Thursday, December 2, 2010

[REQUEST] Moving Pictures - The Last Picture Show

Australian band Moving Pictures formed in 1978, and after much touring, in 1981 released the much lauded 'Days on Innocence' - their killer debut album. It and their mainstay single 'What About Me?' stormed up both the album and singles charts. Many singles were spawned from this album, indeed most tracks are well known to this day.

Matinee was the 1983 follow-up, which gave out a couple of lesser known but no less great songs. Curiously, this album has never been released on cd to this day - or even mp3 on blogspot for that matter!

In one last wonderful moment of excellence, in 1987, Moving Pictures toured Australia, and eventually released the fruits of this tour as 'The Last Picture Show'.

The tracks on this album were as follows -


A curious selection of tracks to be sure. What I'm asking for here is if anyone has this album, and if they'd be keen to share it here (or on their own blog). Drop me a comment, and I'll link accordingly. Desperate for both this album and Matinee.

Interesting band links follow -

Where are they now?
Wiki entry
Video - What About Me?
Video - Nothing to do (live)
Video - This must be love (live)
Video - Wings (live)
Video - Sisters of Mercy (live)
Video - What About Me? (countdown mime)

Monday, September 13, 2010

James Freud interview - Juke Magazine (1980)

James Freud - Breaks Silence on the Numan Case

Freud and Numan : Were they electric friends?

"Naturally, I was a bit disappointed, but a lot of it was my decision. If I'd come out with the album I did record, I think I would have killed everything. I would have just been a Gary Numan clone more or less... I would have been a Gary Numan clone of a Bowie clone!

James Freud is in good humour, despite having just experienced three months which began with a bang and fizzled out, like a damp skyrocket. The fuse was lit with great anticipation and excitement, rose feebly a couple of feet in the air then fell limply to the ground.

Far from being limp, James is still bubbling. He arrived back in Australia from England to find his single, "Modern Girl", sitting comfortably in the Top Ten and his debut album, Breaking Silence, receiving complimentary reviews.

He's now busy rehearsing with his band - at last reports called Berlin (ex-Teenage Radio Stars, ex-Ego, ex-Radio Stars) - in preparation for live work.

A new single is also being culled from the Breaking Silence album - "Enemy Lines".

The single recorded in Sydney with Gary Numan - titled "Automatic Crazy" - is being kept on ice for possible future use, probably on a follow-up LP.

But the question most asked of James since he stepped from the flight from London was: Why? Why did he walk away from a world tour with Gary Numan? What happened to the album that Numan produced? What went wrong?

"What happened was, the album we did with Gary ended up sounding too much like Gary Numan, so we've come back to re-do the album for a start. We're going to use about 50-percent of it.. We're going to add things on to it and record about five new tracks. We also had trouble getting a new record deal because everything was so rushed.. We had to get it together in time for the start of the tour and there just wasn't enough time".

"It just wasn't worthwhile doing the tour unless we had a good record to put out. The record companies were waiting to hear what we'd done with Gary and we really didn't want to play it to 'em".

"The tour would have cost money to do and without a record company behind us, we couldn't do it".

In fact it would have cost James around $25,000 to do the British leg of the Numan tour alone. God knows how much the other dates around the world would have cost.

It's an economic fact of life that supports acts have to pay - for accomodation, for transport, for equipment, etc.

"There were a lot of record companies really, really interested, but because there was such a rush to get it all together, all of a sudden they went cold, because the market over there, the whole business, is in a really depressing state".

"They're just putting off people left right and centre and they're being really careful.. they're pondering on everything and we had to get the deal together really quickly because we needed the money, and they were too scared.".

Has James learnt anything from the Numan Experience?

"Yeah, I think I've learnt a lot.. putting it into words is another thing. For a start, I've learnt to appreciate Australia!"

"But as for studio techniques, I don't think I've really learnt anything. I think we're quite advanced - I don't think the rest of the world has got that much on Australia as far as studios, equipment and recording techniques go".

