Hit The South!

The Fold AXEMEN May 2015 V2.0This May 2015 AXEMEN make an unseasonable sortie to the South Island  of Aotearoa-wiki to bring you the HIT THE SOUTH! mini-est of Mini-Tours, a flying, flashing, heat-seeking TWO-STOP WHISTLE TEST visit to their spiritual homelands; the icy oasis of DUNEDIN on Friday 22 and the quaint rubble garden city of CHRISTCHURCH on Saturday 23!

So what can Quakin’ Oat-Eaters expect of the lads this time around? You’ll be GLAD YOU ASKED!

AxemenDunedin15lorweresDUNEDIN – The evening of MAY 22 kicks off at the CROWN HOTEL with the cosmically hypnotic COMET WATCH at 9PM SHARP (RNR Standard Time) so don’t be late – they only come round once every 76 years!

10PM brings The AXEMEN in their current formation of McCabe, Kawowski, Stojanovic and Daymond.
The AXEMEN intend to play hits old and new, including tracks from their 2014 album ‘SAC TAP NUT JAM’, some old favourites, some as yet unrecorded tracks, maybe even a cover or two… so MEET THE GANG cos the BOYS ARE HERE!
Opposite Sex Facebook bandcamp

Rounding off the evening at the witching hour of 11PM are those erstwhile saints of swing OPPOSITE SEX…
Opposite Sex Facebook bandcamp

11117351_10152589724106486_725170440_nSo what about CHRISTCHURCH? What have the lads most likely to got lined up for the city that rocks? Well you may ask! Thanks to the CHRISTCHURCH ART GALLERY the most Northerly Southern show at the DARKROOM is going to be absolutely FREE for Starters, that’s what!

Add into the mix DARK MATTER with their rambunctious melodic stylings and the ever-eclectic JOE SAMPSON and we’re starting to have a show on our hands! And there’ll be plenty of RARE MERCHANDISE to lay your hands on so make sure you come early – its THAT RARE and VOLATILE it has a half-life of just THREE HOURS so get your skinny asses down there!

The AXEMEN wish to thank our kind and generous SPONSORS for this tour:

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Steve McCabe of The Axemen, Part Two – by Ryan Leach – SpaceCase, Boredout

Steve McCabe of The Axemen, Part Two

Reprinted from: http://boredout305.tumblr.com/post/56105133631/steve-mccabe-of-the-axemen-part-two
Part two of Ryan Leach’s Steve McCabe interview.
Photos courtesy of Stu Kawowski.

AXEMEN: Steve, Stu, Bob recording at Peterborough 1984-85 ©STU

Ryan: The Axemen’s membership was always fluctuating.

Steve: We had a good range of Christchurch and Dunedin musicians in the band. If you’ve seen our Wikipedia page, you can see all the people who’ve been in or performed with the band.

Ryan: On Three Virgins there’s a recording of you talking with an American about Beverly Hills and Mardi Gras. Do you recall who you were talking with?

Steve: No. I don’t remember.

(Stu: That’s actually me talking to a Taxi driver in LA and recording it on my Sony walkman, 1982.)

Ryan: There’s also another conversation on Derry Legend (1987) where you’re being interviewed but replying with unrelated answers—about how the New Zealand dollar is weak. It’s pretty funny.

Steve: We had a lot of abstract ideas. It had to do with stream-of-consciousness. Three Virgins is a good example of that mindset. Everything just sort of flowed out without any hesitation.

Ryan: What kind of reaction did The Axemen get from people in the middle ’80s? I imagine your sound was a hard sell to some people.

Steve: The variety of genres was probably a good thing. We had a lot of jokes in our songs. If people could understand the lyrics and pickup on the jokes, I reckon that was a good thing as well; people like jokes. We didn’t take ourselves too seriously.

Ryan: The Axemen recorded just about everything they did.

Steve: Yeah. I still have all of the cassettes. There are about three hundred of them.

Ryan: Unbelievable! Are these tapes mostly of live shows or home recordings?

