Tag Archives: The Berzerker

Earache Christmas Party 2002

The Berzerker headlined the Earache Christmas Party in 2002. True to form, we acted like dicks. Here’s what I remember.

We were at the end of our first UK tour, and we looked and smelled like homeless bums who had stolen a bunch of music equipment. The tour was closing out with a headline appearance at the annual Earache Christmas Party in their hometown of Nottingham. The venue for the party was Rock City. We were actually really excited about the gig for about ten minutes or so until someone told us that we weren’t actually playing on the main stage. We were to be playing in a small side-room instead.

 

venue

“Merry Christmas! ….just load straight in, fellas”

 

There was one glorious feature of that tour: it was sponsored by Jagermeister. Countless cases of Jagermeister had been crammed into the back of the tour bus along with promotional Jagermeister t-shirts which we plundered in lieu of doing laundry. Every night started off with two ginormous bottles of Jagermeister that we were supposed share around with people. Naturally we shared it primarily amongst ourselves. This proved to be a wise investment on Jagermeister’s part because I’ve been addicted to the filthy stuff ever since, and they have more than made their money back from me alone. In true touring style venues would only give us a little water and no juice or soft drink so everyone ended up subsisting on the Jager. We had Earache’s previous PR chick Jo to thank for the hook-up, so I ensured that she was thanked. Then her replacement Sara came up to have a word with us.

Sara is a small alternative chick with short hair who wears a beanie most of the time. She took us aside to share some DO’s and DON’Ts with us. I only remember one of them, and that was because it seemed so completely ridiculous: basically, she told us not to terrorize Cult of Luna. They’re a Swedish alt-rock metal slow-song bunch of boys who were on before us that night. Apparently they were afraid of us. Well not so much us, the masks. Sara specifically forbade us from scaring them while we were wearing the masks. I thought she was joking. We’d just finished a US tour playing to thousands of people, none of whom seemed the least bit frightened. But she was dead-set finger-wagging serious. We nodded expressionlessly while I made a mental note to storm the stage wearing my mask during their set and try and bite as many of them as possible.

 

ssscary

Don’t be scared, homie

 

We had to get masked up early in the afternoon as it turned out. Metal Hammer had sent a photographer to take shots of us both as the band and individually. The shots were done in the main room of Rock City and took around an hour all up. I forget exactly how it happened, but we decided to remain masked-up and creep around Rock City with the photographer following us, getting some action shots of us ‘interacting with the environment’. The first thing we did was hunt down Sara. We found her in the small side-room that the gig was going to be in. She was standing up on a bench near the wall putting up posters. We swarmed her and lifted her above our rubbery fanged heads and ran around going GRAAAAAH. She screamed uncontrollably. We were pleased.

Our next target didn’t go so well. Luke and I spotted Digby Pearson in the foyer of the venue, and the cameraman suggested that we grab Dig and do the same thing to him. Dig had cameras and handheld videos hanging around his neck and in his coat pockets. There were a few people around. The Metal Hammer photographer got in position. For those not in the know, Digby (aka Dig) is the head of Earache Records and was putting the on the party at his own personal expense. Luke and I split up and started circling him, getting closer. I really don’t know what our plan was now I think of it. Maybe wrestle him, take him down, and whoever had the best position could try and fit the top half of his head in the mouth of their mask and make it look like we were eating his brains. Dig saw us circling him and kind of smiled and went “what’s going on here?” We lunged in. Luke went for the top half, I went for his legs. The photographer got in close and started snapping.

Dig fucking lost it. The first thing I realized was that he was not going down. He was fighting like his life depended on it. I became aware that he was quite a bit heavier than me and bucking wildly. Luke backed off and I felt some seriously heavy punches whistle past my face. When you can wear a few inches of latex around your head but still feel the proximity of fisticuffs, you know they’re not fucking around. I stepped back. Dig was red faced and furious and ready to kick some ass. Luke and the photographer went running off to the main room giggling like schoolboys and I raced after them.

 

digby

Looks like Bambi.
Fights like Rambo.

 

We convened there. Dig ran in after us, came straight up to me, and got right in my face and started yelling.