James is less enthusiastic about Gary Numan's studio techniques. "I thought at first, before I went over, that Gary's sort of sounds, combined with mine, would be quite interesting. I thought it'd be an interesting combination."

"Instead, it turned out to be a dirgy combination - it just didn't do the business. I've got my own sound, and I understand my own music".

"At first I thought, oh yeah, it's a good opportunity, everything's gonna be great - but always, with things like that, you know if it's gonna work out or not. No matter what it seems like on the surface, you get a gut feeling".

"We couldn't really forsee it happening the way it did. But I've learnt a lot - I've learnt to understand myself a lot better".

James also came to understand Gary Numan a lot better. For about a month, he lived at the Numan family home - Gary still lives with his mother and father.

"I was living at his house for about a month and I got quite bored there because he never goes out anywhere, he doesn't take any drugs.. he doesn't drink or anything. So we were just sitting around the house, drinking cups of tea and recording all the time. He lives with his mum and dad. His mum hasn't been for a night out in something like 18 years and he's got an adopted brother."

"I became quite disillusioned with how that whole thing really is. I mean, you'd think in the position that he's in, that life is a lot different, but it isn't really. His own paranoia stop him from going out anywhere.. they might be real paranoias".

Life at home with Gary might have been boring - but working with him in the studio was.. interesting.

"In the studio with Gary at times it did get very tense. I couldn't really describe the feeling that was there.. but, like, I'd say I didn't like something he was doing and there'd be silence in the room for 10 seconds or so and no-one would dare speak or anything".

"Then he'd say 'alright', put down his guitar and walk out of the studio for a little while, and then he'd come back".

"But that happens with everyone".

"I heard an amazing tape at the studio.. it was of the Troggs in the studio recording and they were calling each other every name under the sun, like: 'you stupid f... c..., can't you get it right', 'you f... do it, you c...', I'll f... punch your face in you c...' and you could hear guitars being thrown around.. it was great to hear".

"Gary is really just like everyone else and everyone gets upset".

"When I recorded Breaking Silence, I was the one in command of it, but this time Gary, as producer, took the leading role. He got the final decision more or less on everything, plus I was using his musicians - his uncle was playing drums and Paul Gardiner the bass player and Gary was playing guitar - and their usual style is playing Gary's music and trying to play my music it just didn't work out. Maybe if I'd had my musicians I could have had a lot more control".

Why not take to England?

"Gary thought his uncle was a better drummer than mine and he didn't think the rhythm section was together, but in actual fact they're one of the best around. They're very good and I admire them a lot. But Gary thought his rhythm section would do it better".

James maintains that he and Gary are still friends and parted with no animosity. But what does James think of Gary's music?

"I liked his early albums, but I've gone off them a but now, but I go off any record after a while. I don't think Gary's progressed a lot since his first album.. they're a bit samey".

"I think his music becomes a bit monotonous after a while.. I think he's scared to try anything new. I don't know whether he is scared but a problem is that he has too much control".

"It's good to have control, but he's got two brilliant keyboard players yet he insists on doing all the keyboards himself, except some piano work".

"So all you have is one person's ideas going on to the tracks when if you have got good musicians, they've got good ideas of their own and if you use their ideas you can only get good out of it".

One would expect James to be a little disillusioned and let down by the failure of the Numan Experience to fulfil its initial promise.

But, on the contrary, he sees it as a learning experience - a rare opportunity too good to pass up. Now it's back to work, promoting his debut album, doing the rounds of press radio and TV, rehearsing for live work and so on.

Despite witnessing, first-hand, life at the top - the life of Gary Numan - James is still determined to achieve success.

"I've always wanted to succeed in music... since I was about five or six. I had all these Cliff Richard records my uncle gave to me.. and the Beatles. I used to have one of those plastic Beatle wigs and a tin guitar when I was five... I really can't find the centre of the motivation - it was just there".

The influence of Cliff Richard is hard to relate to James as he stands now.. but English music has definitely shaped James' ideas.

"I've never really listended to anything American - except Velvet Underground and Television. I think English music is far more progressive and it's always searching for something new."