Steve: A bit of both. I always preferred recording to playing live. I got a four-track recorder in 1986. We did a lot of recordings on that. We used to record our practices and do overdubs on them later. We released a lot of cassette tapes that didn’t show up on Flying Nun. They’re not available at the moment. We used to screen print covers for them.

Ryan: What was The Axemen’s relationship with Flying Nun like? I imagine the financial loss of Three Virgins might have caused a bit of strain.

Steve: Flying Nun did eventually sell all of the pressings of Three Virgins and Derry Legend. It did take them a while to sell them though. Tom Lax just rereleased Three Virgins on Siltbreeze. He was pleased with it and did two more of our records. I don’t know if Flying Nun lost interest or what but there was a demand for those albums.

Ryan: They haven’t done a great job rereleasing their back catalog. If you want a vinyl pressing of (The Clean’s) Boodle, Boodle, Boodle you’d better have ninety bucks on hand.

Steve: They haven’t. I’ve seen original copies of Three Virgins go for good money too.

Ryan: Derry Legend hasn’t been rereleased yet. That record goes for fifty bucks.

Steve: Yeah. Derry Legend is being rereleased soon. Dustin Travis White, who did live sound for us on The Axemen and Times New Viking tour, is going to rerelease it on his new label, Luxury Products. Stu remastered it all on analog for the reissue. It’ll come out after Sac Tap Nut Jam. Sac Tap Nut Jam is completely digital. Hearing those two records back to back will be interesting.

Ryan: You released your solo LP Sweat It Out (1986) around the time of Derry Legend.

Steve: I released a whole lot of solo cassette stuff too. The EMI record pressing plant in New Zealand closed down around that time. It was the only plant in New Zealand. I did release one single after Sweat It Out. Then I did about four or five cassettes on Sleek Bott.

Ryan: Did it become cost prohibitive to release records after the New Zealand EMI plant closed down?

Steve: It did. New Zealand record companies would go through Mushroom (large Australian independent label). It became more difficult for them to press up records. For individuals it really became too difficult.

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Ryan: One of my favorite Axemen records is Scary Part III which Tom (Lax) at Siltbreeze reissued recently. Did Flying Nun not want to take you up on that record when you originally recorded it?

Steve: I think it had to do with Flying Nun being sold to Mushroom. It messed up our relationship with the label. Mushroom was more interested in getting Flying Nun’s back catalog than releasing new stuff.

Ryan: That’s right. With some exceptions—like King Loser—quality control at Flying Nun started going downhill after they partnered with Mushroom.

Steve: Yeah. Things started getting a bit poppy.

Ryan: Scary is the record where The Axemen got really into sampling.

Steve: That’s true. Although there’s a tiny bit on Derry Legend. Stu and I had these SK-1 samplers. They’re a Casio sampler. It had a little microphone on it and you could create one-and-a-half second loops of samples.

Ryan: What motivated The Axemen to do an Elton John tribute record (1992’s Three Rooms)?

Steve: It seemed like a good idea at the time. There’s a good range of songs in Elton John’s catalog. Good chords and things.

Ryan: The Axemen sort of wound down after the Elton John record, correct?

Steve: No. Stu and Bob moved to Auckland in about ‘87. I was playing in Christchurch from 1987 to 1990. Bob had formed the band Shaft. My wife and I got married in Las Vegas in 1990. We toured around America for our honeymoon. When we came back to New Zealand we moved to Auckland in 1992. Bob, Stu and I were all in the same town again so we did those two records on Sleek Bott—Recliner Rocker and Dirty Den Sessions. After that we didn’t do anything together for a while. Bob was busy with Shaft and I started a screen printing business with my wife. I started a band called CFCs in 1995. We played with Shaft for a little while. I released a solo CD called Generations (1998).

Ryan: Generations is great.

Steve: I like it too. I can’t get any copies of it. The guy who released it has heaps of them—about four hundred of the five hundred pressed. They’re sitting in his garage somewhere. I try to get them off of him. He keeps saying he’ll get them for me but it never happens. It’s really annoying. People are interested in it.

Ryan: A number of your songs have a lounge feel to them—going back to “Effectively My Baby” on Three Virgins. That aspect of your songwriting comes to the forefront on Generations.

