About the album

EastI started this album writing 6 new songs and revamping 6 older songs that had never been released. Lyrically I was trying to explore my time in Hawkes bay and what it meant to move from a big city like Auckland to a smaller provincial town like Napier. Rhythmically and melodically I wanted to strip a lot of the songs down to voice and guitar with minimal overdubs.

The new songs have a DIY approach to them as I kept the original take or jam of the song as much as possible. That includes dodgy guitar and drum loops etc. Please forgive me but that was part of the ‘ala prim’a approach. It is pretty much born to be mild and a wee bit melancholy. But that is my groove at this time in life

Barry Holt added guitar to about 8 of the songs. He pretty much got the songs vibe on the first take which is remarkable. Barry  is one of the best guitarists I have worked with in the studio and would love to again. Incidentally most of my mates have been gat players save Robby, DBG and Ant.

I wanted the production on the new songs to be just Acoustic Guitars, Bass, a little Strings and a little Percussion. I can’t help it that I am more singer than songwriter so I like melodies that have a little more space. Drums tend to rope that in a bit.

When I come up with new songs it is usually a one line lyric with a strong vocal melody attached. On this album I tried new things like writing words around a theme ( Taradale Nights) or jamming riffs and vocal melodies together (East). Sometimes lyrics just spit out in half an hour. Other times I write pages and pages around the theme.

 

Hiding Place.

This was written after the Napier siege where a lot of people had to hide in their houses for two days. That included my Guitarist Barry Holts family. That is dealt directly in verse 3. The first part of the song is again about Napier life. I love the new Americana sound with guys like Josh Rouse and Ryan Adams. I tried to model that style on Hiding place.

” these days I feel I cant control the world
it costs a lot, it costs desire
so once again I drive down Dickens and Emerson Streets

We’re on displaced horizons
where they terrorize the drive ins
makes you want to get a house on the hill

Must find that special someone
who reads the news and tells it like it is
but she said it was just the Taradale kids

We’re on displaced horizons
where they terrorise the drive ins
you could hear the shots ring out
from my Hiding Place

They’re cramming people up on the hill
on that night everybody stood still
Waiting for the siren to sound
as hearts they pound
as we take back what we owned
a body was found
all alone

We’re on displaced horizons
where they terrorise the drive ins
makes you want to get a house
a Hiding Place”

 

Jesus on the Radio

I grew up in a Christian family and although I have my ups and downs at times I am a believer in God and Christ and don’t deny it. This is a song about Jesus from a worldly point of view.In human terms Jesus was a good bloke and so to see his name used as a swear word only goes to prove the existence of the devil.It features the duelling Patio Doors. Barry on Gat and me on squealing Harmonica. Chorus line has my kids, Katie and my mate Robby.

“He was the Man from Galilee he came to save the world
He said he was the son of God and spoke Gods mighty word
Jesus lit a fire in everyone he met. you just got to call his name
it’s one you won’t forget

I was travelling down these radio waves
tuning into this holy frequency

Jesus on the Radio

I was feeling lonely I was feeling pretty blue
I was in a soulless place there was nothing I could do

I was travelling down these radio waves
listening to Jesus on the Radio

Jesus on the Radio

Jesus was a good man he wouldn’t hurt a fly
but they dragged him down and beat him up and sentenced him to dy
They gave him a crown of thorns and nailed him to a tree
three days later he rose to Eternity

I was travelling down the motorway of this city
Listening to Jesus on the Radio

Turn it up tune him in
Jesus on the Radio”

 

East

East is a rather bleak view of Napier about my boredom living in the countryside, old age, track pants in the pak n save carpark etc. I was thinking of Uncle Lou (Reed) with the riff. Nice gat solo from Barry.

“Laying low in the Valley where the west wind blows
just watchin the telly. waiting for some new show
meanwhile the city grows old

East is where I came to
East won’t let me go

Ghetto blasters. colonial masters
river silt and pakeha guilt
You know it costs a fortune to live in this place
some guy yells at me as he parks in the handicapped space

East is where I came to
East won’t let me go
East stops at the edge of this town

I’m blowing it with my girl
we’re heading for another world
of traffic lights and city lights
no more peace and quiet
not East”

 

I wanted it all

This is one of my throw away tunes that people seem to like. The lyrics are based purely on how they sound melodically and if they fit into my vocal phrasing. I was channellng Coldplay at the time.