“You think that’s fucking funny do you? You try that on me again you little cunt, and I’ll FUCKING KILL YOU”

I was concerned. For all intents and purposes, this guy was our boss – buying our flights, paying bills, and responsible for our career. I’m not sure what response we were expecting from our half-hearted mugging attempt, but this wasn’t it.

Dig raced after the photographer next. “Give me that fucking film!”
The photographer, who was a credit to his profession, replied “Who the fuck are you?”
“The guy paying your fucking bills!” Dig snapped.

At this point Luke stepped in and they all moved to the other side of the room for a chat. I watched the back and forth go for a while and couldn’t really make out what was going on. Whatever Luke said seemed to calm everything down a bit, cause after a few minutes there was the metal handshake and Dig walked away a bit calmer than he’d arrived. Once he was downstairs Luke turned to me and started pissing himself laughing.

“HAHAHAHAHAHA! Ahhhhahahaha wasn’t that the FUNNIEST thing you’ve ever seen? HAHAHAHAHAH”

I was like, I don’t know. We’d made a sport of hassling Dig and ripping on him ever since we’d started with the label…but this felt like we’d pushed it too far. Or had we?

“What just happened?” I said.

“Ah, he said he was worried because he had lots of expensive camera equipment on him and stuff, and he was thought it was going to get broken when we went after him. Or something like that.” Luke said dismissively. “He wanted those photos deleted as well, once they were gone he calmed down a bit.”

The photographer came over and smirked. “Didn’t get all of them, though”. He showed us a few snaps of us brawling with our record label manager on the floor.

The rest of the show got blurry. I started necking little minibar bottles of Jagermeister that were floating around, breaking my rule of no-preshow-drinks. At the insistence of Labrat’s Martin Ives, I watched Cult of Luna (maskless). He proclaimed their songs to be like “ten-minute long orgasms”, leading me to deduce that he had the libido of a Galapagos turtle on sedatives. That was back in the day where I had zero tolerance for any slow metal.

Luke absolutely loathed Cult of Luna. The label had organized cameramen to film our show for the upcoming ‘Principles and Practices of The Berzerker’ DVD, and the venue had some stupid British curfew rule where they’d ring the bell, turn the lights on, and kick everyone out. Bands had to be punctual. We didn’t want our live performance for the DVD to cut out halfway through with the lights getting turned on and some muppet ringing a bell. Cult of Luna not only played overtime – understandable, seeing as though they play at 20bpm – but did one of those rockstar endings where they make a great big wall of noise and feedback, put their instruments down while still plugged in, and walked off. Yes, bravo guys. We waited for them to come back and pack up, but they didn’t reappear. Luke stormed backstage to find them and tell them to get rid of their stuff so we could set up, but they’d vanished. Eventually he found them out the back of the venue and screamed at them to clear their shit off.

I remember nearly getting into a fistfight with some guy backstage, who thought it would be cute to grab at my mask pre-show and twist it around. That kind of thing happened a bit in the UK. I remember our first Leeds show, I was setting my equipment up pre-gig kneeling down at the front of the stage with my in-ear monitors dangling. I was trying to get everything ready as quick as possible with everyone in front of me yelling and trying to get my attention. One of the kids thought he’d do that by grabbing my in-ears and yanking them. The in-ears cost over $200 and I had one set to keep me going for the entire tour. I grabbed his hand, twisted it, and tried to break his fingers. He slipped his hand away quickly and stepped back with a smile that said, I know, I went too far.

We played our show, and it was the one that ended up on the DVD. I suckled on a full bottle of vodka for the entire gig, you can see that sucker just get drained on the recording. I was hammered. I remember walking on the bar playing my bass. I remember telling the cameraman to get out of the way before ‘Monogrind’, and kicking the security barrier into the front row as violently as I could. I can’t remember much else. That is the only time I’ve ever done a show drunk.

Afterwards, I found Dig and made my peace with him. We posed for a photo with him getting me in a headlock. I figured we were square. I had a chat with Rob or Dan from Earache, and they mentioned Mick Kenney from Anaal Nathrakh was at the party. I went squeeeee and demanded we be introduced. I had heard ‘The Codex Necro” a few months previously and thought “at last…..we have some competition!” Retrospect is hilarious, isn’t it? I had a chat with Mick where he talked about what necro really was.