"America has always just plodded along. They're got MOR and then they've got Ted Nugent and Kiss.. they never do anything inventive. From England, though, you get Roxy Music, and Eno and Robert Fripp.. all the people who've been really creative and inventive".

"England seems to revolve around the art school type thing".

-- interview from JUKE MAGAZINE, 1980 - originals in-hand.

Monday, August 30, 2010

James Freud and the Radio Stars - live in 1980

James Freud & the Radio Stars, live at Bridgewater Hotel, Adelaide 22/05/1980.

This performance, the 2nd on the same night, was captured to soundboard.

If anyone can pass me a link for the 1st performance, ie the real one at the Adelaide Opera House, I'd appreciate it!

Tracklist for the Bridgewater Hotel performance -

1. Telephone
2. Paint It Black
3. Butane Babies
4. Nineteen Again
5. Mean Modulator
6. Tragic Tales
7. Enemy Lines
8. Falling
9. Girls In Drag
10. Watching You


Friday, August 6, 2010

James Freud - Breaking Silence

A gentle reminder, if you didn't see this on the links page...

Go here for the James Freud debut album!

The blog above are also posting a bunch of excellent Models b-sides - be sure to tune in over there!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Models touring in 2010

From HeyHeyMyMy article -

I must have seen Models about 50 times in my early gig going days and rarely did they disappoint. In recent years there has been a couple of revisitations of Models legacy and they haven’t always been fulfilling. But in 2010 Sean Kelly has got the band back together and this time it’s the line-up that long time fans have wanted to see.

Sean Kelly, Andrew Duffield, Mark Ferrie and Barton Price may well be the definitive Models line-up and as Sean agrees there is something odd about that.

HHMM: It’s good to see you getting the band back together.

SK: Yeah, we seem to have these kind of intermittent reunions. I dunno, I always think that maybe they are gonna last and so I’m thinking that again. Last time I did some work with this line-up it was really well received. We did a few shows in Sydney and a few festivals and it was a lot of fun.

HHMM: I read somewhere that you maintain the view that Models never really broke up which I guess is true. It’s kind of hard to break up with yourself.

SK: (laughs) Yeah, I was thinking about that because initially when we took that really long break in 1987 James Freud announced that we had broken up and I remember thinking, “Hang on, not only is that not true but its not really his call”, but the fact is I don’t think we did a single show in the decade of the nineties so it maybe is drawing a slightly low bow to say we never broke up. But you are right, I’ve kept doing stuff. Maybe we did do something sneaky in the 90’s but I cant remember it.

HHMM : How do you reflect on the fact that its now 30 years since the AlphaBravo album was released. It scared the shit out of me last night when I thought about it.

SK: I kinda dealt with that one because we had an unofficial thirtieth anniversary two years ago. It was actually something that a publicist came up with, it wasn’t our idea to be doing thirtieth anniversary shows. I remember at the time that there hadn’t been a gold watch or anything after twenty five years. I remember the early days so vividly but it is so long ago now and in fact a lot of our peers from that era aren’t even around any more. And I don’t mean just that they are not playing in bands but there are a lot of deceased old buddies. It’s an old cliché but it’s good to be anywhere and I wouldn’t be dead for quids.

HHMM : In recent days I’ve had quite a few people say to me that this line-up of Models is the definitive line-up which is quite amusing because I don’t think this line-up ever made a record together.

SK: You’re absolutely right and if anything by having Barton and Mark play together we are effectively creating something new from the essence of the band. It was particularly exciting when we did it two or three years ago because Mark like the rest of us has just kept playing and before he joined the Rockwiz Orchestra he had pretty much forged a niche for himself as a bluesman. We had worked together on a couple of projects over the years and I just love working with him. And Barton’s still my favourite drummer around so its really exciting to get something new out of the essence of the band.

HHMM : For my peer group our memories of models gigs revolve around suburban pubs like The Sandringham Commodore, The Prospect Hill and The Armadale. Were you conscious then of trying to get the band out to the suburbs because when you think about it now there isn’t a lot of gigs out there now.

