tossing the razor onto the tidy pile of used needles to his right. “I’ll clean that up later” he thought as the pack of stray dogs rifled through the stack, one of them grazing his nose and running off with a hapless yelp, leaving a tiny trail of blood as it ran.
Punting the orb deftly to Stu, inadvertantly over his head to be collected by the always toned Brannigan in his one good hand, Steve squeaked (in his best meek Steve McCabe squeaky voice) “How long has it been since we really tested our mettle, boys? Seriously?!”
“How about that great tea tasting gig when we tried all those varieties of green teas?” piped up Kawowski.
Effortlessly hurtling the ball to McCabe in a rainbow-like arc, Brannigan replied, “Nah , that was when we tested our nettle!”
“And the time we brought those four Liverpool lads over in 1964 for that nationwide music quiz and put them up on stage with a quizmaster and grilled them on Guiness Records?”
Brannigan, heading the egg-shaped ball as if it were a balloon while shaking his head like a stern schoolmaster noted “No, no, no, that was when we tested the Beatles – don’t you remember anything??”
“Not even when we pulled off all the colorful fleshy parts of a flower and subjected them to drops of iodine to see if they would change colour?”
“For goodness sake, that was when we tested our pet…”
Just then, the Punt instructor stepped up to the lads and said “Party of Three? The X Men? Basic punting skills? Booked for 3:15 PM?” pausing and then snootily looking down and winding his watch.
Dropping his shoulder in acknowledgement he winked and said ” ‘Op in the old dragon and moat, chums you’re up for a right ol’ time fox and hunting up the ol’ blackbird and raven kidneys ‘n’ liver! Stone the thorns and rose, I bet you don’t even know what the tower and bell I’m lamb and porking about!”
Scratching their heads, the lads climbed into the punt.
“Wish I could come up with a better cockney rhyming slang for this contraption” mumbled the punt-master, shaking his head as he insterted his huge pole into the murky Avon depths, thrusting the fullness of his weight into propelling the logjammer faster, faster into the now-stirring current.
McCabe reclined and brushed aside his wispy shoulder-length hair – he hadn’t had it that long for a while but kept growing it as the girls loved it. It didn’t even really need mussing up at this point yet he did it anyway just to rouse his buddies and invoke the memory of their legendary cohort, Dragan Stojanovic.
“Whose mettle is being tested here?” mused McCabe to himself. The thought naturally drifted across to his fraternal time-twin Brannigan who tossed back the thought rejoinder “Whose mettle is it anyway?” to which McCabe had no immediate comeback, much to Brannigan’s delight.
Glowering in the mid-afternoon Christchurch sun, at once chilling in its traversion of the ozone-starved atmosphere which hovered over the flat city known locally as the plains (reminiscent of the ill fated and way too early deceased Tattoo character Herve Villechaize – his nemesis mr Rourke was much favoured for being knocked off in the later years of the series but this was not talked about in open conversation – Villechaize’s battle cry ‘The Plane! The Plane!’ would be a constant reminder of the utopian flatlands in the axemen’s later days – the pesky git – curse him and his catchy catch-cry these things have a habit of catching on in their own catch-as-cats-can way -)
(Can someone Please go add some detail to this reference to Catch as Cats Can:
An emaciated canary, singing like Frank Sinatra, is getting on the nerves of a pipe-puffing parrot…
Amusing action with funny spoof characters
Calve Betels Titmice
A memory of ‘The Tour Days’
It was the end of the seventies, the start of the eighties in fact, I remember just like it was yesterday, a frightened 15-year-old struggling into my clown costume to raise the spirits of my brothers and sisters in the struggle, too poor to afford a motorbike helmet so I sellotaped a couch cushion to my head (of course being from South Dunedin it was scotch tape not sellotape), arm-in-arm that grey day outside Carisbrook, the tears stinging the spots on my face, my throat so hoarse I could barely summon one more rousing cry of “Amandla Nawehu”— it was then that the mass political consciousness of my fellow citizens planted the seed of true solidarity in my sensitive virgin male mind and I looked up into the eyes of Steve Biko hovering above me on a placard and I felt the thrill of communion with the anxious stirrings of an even younger lad, a pale, frail, snub-nosed white boy who was also called Steve, who at that moment was wearing his checked pants and oversized yellow raincoat and tapdancing like mad, singing like a bird, using his undeniable God-given talent for entertaining to rally the sinking demeanours of his wounded comrades simultaneously exercising their right, no, DUTY, to oppose racist pigs and fascist cops in that Avon-girdled punting playground of the north, the garden city named for the son of god and the house in which he is rightfully worshipped, ChristChurch, because as I choked back a cry of pain while P.C.Hitler-Redneck took me from behind by grabbing the elastic holding my innocent plastic red nose (symbolising not only joy and humour, but Communism and the Socialist Workers’ State which I had totally committed myself to) and savagely kept going down on me with his hard truncheon, I looked for