I woke up the next day with a huge hangover. It was the end of tour and we had a month’s break before the next tour in the US. Matt, the guitarist, was asleep nearby. I woke him up to get my belt back off him (we were sharing one between us), then got the tour manager Baz to give me a lift to the airport. I missed my flight to Amsterdam and was 40 kg over the baggage limit. I threw a tantrum – a shamelessly rock-star huge ego shouty tantrum – and a lovely attendant booked me a cheap seat on the next flight and waived the excess as long as I could get it down to only 20kg over the limit. I dragged my bag over to a bin. I was travelling with a cricket bag at the time. I opened it up and threw away ten kilos worth of CDs and t-shirts that people had given me, dressed up in the rest and stuffed my pockets with everything that was heavy, then got on a plane out of there.

 

*postscript: Luke contacted me to chastise me for not going in harder against Cult of Luna. “I hate those little fucking Swedish bastards!” he cried. “What are they called again? Cunt of Luna? I want to smash their faces. You’re going soft in your old age.”

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Last Show in London

My last show in London was with Berzerker in 2008 and it was another merry-go-round of stress, violence, bouncers, blah blabbity blah blah. Seriously, it’s like all my stories start off with a combination of those words. I’ll keep this one short as I’m just recounting the before-and-after of a certain YouTube clip.

 

"We'll start with misery, then conflict, then violence. Then we'll move on to some misery, and conflict, and.....JESUS CHRIST IS THAT MY SHADOW?!"

“We’ll start with misery, then conflict, then violence. Then we’ll move on to some misery, and conflict, and…..JESUS CHRIST IS THAT MY SHADOW?!”

 

We were in London for the last show of a complete arse of a UK tour. The day started off crap and became increasingly stressful. We had to return a motorhome to Essex and we were in Nuneaton. I love the filthy mental image that springs up whenever I think of Nuneaton, it’s kinda reminiscent of that Cradle of Filth t-shirt for some reason. We had to get the motorhome back by a certain hour and cleaned perfectly otherwise we’d be charged another day’s rental. This would be stretching my credit card, as I had to give my details for the motorhome to be released to us in the first place. Nice pre-tour surprise, that. Also the motorhome rental guy was a gym owner and a total fucking hulk. I didn’t want to see him mad.

 

"Petrol tank half-full, plus railing loose on back panel, plus three hours late, equal SMASH AUSTRALIANS"

“Petrol tank half-full, plus railing loose on back panel, plus three hours late, equal SMASH AUSTRALIANS”

 

Everyone was late waking up in Nuneaton, then dragged their feet so we were slow getting on the road. We had to drop off one of the guys in Kettering so he could travel with guest and producer legend Russ Russell down to the show. I think it was Martin who we chose to go, our insane and short-lived Swedish guitarist. This would give me enough space in my car to drive the other guys and our equipment from Essex to London. I had parked my car at the rental place where we picked the motorhome up at the start of tour. We got to Kettering and when Martin got out Luke decided he’d get out too and travel with them to London, leaving me and Todd to deliver the now-late motorhome to the roid-monster in Essex by ourselves.

I was pissed. It’s times like that you really need a manager, or tour manager, or someone else to take care of that shit. The absolute last thing I was thinking about was playing a show. Todd and I drove the remaining 100 miles to Essex stressing every inch of the way. When we arrived I apologised, begged, scraped, and talked the gym owner dude into waiving the extra day’s rental he’d been threatening us with. Somehow, we got away with it. I think when he saw us climb into the motorhome on the first day – Todd and Martin with dreadlocks, Luke with mohawk – he was convinced it would be returned full of human faeces and animal sacrifice. When he saw that we returned it in top nick it I guess it surprised him enough to drop the extra charges.

As soon as we were in my car and away, part two of the mission began: we had to get to the M25 and head into London before peak hour began and the roads stopped moving. The speed limit on the motorways is apparently 70 although the English treat it more as a guideline. If you’re caught driving at 100 miles an hour though you automatically lose your licence . I drove at an average of 99 mph and managed to make the turnoff from the M25 into London just as peak hour began.

