THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: George D. Henderson of the Puddle

Reprinted from http://www.elsewhere.co.nz/absoluteelsewhere/3832/the-famous-elsewhere-questionnaire-george-d-henderson-of-the-puddle/

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: George D. Henderson of the Puddle

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: George D. Henderson of the PuddleGeorge D. Henderson founded Dunedin’s psych-pop band the Puddle in 1983/84 and over the following decade the group recorded an EP, an album and a single for Flying Nun, all of which are curently out of print.

However “a Lazarus-like comeback over the past five years” (as the press release says) has seen three new albums in the past few years, their ’09 The Shakespeare Monkey being hailed as one of the best of the year at Elsewhere. (see here).

The latest album Playboys in the Bush (out now CD and vinyl LP) was equally well received here.

The current touring line up of The Puddle (see dates below) features long-time fan Gavin Shaw on bass, multi-instrumentalist Allan Starrett on keyboards and viola, and George’s brother (and occasional 1984/85 Puddle drummer) Ian on drums. The addition of the ubiquitous Mr Starrett (who collaborated with George in Mink and The Puddle’s Songs for Emily Valentine album in the Nineties, and has also played with the Pop Art Toasters, the Bats and David Kilgour) brings back that essential keyboard element missing since the early Nineties.

We quote the amusing press release again: “Puddle’s catholic mix of pop, blues, psychedelia, jazz, minimalism, rock’n’roll and god-knows-what-else appeals to humans of all ages who are not too proud to dance and the lyrics of love, sex, drugs, bewilderment and space travel are clearly audible at all times. Their live performances are legendary, walking the fine line between epiphany and cacophony with unexpected musical and lyrical rabbits pulled from invisible hats.”

Henderson here, with admirable candour, answers the fast 15 questions . . .

The first piece of music which really affected you was . . .

Ride of The Valkerie by Richard Wagner, in my parent’s 7” pile

Your first (possibly embarrassing) role models in music were . . .

Marc Bolan, the Beatles, Watchdog (Invercargill glam-metal-prog band 1973-75)

Lennon or Jagger, Ramones or Nirvana, Madonna or Gaga, Jacko or Jay-Z?

Lennon played instruments and wrote better, but Jagger stuck up for the male sex while Lennon folded. Nirvana annoyed me, Ramones bored me, so Nirvana. No opinion on the ladies. Not familiar with Jay-Z but Jacko was a genius and would be hard to beat at his game.

If music was denied you, your other career choice would be . . .

Best-selling quack doctor

The three songs (yours, or by others) you would love everyone to hear are . . .

Beings Rest Finally by Beat Rhythm Fashion, Song for Insane Times by Kevin Ayers, This Liberal Love by Microdisney

Any interesting, valuable or just plain strange musical memorabilia at home?

A copy of the Nux Vomica 7” My Life To Live b/w TV Producer

The best book on music or musicians you have read is . . .

Renegade (by Mark E. Smith), Positively George Street (by Matthew Bannister), Songs They Don’t Play on the Radio (by Nico’s former keyboard player). They all remind me of aspects of my own career. Have You Checked the Children (by George Churton) which actually discusses it in depth.

If you could get on stage with anyone it would be . . . (And you would play?)

I’d love to sing one my songs with the Clientele. Naked would do.

The three films you’d insist anybody watch because they might understand you better are . . .

Autofocus. Punch Drunk Love. Dark of the Sun.

Buttons_cover_picThe last CD or vinyl album you bought was . . . (And your most recent downloads include . . .)

Vinyl album: Andy Williams’ Love Andy, his best in my opinion. Best recent download Between the Buttons by The Rolling Stones, their best also in my opinion.

One song, royalties for life, never have to work again. The song by anyone, yourself included, which wouldn’t embarrass you in that case would be . . .

No song that did half that well could ever embarrass me.

The poster, album cover or piece of art could you live with on your bedroom forever would be . . .

Playboys in the Bush or anything by Tanya Hoar

You are allowed just one tattoo, and it is of . . .

I have enough scars already without paying some drongo to tag me.