SK: It’s interesting. I think it just kind of reflects the opportunities that were around then that aren’t around any more. If anything it was to a certain extent driven by our management and booking agencies because then we seemed to be on a never-ending tour any venue available in Australia really. Now we book something three months ahead and work towards it. But I think we were lucky to play in venues like that because quite often you were playing to pretty wild audiences you weren’t that interested in pop music or electronic music or punk music. A lot of performers and artists back then didn’t perform live that much, it was all about marketing records and stuff. I just think we were very lucky to have a circuit to work on and learn the tricks of the trade.

HHMM: It’s kind of ironic that after all that time battling with audiences who didn’t really like the music you were doing, when those suburban audiences finally embraced the band en masse, it was the beginning of the end.

SK: (laughs) Yeah, yeah, I see what you mean. It’s a long time ago now but you’re right. When I venture out to RSL’s with various retro projects and I tend to get more requests for Barbados than say Happy Birthday IBM.

HHMM: Would it be fair to say that the upcoming shows are a shameless attempt to capitalise on Mark Ferrie’s fame as a television star?

SK: (laughs) I’m surprised we didn’t think of that earlier as our angle. We could exploit that! No, it’s more about the unique interplay between the four of is musically. There’s definitely an excitement about the chances of developing it and perhaps re-inventing ourselves yet again. There is an expectation that we will play songs that people want to hear as well and we will but not all of them.

HHMM : My personal Models stalwart focus group have asked me to request Golden Arches, Owe You Nothing and Body Shop.

SK: Whoah! Well there is a very good chance we will be looking at those three. We are probably going to play some stuff from Alpha Bravo that we have never played before. We are not going to play the same set we did together a year or two ago. There will be a bit of a new feeling to it and a few surprises from yesteryear.
HHMM: The songs that made their way on to the Models Melbourne compilation certainly bought to light some live favourites that never got recorded. Were you involved much in that album.

SK: The main impetus behind it was Mark Burchett. Basically in collaboration with me he complied those songs. We had about twenty on it and we’d culled that down from another twenty possibilities. There was talk for a while that the band had a bunch of songs that could have been our first album because when we did Alpha Bravo we pretty much dumped a lot of material and recorded new stuff. But what is significant about the Melbourne album is that it not only had evidence of that but also of the period between Local And/Or General and The Pleasure of Your Company. There was also a transition going on there and yet another bunch of songs that could have been an album. So Models Melbourne album actually has songs from those two periods not just the pre-Alpha Bravo songs. And the songs between Local And/Or General and The Pleasure of Your Company are songs that kind of smoothed the transition. If one is interested in that.

HHMM: Given that good songs did slip through the cracks is there one Models album to you that best captures the band? I’ve had people suggest that its actually the mini-album Cut Lunch that best does that.

SK: It’s interesting, to simplify things I’ve always thought of us as having the Sydneycentric line-up and the Melbourne centric line-up. We actually moved to Sydney in about 1984 and we were based up there until we stopped working together. So for convenience I’ve referred to them as the Melbourne and the Sydney line-ups. It’s really hard to say what is the definitive release from the Melbourne line-up although Cut Lunch probably is a good contender because it has the link to the post-punk era and yet it has the completely unorthodox chordal structures and strange lyrics and vocals etc. I like the fact that we can be considered quite eclectic because there are songs from that era that were quite poppy and catchy as well. I’m thinking of songs like IBM, Two Cabs and 2 People Per Sq KM.

HHMM: Atlantic Romantic?

SK: Oh yes, of course. I forgot that one but we always get requests to play that one. Significantly the record company made our catalogue available on I Tunes in the last year or so and its been kind of fun checking that out because you can see what songs people are buying when they can buy them one song at a time. I haven’t checked it out lately but I think it was those ones we mentioned that people were buying.

HHMM: Would you be a wealthy man if you had a dollar for every time someone described you as “quirky”.

