While first waiting for restrictions to allow it, then bouncing back from an injury with my hands / arms, in February 2021, I played my first live anything since October 19 at The Sloth Bar in Footscray, quickly followed by a set at Wheelers Food Trucks and Bar in Werribee, both of which I’m appearing at again this week. To say it felt amazing to be back in a bar, drinking a beer, and listening to (and playing) live tunes, is a huge understatement.
Next week we have a Cunning Stunts double header in Hobart, which also includes an acoustic set from me to open the first show. Tickets still available for the first show, but the second show is sold out. Info below.
(Thanks as always to Dan Verkys for coming up with the awesome alternate poster for the first show that includes me on the billing!)
The new album is out October 29, but you can check the video out for audio previews. Self recorded over the last couple of years, and was mixed by Dennis Leeflang, mastered by Thomas “Plec” Johannson, and artwork by Dan Verkys.
The second single from the forthcoming album “Live To Fight Another Day” (due later in 2020), a fun look at rock n roll being a lifestyle, dedicated to ultimate rocker, Mr Jim Gillbanks, who has been showing them how it’s done since 1936!! CHEERS TO YOU MATE!!
This was a song Chris had sitting around not being used anywhere, and once he and Richard started collaborating on the lyrics, all these gags and references to artists we love started making their way into the song – it very quickly turned into a classic Feckers song, and one that we knew very quickly would be a single.
Raphael Gazal – Lead Vocals Reese Morin – Bass Pat Valley – Lead Guitar (0.02 – 0.15, 2.56 – 3.38) Dennis Leeflang – Drums and Mix Chris Szkup – Guitars and Backing Vocals Richard Anderson – Backing Vocals
Written by Chris Szkup and Richard Anderson. Mixed by Dennis Leeflang @ Livelong Productions, Mastered by Thomas “Plec” Johannson @ The Panic Room, Artwork by Dan Verkys.
Thanks to everyone for appearing in the video and making it even more fun for us to do. Cameos: 0.37 – Yohei Eto (Japan), 1.45 – Dan Verkys (Australia), 2.28 – Ponch Satrio (Indonesia), 2.34 – Chris Hickling (UK), 3.05 – Gorilla Elvis (New Zealand), 3.10 – Rob Smith (New Zealand), 3.20 – Anne Milne and Spider Anderson (New Zealand), 3.46 – Mathew Szkup and Jake Long (Australia), 5.08 – Jim Gillbanks (UK).
“Cheers Jimbo” cameo’s (in order of appearance): Chris Hickling (UK), Paula Gonzalez (USA), Dave Mather (New Zealand), Shannon Gillbanks (UK), Johnno “King AWOL” Troulis (USA), Jordy Gibson (New Zealand), Paul Taylor (UK), Aaron Edwards (Australia), Ponch “Bugger” Satrio (Indonesia), Raewyn Anderson (New Zealand), Richard Anderson (New Zealand), Chris Szkup (Australia).
I proudly own Ponch Satrio’s two previous albums “Get The Vision” (2010) and “Guitarville” (2011) and am a huge fan, but having been lucky enough to work with the man himself over the years, and also having met in Jakarta in 2017, I had occasionally heard bits and pieces of his music that were more vocal oriented (including the 2018 single release “Forever” which also appears here) than those albums, and really liked what I heard and hoped for more. And make no mistake, this isn’t to take anything away from those albums – they are incredible, and as a guitarist Ponch Satrio is one of the modern day greats, but as mentioned, I always hoped to hear more stuff with him lead singing on his music as well. So when I got the news that the new album “Start Again” (released May 2019 on Zoester Records) was going to be a vocal album, that certainly made me very happy.
Pleasingly, he handles this situation extremely well, providing great memorable lead and backing vocals for all 10 songs on the album, as well as playing all of the instruments aside from drums, which are played by Kevin Dwi. The production is crisp and modern but definitely still very real with a rawness to it, self tracked at his own Watermelon Productions, with Angga Irwan handling mixing and mastering.
It could be said that the album shows another side to what we know of Ponch’s music, but it is another side that is completely a part of his overall picture, and feels just as natural as his instrumental guitar work from previous albums. The album is just full of great hooks and melodies, and is very well composed with the song overruling everything else.