one more fleeting instance into the proud eyes of the noble African martyr and thought, like Peter Gabriel said, “The man is dead, the man is dead,” and suddenly I knew, I could HEAR/SEE/TASTE/SMELL/FEEL all at the same time that the VERY SAME THOUGHTS WERE RUNNING THROUGH THE HEAD OF MY BUDDY STEVE UP NORTH (only he was at a rally in support of homosexual law reform by then, because he went there straight after he finished cheering up the protestors at the rugby match, because he was also totally committed), and I remembered suddenly how he had been nagging me to learn to play the guitar because then we would be able to, in his words, “Stick it to the man!” like we really meant it (and we did mean it, we completely MEANT it) and I knew then that music was the answer, that if people like Peter Gabriel could sing about people like Steve Biko and inspire ordinary working-class folk like me and my buddy Steve (and I’d like to mention Bruce Springsteen, too, because he never took any shit from THE MAN either) then we could study to play our instruments and hopefully one day (but hopefully not “In The Year 2525″ one hopes!) inspire other young male virgins to fight oppressive racist regimes as well as sexist patriarchy rules and police state anti-drugs LIES and all cops everywhere where human beings should be living together in harmony as one. If you can still hear me, Steve, I thought, concentrating on the Vulcan mind melt technique that he had written to me about and I admittedly had scoffed at (but not to his face), but that now I realised was scientifically founded on fact and could be verified in a lab, “if you can hear me Steve,” I said out loud, as the burly policeman pulled me off with his jeering mates, “let’s start that band you were talking about, let’s STICK IT TO THE MAN with…ROCK’N’ROLL!!” And Steve’s vulcan-mind-melt antenna quivered briefly the reply, SUNG, rather than spoken, “You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one, I hope one day you’ll join us, and the world will live as one.”
AXEMEN FAN FICTION by Ann B. Barbingo
Rubbing the crusty yellow crystals off his nose and stretching his arms out, Bob Brannigan awoke. Brushing off the gaggle of female admirers which had been trying to settle in his hair since last night, he wandered across the dancefloor of the Miners Bar and Grill (rarely more than half-full because of the confusing “NO MINORS ALLOWED” sign affixed to the the front door), stepped over Stu Kawowski being careful not to bump his Zimmer frame and sidled over to the bar where Steve McCabe was on his second jug of beer for the day.
“Chaser, Bob?” Steve asked cheerily.
“Yeah but she got away!” Bob quipped.
The lads quietly poured and quaffed a couple of 7 oz’ers and Steve ordered another jug.
“Ah, that’s put a lining on the ol’ stomach,” commented Steve, producing a 1.25 litre bottle of Coffee Wine from his pocket with the smooth aplomb of a magician pulling a rabbit from a hat. McCabe’s jacket seemed to have endless pockets, each one deeper than a Rockefeller’s or a Kennedy’s, thought Bob.
“Glad I’m not a Kennedy!” said Steve between deep gulps, effortlessly reading Bob’s thoughts. The two pals were symapatico and had discovered their predilection for knowing the other’s thoughts long ago and it was as natural as– “Yoghurt icecream!” yelled Bob to the barman, “and make it runny!” The barman, accustomed to the lads’ sometimes unusual requests, poured a frozen yoghurt into a glass and put it under the Bain-marie.
“What’s that you’re putting the yoghurt under?” said Bob, nonchalantly serving up the first line of the joke so Steve could slam back the punchline to the hapless barman’s inevitable response.
“Why, it’s a Bain-Marie,” replied the barman, dead on cue.
“I know its a-bain-Marie, but what-a is it now?!!” yelled Steve in his best faux-Godfather Italian accent.
Appreciating the unselfish set-up, Steve mixed Bob a Yoko (a cloudy concoction of yoghurt and Coffee Wine, with a dash of beer thrown in for good measure). “The beer makes it a Rusty Yoko,” Steve noted adroitly. Bob whipped out his notebook and wrote:
The beer makes it a rusty Yoko
Curdled, like a year-old Cocoa
A grunt came from the booth in the corner. Looking over, the boys noticed Shane McGowan and Georgie Best collapsed under the table, snoring and holding their heads.
“Lightweights!” they said simultaneously, fist-bumping each other in acknowledgment of the mind-meld.
Steve recalled the first time the mind-meld had occurred, in an undisclosed Dental School in South Dunedin where the lads found themselves trapped Prisoner-style in the laughing-gas* room with the spigot hissing. Instantly, the lads threw themselves to the floor in order to ensure not a molecule was wasted, and within minutes McCabe was proclaiming, “My voice is melting! Bob, post-haste, perform the Vulcan Voice Meld!”
From that moment on, the two found themselves bound together inseparably, and it was said that they were “at least twice as funny” after that time.
* Nitrous Oxide discoverer [Joseph] Priestley describes the preparation of “nitrous air diminished” by heating iron filings dampened with nitric acid in Experiments and Observations on Different Kinds of Air (1775). Priestley was delighted with his discovery: “I have now discovered an air five or six times as good as common air… nothing I ever did has surprised me more, or is more satisfactory.”
Axemen Fan Fiction posted by Sciatic Bevel Mettle