David Bowie sang, “Five years, that’s all we’ve got . . .” You would spend them where, doing . . .?

Just right here doing what I’m doing. I’ve based my life on that premise for the past five years. You don’t understand Playboys in the Bush if you don’t realise that my major anxiety was dying before it was recorded. I dreaded the idea of falling under a bus and no-one hearing the songs. Sometimes I care more about posterity than I do about my own children.

pitb_front_smallAnd finally, in the nature of press conferences in Japan, “Can you tell me please why this is your best album ever?”

For a start, it’s very unlikely that I’ll ever again have this much money or time to spend on an album or this many talented collaborators. The album catches a special point in my life, the point five years ago when I started to live to my full potential; it catches the energy of a new romance, the excitement and terror of new starts, while pillaging my past for unexploited highlights.

So it covers a wider period of creativity than previous work (two and a half decades), yet the exact moment of its creation was especially intense.

It’s the first album I made in a reasonably sober state, and it’s the first album anywhere to have artwork by Tanya Hoar.

The Puddle’s New Zealand tour dates in February are as follows . . .

Friday 4 February, Hamilton, Ward Lane (with Matthew Bannister + Hollow Grinders)
Saturday 5 Feb, Auckland, Dogs Bollix (with Azalia Snail + Sandra Bell)
Wednesday 9 Feb, Gisborne, Kingfisher Bar (with The Opposite Sex)
Thursday 10 Feb, Masterton, Golden Shears (with Dragstrip)
Friday 11 Feb, Palmerston North, Roayl Hotel (with Vorn)
Saturday 12 Feb, Wellington, Happy! (with Vorn)

Added: 31 Jan 2011

AXEMEN “Three Virgins” sure to rise again…

Like a phoenix, it’s flaming wings rendering liquefacted silt into weirdly shaped shiny psychedelic ceramic sculptures as it rises from the quake-decimated ruins of Christchurch’s State Trinity Centre, the penultimate Axemen tome “Three Virgins, Three Versions, Three Visions”  (commonly referred to in hushed tones as simply “Three Virgins“), well, more accurately, the four fragile lacquers of which are currently and patiently awaiting their turn at R.T.I. USA. Soon those lovingly engraved mothers will be slammed into steaming 180 gram piles of black vinyl, and slipped into exact replicas of the intricately elaborate 4-colour gatefold sleeve, the cost of said practically bringing Flying Nun Records to it’s knees back in the Christchurch of 1986.

The 22/2/11 quake-decimated ruins of Christchurch’s State Trinity Centre.

 

Kawowski’s vain effort to bake the original 7″ masters in a food-dehydrator, and transfer digitally proved unacceptable to his high standards of aural sensitivity. With the upwards nodding approval of the other 2/3 of the legendary flat-city triad, Steve ‘n Bob, together with the blessing of the sage Siltbreeze label boss T. J. Lax, Germany’s and possibly the world’s pre-eminate ‘needle drop’ exponent Thomas Hartlage of SHADOKS™ was contracted to place his own virgin pressing of the original 1986 pressing onto his unspeakably expensive transcription system, the result being a beautifully crafted replica with all aspects and nuances of the tricky trio’s debut vinyl of PQ (pre-quake) ChCh yesteryear. Not sufficiently content with this scintillating facsimile, the 24bit WAVs were broadbanded south to a dijkside upstairs warehouse near Amsterdam, where the legendary FIR International wove his mastering magic upon the 22 tracks, and soon after Mark at Prairie Cat Mastering in Illinois had manifested the four sides of the 88 minute set in shiny, shiny lacquer.

An announcement will be made shortly regarding worldwide availability of these waxy widgets. Keep watching here, and AXEMEN on Facebook.

Stop Press: In a generous 11th hour gesture, Shadoks & Fir International donated 60% of the mastering costs to the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal. In fact the whole exercise of re-releasing Three Virgins is all about the music, as the small 2nd edition pressing run will only produce 600 copies, and not return much of a profit to Siltbreeze’s hungry shareholders. The Axemen are very cognizant of this fact and super-appreciative of everyone’s efforts and generosity all round.