SK: (laughs) Yeah, I think I would be. I’m comfortable with that because I don’t really like mainstream, homogenous songs kinda stuff. I like to try and be unconventional and play with the parameters that one is facing when you are writing music. I am lucky because I got to work with a lot of very creative and artistic musicians. I’ve always focussed on the music but I’ve worked with people that really cared about the graphics and the image of the group.

HHMM: My small but very well informed Models stalwarts focus group express the view that half the fun of going to the shows was to see what Sean would say between songs. Were you aware of that?

SK: I’d probably forgotten that, but I remember that now. The weird thing now is that when I perform these days I actually try to enjoy myself and look like I’m having fun. I think its an easy way to get through these high pressure situations by diffusing them with some humour. I actually played Cut Lunch with a band at a party last weekend and people weren’t really into it. People would be dancing every now and then, but when we played Cut Lunch it was a really stark rendition and not very appropriate for a party. I had a brainwave during the song and came up with one of my best back announcements for ages. As the last chord was fading out I said “Makes you feel like MasterChef”. I may try and develop that with Models and pretend that I have submitted it as a potential alternative theme or something.

HHMM: It’s interesting that this line-up of the band consists of musicians who have never stopped playing which is a bit surprising when you consider that the band started out as this left field avant garde, inner city kind of band…

SK: …who couldn’t really play! There was an attitude back then that suggested you didn’t have to be able to play, just get up and make a bit of noise. That didn’t really apply to us. Although I couldn’t play very well back then I had been learning for a few years and I think that goes for the other guys in the band. With this line-up we’ve all continued for a decade or so playing performing and practicing we have all improved a lot and when we play these old songs they do sound as good as they did. They are chords and arrangements and we attack them but if anything we can inject a little more finesse to them now.

MODELS are performing 2 shows in the near future

You can catch Models at the Espy Gershwin Room. Friday Aug 6 with support from Clare Moore’s new all female outfit The Dames plus the Minibikes.

Models also appear as part of a special literary/musical mash-up with American author Brett Easton Ellis at the Oxford Art Factory in Sydney on Tuesday 10th August.

(this article is posted a day late and a dollar short, but at least it is up for the file! I'm going to the Sydney one - wish I could go to the Melbourne one - sounds like a cracker!)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Spandau Ballet in Australia - Review April 23rd 2010 Sydney

THERE was always a whiff of mockery around Spandau Ballet. Back in the glossy '80s, along with the likes of Duran Duran in particular, Spandau Ballet would teeter on, and sometimes jump over, the edge of ridiculousness.

That isn't to take away from whatever pleasure was to be had with them – and I'm not even talking about the kilts when they were synthy New Romantics, the unfeasibly deep tans when they were Harry High Pants funksters or the "right classy innit" double-breasted suits nearer the end, before they became "rock". Though even thinking about that never fails to make me giggle.

Fair's fair: a show which starts brilliantly with the silly but still punchy synth dance of To Cut a Long Story Short ("questions, questions, give me no answers") and soon after offers up the almost as funky if more stupid Highly Strung ("she used to be a diplomat/now she's down the laundromat") and can finish two hours later with the soul schmaltz of True ("I bought a ticket to the world/now I've come back again") and the high cheese count of Gold ("Always believe in your soul/you've got the power to know/you're indestructible") may have tosh – and tosh with awful lyrics – but it's tosh you find it very hard not to sing along with.

Actually, if you've seen both Duran Duran and Spandau Ballet in reformation tours in recent years you can't miss the world of difference between the two relics. For a start, Spandau Ballet have a frontman who, while these days looking like Blocker Roach (though in a well-cut suit you wouldn't find ... at Lowes), can actually sing, powerfully and well. Then while the Brummies struggle to string together two good songs, these Londoners can play extremely well and give you five or six more than tolerable tunes – not least of them Chant No. 1. That's even allowing for a long and painfully dull section mid-show where they went earnest rock band on us, proving they need that element of mockery to hover around.

And unlike any number of reformation tours, such as Fleetwood Mac, the Eagles or the Pixies, this is a band who actually seem to like each other again and couldn't be happier to be here getting this kind of unbridled, gushing love.