Steve: Yeah. It was great being able to do those arrangements on the computer—get the big orchestration. I always wanted to do what Frank Sinatra and Nelson Riddle did with big orchestras. I was really pleased with it.

Ryan: Over the last four years there has been a resurgence with The Axemen. Obviously that has a lot to do with Tom Lax reissuing a number of your records on Siltbreeze. How did you guys come in contact with Tom?

Steve: When I moved up to Auckland, Tom sought me out. He bought everything I had—all the old Sleek Bott cassettes. That was in about 1992. I didn’t hear from Tom for quite a while after that. E-mail wasn’t around. Tom did a couple of reviews of our albums. Later on he bought the remaining copies I had of Sweat It Out. He sold all of those. That was more recently. The Axemen had been on hiatus for a while. When Tom decided to rerelease Cheap Motel, Three Virgins and Scary, we talked with him about doing a US tour. He lined us up with Times New Viking; we did the US tour with them in 2009. Tom came to quite a few of the gigs. Tom apparently was always playing Three Virgins to people, long before he reissued it. They’d ask him if it was available; eventually he decided to put it out.

Ryan: You did a tour of Australia a couple of years later. You hooked up with Brendon Annesley and did a great single with Negative Guest List.

Steve: That was cool. Brendon died shortly after that. He was a talented guy. A good writer.

Ryan: Bob Brannigan is no longer in the band.

Steve: On the last tour he was partying too much. It sort of got on my nerves. We had a bit of fight and he decided he didn’t want to play with us anymore.

Ryan: You’ve got the young gun in the band now.

Steve: Who?

Ryan: William Daymond. He’s younger than me.

Steve: Oh, yeah. He’s not a replacement for Bob or anything. William is a songwriter—although we haven’t written any songs with him yet—but it’s good having someone else in the band who can contribute songs. He seems to be fitting in well.

Ryan: We (Spacecase Records) wrote you about doing a single. But you had so many good tracks we asked you for a record instead (Sac Tap Nut Jam).

Steve: Yeah. We were keen on the single but doing a full length was so much nicer. I just bought a sixteen-track digital recorder. It’s about the size of a laptop. Dragan has a whole lot of mics. When you came up with your offer we all decided to go down to Wellington; Dragan has a practice space there with a lot of nice mics and William lives there too. We decided to record a number of songs and pick the best two for a single. We ended up with so many extra tracks doing an album came naturally. I was really pleased with the results. I really like the sixteen track recorder.

Ryan: I was surprised by how high the fidelity is.

Steve: Dragan is a really good audio guy.

Ryan: Is this the first vinyl record you’ve released of new material since Derry Legend?

Steve: Yeah. Not counting the reissues.

Ryan: Is there any chance Sweat It Out is going to be reissued?

Steve: There’s a possibility but not on LP. It might be reissued through Dusty who’s doing the Derry Legend reissue.

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Wellington Recording Diary – Day 1 [25 Feb 2013]

Axemen Recording Party, 27 Feb 2013, Mighty Mighty, Wellington
Axemen Recording Party, 27 Feb 2013, Mighty Mighty, Wellington

Day 1 recording at the Taita lockup went handsomely, boding well for the forthcoming Spacecase Records single .

Axemen Feb 2013, at the Taita Lockup, Upper Hutt. Photo S. Kawowski
Axemen Feb 2013, at the Taita Lockup, Upper Hutt. Photo S. Kawowski

The group, together again for the first time in a while in Wellington learned and laid down 5 soundbed tracks as single candidates in record time, as per usual. This being Day 1 of a 3 day session after which the  selection will commence, a process as arduous and gruelling as any Papal selection ritual.

Once the tracks have been selected work will start on overdubbing and production, a painstaking and often grisly set of steps involving adding, cutting, refining and polishing reminiscent of the inner workings of a diamond factory.

Looking forward to Day 2 and subsequent sessions – No serious bloodshed to report as yet.