The guitar playing while very “hooky” also still has a good amount of heaviness and cool riffs (the intro to “Wicked World” for example) to go along with the great textures and layering in the parts. It also should be noted that while there is some ripping guitar playing (especially the solos of “Tell Me When It’s Over,” “Emptiness” or “Wicked World”) it absolutely never outstays it’s welcome. When you have chops for days and know so many amazing licks that you run your own Guitar Dojo (true story! – Ponch really does run his own school in Jakarta, Guitar Dojo), and I suppose even if you don’t have chops for days, or run your own Guitar Dojo, the secret is knowing when to use those licks, or more importantly knowing when NOT to use those licks. To quote a former teacher of mine and great man, “it’s like sprinkling salt” – too much of it and the whole thing is ruined and there is no going back. None of the songs on “Start Again” have had too much salt added to them. Fans of The Foo Fighters and most definitely the “Normal” album by the great Bumblefoot will definitely find a lot to like about these tunes, as well as rock fans and music lovers in general. Listening to the songs I can feel the soul of the lovely guy who created them, and that is what it’s all about.
Favourite songs – ALL OF THEM!! Perhaps a special mention to “Wicked World” for the heavy intro and ripping solo, but honestly all of these songs are extremely well written and performed, and I feel they are best consumed as part of the overall picture. We may be able to purchase songs as singles very easily nowadays compared to the past, but let’s get back to listening to full albums. Like this one! Crank it!
There is a pretty cool event happening this Sunday (which just happens to be my 63rd birthday as well) at Whole Lotta Love, which I hope if you’re in Melbourne you’ll consider coming to!! This will be my first time playing a full set at that cool venue, so to say I’m looking forward to it is an understatement.
Since I always kinda go my own way with things too, I promise that if you live somewhere else aside from Melbourne I won’t even spam you with an invite to the event – afterall what would be the point of that?
Haha cheers guys and I hope to see you on Sunday!! 🙂
Been a big couple of months, I figure I will just do a summary of everything here since I didn’t manage to keep up with adding everything along the way!! Hope everyone is well!!
TUNES AND PARMAS WITH FRIENDS:
Early March I was at the Royal Oak Hotel in Fitzroy for the first time, and in the crowd were a few of my good friends from New Zealand!! We closed my acoustic set there with “Slackers and Wankers” and they didn’t throw us out, so that was good!! 😀
Will be back there on May the 8th @ 8.30pm!!
THE ART MASTER BRANCHES OUT:
Next up my mate Dan Verkys who has handled artwork for myself and The Feckers for 10 years and going strong, came to me with the idea of having more articles on his website to go with the amazing artwork that has always been there. He was kind enough to have me as one of the first things he did with the new format of his website. When that guy comes calling, I am THERE – I don’t mind what it is. Thanks so much mate!!!
JAMMING WITH A LEGEND:
Early April, my brother Skube had tagged me in something about local guitar legend Phil Para inviting people to come and jam with him at his gigs. Skube and I have sunk quite a few pints in the crowd at Phil’s gigs before, and I always remembered (despite the pints) how amazing he was – I HAD to do this!!
What a great bunch of guys he and his band are, and the staff at The Fyrefly where the event was held were also very lovely. An amazing night!!
LIVE AT SWAMPLANDS:
Late April I did a solo gig at Swamplands Bar in Thornbury, as part of a night that Dylan Beast runs there every week. Dylan and I used to play in an acoustic duo a year and a half ago, so it was a great excuse to catch up and play some tunes as well. We played solo sets and guested on a song for each other too. Amazing fun!!
THE FECKERS AND WHAT’S NEXT:
The next album from The Feckers is well underway and has actually begun the mixing process with Dennis Leeflang of Livelong Productions handling that stuff. The third song to be mixed is currently underway in his very good and capable hands and it is sounding KILLER.
This coming week I have the live set at The Royal Oak @ 8.30 as mentioned (May 08), as well as a two hour slot on Casey Radio as part of the Casey Beat program (May 11) where we’ll be talking and playing some songs live and studio. Should be great fun.
Full length video for the song “Following” that I wrote in 2003, when I knew that I had to leave my home town and move away to keep growing. At the time I played in the metal band Jigsore, but was also getting into more melodic things like this and it was coming out in my writing. Wanted to keep both things going, but I guess it wasn’t meant to be.