(change going on)
“Days they were strange and I was restless
I turned around to the crowd tell me what you see
I had a longing for another story
the one about the boy who reached up to the stars
Then I got a little crazy. I got a bit excited.

I wanted it all. Had my back against the wall
and I never listened when you talked to me
now I’m gonna get down
on my knees

I shouldn’t be alive. for all those things I tried
and all those people who cried. My hat goes off to you.
couldn’t see the good things that were all around me
I was always out looking for a better way, better way
I got a little crazy. I got a bit excited.

I wanted it all. Had my back against the wall
and I never listened when you talked to me
now I’m gonna get down on my knees

I need  redemption. if that is your intention
cos I can’t fix all these broken things around me
I got a little crazy. I got a bit excited.

I wanted it all. Had my back against the wall
and I never listened when you talked to me
now I’m gonna get down on my knees”

 

Beautiful Name

This is a song I wrote for my older daughter Jessika revamped as as boy/ girl love song but at its heart is Jess. I was modelling this on Joe Cockers ‘You are so beautiful’.Nice riffs from Brian Stevens and Barry. Introducing Johnny on Drums and Pete on Bass.

My friend Sharon plays my daughter in the video, the boy is Darcy and I play the Narrator. For my directorial debut I chose the theme of photographs appearing sporadically alongside the film.

“I thought I saw you yesterday
you looked just like you’d never been away
you and me are everything. you make me feel alright
I won’t go I’ll never leave until you realise

You got a beautiful name. and a beautiful heart wo-oh
you’re a beautiful woman, you got a beautiful name

We ride our bikes out in the rain
and the people say that we do goofy things
you and me are everything. you are my hearts desire
I won’t go I’ll never leave until you realise

You got a beautiful name. and a beautiful heart wo-oo
you’re a beautiful woman and you got a beautiful name

Thought I saw you just last night
I wore black but you saw white

You got a beautiful name don’t cha. and a beautiful heart wo-oo
you’re a beautiful woman and you got a beautiful name”

 

Stephen is about the first martyr of the New Christian Church. He was killed about 20 AD for the crime of speaking the truth in front of the high priests. Just Johnny, Pete and me with a bit of crazy farfisa organ in the choruses.

” Black robes and high hats. Murderers.
and Saul stood among the crowd that hated you
you silenced them and spoke gods word
and told them of a truth they could not understand

Stephen though those rocks rained down
upon your head your soul will be found
Stephen though those rocks rained down
Wo oh oh

No dirty prison walls could hold you
no act of hate could stop this truth so beautiful
they took you out and chained you up
the first of many to fall
you died so love would rule the world

Stephen though those rocks rained down
upon your head your soul will be found
Stephen though those rocks rained down
Wo oh oh

A dying spark that grew into a flame
and swept the world and they will not forget your name

Stephen though those rocks rained down
upon your head your soul will be found
Stephen though those rocks rained down
Wo oh oh”

 

Can’t stop the Water

This tune was written after the Indonesian Tsunami and the video is shot using imagery from the recent Japanese Tsunami. It is basically about getting your life in order before you meet your maker. Rich or poor the people on the beach that day couldn’t stop what happened next. It features the Eelmusic band in good form Brian, Johnny, Pete and Me.

” Tried to get higher. tried to get beside you
tried to find that feeling that we had
tried to stop desire. tried to be so lilywhite.
tried to take that knife from your hand

But you can’t stop the water
can’t stop the water
rushing all around you
glad that I have found you

Tried to be invisible
drifting in and out of these schools
everybody’s got this song in their heads
tried to stay awake at night
I tried to do the thing that’s right
stop these tears, they’re falling from my face

But you can’t stop the water
can’t stop the water
rushing all around you
glad that I have found you

Looking for the love in your life
someone who will light up your life
sometimes a stranger, sometimes they’re a friend
stopped at this oasis of love, I was looking for the lord above
I left this movie and walked into the son

But you can’t stop the water
can’t stop the water
rushing all around you
glad that I have found you

But you can’t stop the water
can’t stop the water
rushing all around you
glad that I have found you
turning lives around me
save me I’m drowning”

 

Water

Water is about the positive side of living next to the Ocean and its spiritual power. I have recorded this older song a few different ways but this is my favourite. Live at a practice at Wallath Rd Onehunga Auckland with a few friends. The great Phil Pritchard on guitar (one of NZs best), Johnny on the sticks and Mike Hall on Bass. Katie adds her hypnotic vocal like an instrument.