Todd by now had gone quiet. He was crammed in amongst all sorts of equipment, and the stress of the day plus being jammed into my car wasn’t treating him well. I heard the occasional groan from him. I had to drive to Camden right in the guts of London where everything is a no-standing zone with double-decker buses screaming towards you down a one-way street. I didn’t have GPS or anything, I had written directions that I’d glance at feverishly whenever the traffic stopped. Which was a lot of the time.

After an hour of traffic-battle we got to Camden. I parked outside of The Underworld in the parking bay with the least amount of threatening parking signs and Todd and I ripped all the equipment out of the car. I sprinted into the venue to find one of the guys and get them to come up and help Todd while I found a place to park overnight. I found someone, ran back to the car and there was a parking officer writing me a ticket. I had only been away thirty seconds. I nearly burst into tears at that point until a passing Londoner told me that they can’t give you a ticket if you leave before they finish writing it. I threw myself into the car and sped off into traffic. There was a big overnight car park ten minutes walk down the road, and I ditched the car there. Never got that fine, either.

So that was the warm-up. Later that night we got up on stage and pounded out our set. I remember there was some girl sitting on the edge of stage with her back to us, so I rested my foot on the back of her head like she was foldback monitor. We were halfway through the gig and playing ‘All About You’ when Luke jumped into the crowd. Not to smash anyone, just to sing with people and get amongst it. He had a wireless mic. Near the end of the song he exited the side of the pit and took the sidestage walkway back to stage. He had to pass a bouncer to get from the sidestage to the main stage. Something happened. I didn’t see what. Luke got back to stage, we finished the song, and I saw him motion with his hand out to Todd: WAIT. DON’T START THE NEXT SONG. He looked angry. Here we go, I thought, I wonder what tech problems we’ve got this time. As soon as Luke saw that Todd had paused the click track, he turned around and said this. I insist you click on that link. It is vital to this story. Make sure it’s in an environment where people aren’t offended by some balls-out swearing though.

Don’t have access to YouTube? That’s a shame. Let me transcribe for you what happened here…..but brace yourself for some severely NSFW language:

LUKE: Thankyou very much.
<crowd cheers, Luke double-checks Todd is still waiting, then continues>
LUKE: And for my troubles, on the way back to the stage I was kicked in the arse by this motherfucking bouncer and punched in the stomach <points at the bouncer>
You think it’s fucking TOUGH? <inaudible> CUNT.
<people in the crowd start shouting ‘Fuck You’ at the bouncer>
LUKE: <pointing at bouncer to punctuate> That was fucking WEAK-AS-PISS. You’re here to look after cunts. You’re paid to make sure nothing happens, not to cause SHIT.
<crowd cheers lustily>
LUKE: <inaudible> SCUMBAG CUNT! Do you UNDER-FUCKING-STAND? Fuckin’ kick me, you CUNT? <shakes his head> Unbelievable, unFUCKINbelievable, I travel all the way from Australia to play for these fucking people and I have to deal with <points at bouncer, splutters with fury, and is lost for words briefly>
<someone in the crowd screams out ‘KILL HIM’>
LUKE: I wouldn’t give you the time of day, honestly that’s bullshit <goes back, gives the nod to Todd>
LUKE: This next song I can send straight out to this cunt <points at bouncer>. It’s simply entitled ‘Pure Hatred’. That’s how I feel. That’s how I fuckin’ feel……DIEEEEE!

We launched straight into the track and the crowd fucking EXPLODED. There was no pit; the entire floor was a pit. People lost their fucking minds. It was like that the rest of the gig. I looked up after ‘Pure Hatred’ and the bouncers had left the room. The rest of the night was a free-for-all.

It was a good show.

Afterwards kind of sucked though. The bouncers turned up swinging chains once everyone was out of the venue and gave us five minutes to get all our shit out. As soon as we were outside, they barred all the doors and locked up for the night. I guess I should be thankful they didn’t chain-whip us but the main street of Camden is probably a bit busy for highjinx like that. Luke tried following up the incident in the weeks and months afterwards, he wanted to sue the bouncer for assault but he couldn’t even get the guy’s name from the venue. The booking agents couldn’t or wouldn’t do shit, as usual. The venue wouldn’t release the bouncer’s name and as far as everyone else was concerned, that was fucking that. Recourse for musicians who get beaten up by bouncers during their own gigs? It doesn’t exist, unless you’re Pearl Jam or someone that size.