Had been pondering whether I should wait til I have the money to give it the full production, or just release it quick, as is. Turns out with the loss of my old mate Keds recently that my soul really needed some healing, so I finished it up on boxing day. Here it is, warts and all. Music purely for the soul.
All vox, guitars, bass, percussion, mixing, mastering and video editing by me, artwork by Dan Verkys. Hope you dig! 😀
FULL LENGTH VIDEO:
Dreams to follow, yet so bogged down
Nothing more for me in this town
Lands far away, they’re calling me
What they propose, I’d like to see
What exists now, will always be
Around as far as I can see
I will not change, what makes me me
Be back some day you will see
Want to acheive, in myself I believe
Don’t be sorry but, happy when I leave
Following that I dream
Much closer than it seems
Something I, I need to do
How can you know if ya don’t pursue?
And it may prosper, and it may sour
If my way’s had I’ll progress in the hour
I need respect, for what I’ll do
I’d have no problem if I was you
We’ll carry on, do what we do
All the things that get us through
Following that I dream
Much closer than it seems
Still a part of the team
The last of me not yet seen
A cover of the great David Bowie song, written of course by him, originally appearing on the album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars from 1972.
This release is dedicated to Dan Verkys’ father, who is currently recovering from a stroke. It came about when Dan was starting to get the itch for a new exhibition of his amazing works, and mentioned the idea of having some music tied in with it, and this song quickly came up being a favourite of his. He mentioned that as great as the original version is, he could hear a heavier version of it in his head. No blast beats or death metal grunts, but just an overall bigger amount of “grunt”. Neither Chris nor Roy were familiar with the song unfortunately at that time, but definitely up for the challenge, and adding grunt is pretty much what they do in their “Dungeon Sessions” songs, so it was a goer!!
Vocals – Roy Bratbakken
Guitar, Bass, “Drums” – Chris Szkup
“Mixed” by Chris Szkup
“Mastered” by Roy Bratbakken
Artwork by Dan Verkys
Roys vocals recorded at The Dungeon, Skedsmokorset, Norway.
Chris’ guitars, bass and “drums” recorded at CS-Songs, Melbourne, Australia.
Grab it for free right now from The Bandcamp Store (or stream it below, but we reckon you should download it damn ya!!), and make sure if you’re in Victoria you get along to see Dan Verkys’ newest Exhibition “Archipelago”, launching at The Mad Gallery on Sunday June 10th. More info at his site, and the Facebook event is here.
We hope you enjoy listening as much as we did recording it!!
Cover version of the great Deep Purple mkiii song, written by Richie Blackmore and David Coverdale.
When looking for the next track for their “Dungeon Sessions”, Roy had mentioned that he always had wanted to attempt to sing the song, but he wasn’t sure if it could be done. Afterall, he’s singing the parts of both Coverdale AND Hughes – no easy task, but it sounded like a good reason to make this the next song in those sessions.
Chris liked the challenge of being able to build a track for him to attempt his vocals on, and got to work on things when this came up, while he was probably having some of the same thoughts Roy had along the lines of “holy shit, can I do this”? The results are obviously a new take on things that hopefully pay respects to the original as well. We’re certainly happy with it.
“Forgotten Ones” is a piece I had for years and years that never ended up on any album. I actually recorded an early version of this with Colin Mahoney in 1994 that was my first time ever in a studio come to think of it! As there is a bit of a gap in TCSO studio releases coming out right now I thought it might be a good time to put it out 100% on my own, right down to the playing of all the parts, “mixing”, “mastering” and video editing, and liked the idea of a full length accompanying video for it.
I started it on March 17, 2018 and intended it to be all done within a day. Sometimes you just aim a little bigger than is possible though haha. So while I did most of it on that day, there was also a small amount of work a week later, and the final touches being added today on April 1, 2018. My shirt changes in some of the clips will give you an idea as to what was tracked when. I did some mic’ed up electric guitars for the piece but for some reason the direct recorded ones sounded better on this. So that’s how I kept it.
All up, a very fun thing for me to do, and something I may do again at some point! I hope you enjoy!!