“Look beyond the streets of gold
as rain breaks over the harbour mouth
the concrete and steel
looms high over natures domain
the mountains are breathing again

And I dive into the water
and I feel the infinite sea

I float in my solidarity
up to my neck at Shipwreck bay
and the waves they rise and fall
feel the spirits rise around me
and the waves they rise and fall
and the waves they rise and fall

and I dive into the water
and  I feel the infinite sea

My heart fills like the ocean
as the blue turns to grey
I take another breath
through  breaking crystal walls
I have seen and I believe
and the waves they rise and fall

 

House on the Hill

This song is about desire and how you think things make you happy and then once you have them you want something new. In this case a House on the hill. The hill in Napier is also where the siege took place and where those brave coppers risked their lives that day. This is explored in verse 3. With the guitar and strings I tried to emulate the lovely sound of Louis Armstrongs James Bond song. Barrys guitar again perfect for the song.

“There’s a house on the hill
it’s where I’m living still
there’s a house on the hill
Yer I got time for giving

It’s been so long  I feel so out of place
It’s been so long  will I get out of here

there’s a house on the hill
I wanted it so badly
there’s a house on the hill
I know it’ll make me happy

It’s been so long I feel so out of place
It’s been so long will I get out of here

There’s a house on the hill
not worth the lives it’s taken
there’s a house on the hill
it’s memories forsaken

It’s been so long I feel so out of place
It’s been so long will I get out of here

 

Taradale Nights

Taradale is a bit of a sleepy hollow so this was taking the mickey. But it is also about more pressing considerations.Go figure. It is my country song for the album and again some good barry bits.

“Look at the stars as they fall on this pitch black night
beautiful hawkes bay bathed in the evening light
little bored as I drove down Meanee road
was there I saw a sign telling me the way to go
wondering what it’s like to feel this good on

Those Taradale nights
where the lowliest aspire
those taradale nights
where it set my soul on fire
those taradale nights
where I found my one desire

I was down on the town with the streets clown blues
I planned to sail away and get away from all of this bro
but opposites attract
you handed me a tract to your heart

Those Taradale nights
where the lowliest aspire
those taradale nights
where it set my soul on fire
those taradale nights
where I found my one desire

Kirsten Love what you want with a guy like me
I was  standing there I could feel you stare right through me
cruising down the street looking for a place to meet on

Those Taradale nights
where the lowliest aspire
taradale nights
where it set my soul on fire
those taradale nights
where I found my one desire

 

Dirty Coat

I wrote this song yonks ago and have recorded different band versions but this is my stripped down acoustic version. It’s about trying to fit in and dirty coat is a metaphor for all your secrets, lies and  sometimes your shame. It is also about second chances and meeting Kathleen was definitely my second and last chance. Dedicated to Kathleen.

“I was looking for a new love
I turned and I found you love
you saved my life today
the kind things that you spoke to me
told me I was someone good
slightly torn, misunderstood

In my dirty coat with my greasy hair
living with these broken hearts
with my dirty coat and my funny leg
but I don’t mind

The people pass me by love
but they don’t say hello
cos they don’t me
so take me as I am
I find it very hard to change
won’t you stop to check my pulse
you might find somebody else

In my dirty coat with my greasy hair
living with these broken hearts
with my dirty coat and my funny leg
but I don’t mind

Like two kids in a car
not going too far, let’s take a ride
wishing wells were mean’t for fairytales
but it takes just a little bit longer

In my dirty coat with my greasy hair
living with these broken hearts
with my dirty coat and my funny leg
but I don’t mind
with my dirty coat”

 

I wanted you

I wanted you is another older song which had band versions. I stripped one such version back to just guitar, voice and BV. It works brian.

“I under estimated you
all the things in life that you do
no don’t walk away
hear the words that I say
I need your love
yer I need your love because

I wanted you
to take me away from this loneliest of nights
I wanted you
but do you want me to

Your perfume filled the air
and you danced all around the room
remember our first kiss
went something like this

I wanted you
to take me away from this loneliest of nights
I wanted you
but do you want me to

I under estimated you
all the things in life that you do
no don’t walk away
hear the words that I say
I need your love
yer I need your love because

I wanted you
to take me away from this loneliest of nights
I wanted you
but do you want me to

I want the same things in life that you do
I want to know that you’re waiting for me
I want the same things in life that you do
I want to know that you’re waiting for me
know that you’re waiting for me”