EQUIPMENT:

Steve: Fender Telecaster thru NZ made Hotcake distortion pedal and Marshal JCM 800
Dragan: Gibson Les Paul Junior, Gibson Les Paul through Jet City head thru Laney 4×12 cabinet

William: Fender Precision Bass thru Rockit 120 and Crate 15″ cabinet

Stu:

Paiste Hi-hats

5 x Zyldjian cymbals

Ludwig snare

Pearl kick

Pearl / Maxtone Toms with Remo pinstripe skins

MICS:

Behringer C1 condensor mic (overhead drums)

Rode NT 2000 (overhead drums)

2x Shure SM58

Peavey Instrument mic

various other instrument mics

RECORDER:

Zoom R16

TRACK LISTING:

A view to die for (McCabe)

Caught you fighting (Stojanovic)

Google That Girl (McCabe)

High Horse (Stojanovic/McCabe)

Kookaburra (Stojanovic/McCabe)

LOCATION:

The Dragan’s Lair, Taita, Upper Hutt, Wellington, NZ

THANKS TO:

Spacecase Records

Mighty Mighty

Phantom Billstickers

Theaxemen.org

——————–

And, if you’re in Wellington this week, be part of NZ Music History and come along to the Mighty Mighty Recording Axemen Party on Wednesday 27 Feb – It’s free and it will be recorded!

Spacecase to release next Axemen 12″ – Recording Party at Mighty Mighty

spacecase
Spacecase Records – Kiwi music pushers
Axemen Recording Party, 27 Feb 2013, Mighty Mighty, Wellington
Axemen Recording Party, 27 Feb 2013, Mighty Mighty, Wellington

US label Spacecase Records is proud to announce they will be releasing the next Axemen 12″ LP – just as soon as it is recorded! Axemen spokesperson Stevie McCabe, speaking from his beach retreat at Te Puru, Coromandel Peninsula, stated: “Me and the lads are over the moon about the Spacecase deal – we can’t wait to record the new material in Wellington later this month!”

The single will feature new material and the 12″ track-list will be finalised after the recording sessions later on this month (February).

“We’ll be recording in the studio and at a special free live recording party at the Mighty Mighty on Wednesday 27th Feb – we’ll use the best of the best of the recordings and we hope to do some writing as well – all in all its going to be super-intense” enthused McCabe.

newafterThe recordings and gig will feature the same Axemen line-up which toured Australia in December 2011 – Steve McCabe, Dragan Stojanovic, Stu Kawowski and William Daymond.

Axemen US Tour Nov 2009 – some posters, links etc.

http://www.last.fm/music/The+Axemen

Sonar, Baltimore
Sonar, Baltimore

Jared workin on covers
Jared workin on covers, Philadelphia

Florence, Alabama
Florence, Alabama

Black Owl Trading Company, Florence, Alabama
Black Owl Trading Company, Florence, Alabama

Michael J Fox - Sincerely Yours

Maxwells, Hoboken, New Jersey
Maxwells, Hoboken, New Jersey

Times New Viking (sans Beth), Maxwells, Hoboken NJ
Maxwells, Hoboken NJ

Steve tops up his Nutsack at Maxwells

Great Scott, Boston
Great Scott, Boston

Great Scott

The Lounge on Elm Street, Dallas, Texas

thats Texas, boy
thats Texas, boy

123 Pleaseant Street, Morgantown, West Virginia
123 Pleasant Street, Morgantown, West Virginia

Sickie Stojanovic, 123 Pleasant Street, Morgantown, West Virginia
Sickie Stojanovic, Takin Care of Business, 123 Pleasant Street, Morgantown, West Virginia

Fun Fun Fun Fest, Austin, Texas
Fun Fun Fun Fest, Austin, Texas

Steve McCabe with Shonen Knife, Fun Fun Fun Fest
Steve McCabe shows Shonen Knife his front bum, Fun Fun Fun Fest, Austin, TX

The Crepe Place, Santa Cruz
The Crepe Place, Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz

Star Bar, Atlanta, Georgia

DSCF9376
Star Bar, Atlanta, Georgia
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KXLU Recording for radio - UCLA at Irvine, California
KXLU Recording for radio - UCLA at Irvine, California

BadAss Supergroup
BadAss Supergroup
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