So yeah, we can laugh, occasionally grimace and sometimes shake our heads in disbelief, but Spandau Ballet were good. This much is true.


Sunday, April 4, 2010

Spandau Ballet - an Australian update

As one of the defining bands of the 1980s, Brit pretty boys Spandau Ballet had the sculpted hairstyles and preposterous outfits. But most of all, insists bassist Martin Kemp, they had the tunes.

"That's why we're back on tour today," Kemp says. "You can't have a band that lasts that long and is that successful just based on the way you look or if you can put a poster up on a girl's bedroom wall or any of that - it's about the songs. And that's what Spandau was about."

Yes, the group behind such stone-cold cheese-pop classics as Gold and True are back and, having re-formed only last year after splitting up in 1990, they're making up for lost time with a crowd-pleasing show.

"Usually when you go out on tour you do kinda six or seven songs from your new album and then you kinda do a few hits from the different old albums," Kemp says. "This time it's complete wall-to-wall hit records. I think that's why everybody in the audience is having so much fun with it."

Kemp sounds relieved to report that the band is having fun too, which is pretty impressive when you consider that for much of the 1990s and '00s, the only time singer Tony Hadley, drummer John Keeble and multi-instrumentalist Steve Norman saw him and his guitarist brother Gary was in court because of a stoush over songwriting royalties.

"It was traumatic for everybody," Martin Kemp says. "But I remember the first gig that we did in Dublin when we got back on the road: just before that curtain dropped and the band were back on stage was the most incredible feeling that we'd all got that far, because for 20 years, y'know, no one spoke to each other.

"To actually stand on stage with those guys that I've known since I was 13 and start touring again was unbelievable."

The question was whether they would be able to reclaim the popularity they enjoyed in the '80s.

"It was a funny old thing," he says. "Back in October, when we first put the shows on, we really didn't know how it was gonna go. The band was, like, super successful in the '80s but we hadn't done anything for 20 years, so it was kind of like, just put your toe in the water and see what happens.

"When a band usually puts a show on, they can judge how many tickets they're gonna sell because of what number you are in the charts or how many records you're selling but we didn't have any of that. So it was kind of, put one show on, put another on ... and in the end it was the biggest tour that we've ever done in Britain."

One of the more endearing qualities of Spandau Ballet - just look at their old video clips for proof - was the band's apparently healthy sense of their own ridiculousness. The observation makes Kemp chuckle.

"But at the time we didn't think it was ridiculous," he says. "We thought it was for real!"

Even when they moved from the vanguard of the new romantic underground (early Spandau singles Chant No. 1 and To Cut a Long Story Short still sound cool) to the upper reaches of charts worldwide with the likes of True?

"Well, the only bands that ever survive are bands that evolve. If you start out as a cool band and you're only playing to kind of these small clubs, is that what you wanna do forever?" says Kemp. "Every band wants to be the biggest band in the world and you have to kind of choose your route to get there. In the end we turned out to be one of the biggest bands of the 1980s.

"Y'know, most bands have success over three or four years. Spandau had a complete decade of it."

Spandau Ballet play at Rod Laver Arena on April 21. Fellow 1980s stars Tears for Fears are the support act.


Saturday, January 16, 2010

Early Models trivia

In my constant and frankly exhausting search for Models vinyl and other recordings, I talked today with a prominent record dealer, specialising in recordings from those days, and he had a few things to say -
  • Barry Earl was owner of Suicide Records
  • Barry Earl was also personal manager of Colin McClinchley
  • Colin McClinchley's alter-name is James Freud
  • Barry Earl co-produced James Freud and the Radio Stars debut lp
  • Suicide Records was an unofficial offshoot of Mushroom Records
  • Mushroom Records may or may not have applied pressure on Models circa 1981 to allow James Freud into the band
  • James Freud apparently had more than a fair share of the royalties from Models, according to sighted contracts from the source
  • It is well known that money was the main reason for the various personnel movements and eventual demise of Models
Interesting. Some of these I knew, and some I suspected, but one I didn't know. I'll leave that to you to guess.