That was my last show in London, and my final one with Berzerker in England. I was 33 years old.

postscript: Naturally, I asked Luke if he wanted to add anything to this story. He wrote “As I was returning to the stage I was kicked from behind. I turned around to see who what the fuck happened. With no warning a bouncer punched me in the stomach. I shat blood for the next 3 days.”

postscript no.2: I was in England during the London Riots. That was the week where the country’s oiks decided to express how pathetic they are by looting every sportswear and electronics store in the city and burning down everything else. I was sickened and saddened by this, but heard a happy rumour: that the World’s End pub and the Underworld club in Camden had both burned down. I immediately made a special trip up to London to see it. I planned to get a souvenir coal and post it to Luke, with a photo of me taking a piss on the ashes of the Underworld. Unfortunately both venues were still standing and unharmed when I got there. Then it started raining. I haven’t been back to London since, not counting the day I flew from Heathrow and left the country for good.

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Thanks list from “In the Realm of the Senseless”

I was just cleaning up my old website today which contains the thankyou list from the first album. I thought I’d better sling it in here, so there’s a record of it somewhere in the universe. Also it’s kinda funny to see the names that crop up, and how sometimes things have changed in the last five years. I’ll be doing another thankyou list for ‘The Floating World’. It will be much shorter.

 

I have decided to part with tradition and not have the usual massive death-metal thankyou list in the liner notes of my CD. This is for all sorts of reasons. I don’t want a booklet in the CD, just a cover insert with the bare goods in there – should save on printing costs. Besides, I ran out of money buying photos for the artwork. And I’ve always found the whole thanks list thing a bit awkward, like dudes were parading how many names they can drop. I know that’s not the case! – it’s just how it feels sometimes. There’s only one way I reckon I could justify it in my case and that is if I actually explained WHY people are on my thanks list…and by god, mine are there for a bloody good reason!
So, decision’s made – instead of a booklet thanks list, there’s a link pointing to this page. Everyone on the list’s role in the production of this CD is outlined, and you may gather some insight into why bands have so many names to thank in their liner notes. Did they bring beer to the recording? Loan money? Write music? Here’s where you find out.
In no particular order:

Luke Kenny – aka Berzerker… Apart from producing and mixing this, he actually encouraged me to get off my arse and record the CD and push it to the public. People ask if Luke is pissed with me for recording my own CD instead of keeping all my effort to Berzerker. Are you kidding? If I went into all the ways Luke helped me record this stuff, we’d have an essay here. It could all be summed up with a chef metaphor – if Luke’s Gordon Ramsay, then I’m Marcus Wareing. I think only Tony from madman will get that, but anyway.

Marcus Hankey/Grant Cummin – when these flatmates told me years ago “why do you sit around here all day playing guitar? Why don’t you join a band?” they probably had the ulterior motive of getting me to grind elsewhere. In any case, those words were all it took to put me on the long road to here

Russ Russell – the realest man in metal…., Russ mastered the CD. By rights, one would ordinarily have to swim through a sea of caviar, champagne, and minders to even speak to the likes of him. He’s recorded Napalm Death and Dimmu, for god’s sake. On the contrary, when I bumped into him on tour he not only happily agreed to master the CD for me, he invited me around for the mastering and treated me to dinner at the table with him and his awesome family. A gem of a dude.

Manami Shima – it is traditional to thank your girlfriend in the liner notes of the CD. “This CD is called Death By Blood by the Graveshitters, I would like to thank my sweetie pie for her love and support”. But Manami’s contribution is a bit more concrete than that. I never had a name for this project, and when Anticulture offered to licence it, I suddenly needed one. I had no idea what to call it. Manami came up with the name The Senseless, so thank her. Plus she did a top job of keeping my sanity in check leading up to the recording, no small task. Cheers, babe.

Craig – I don’t even know his last name. All I know is I borrowed a guitar off him two years ago which I used for practice for the rerecording and he hasn’t asked for it back yet. I suck

Ol Drake from EVILE – he did the last solo in Promise…the one that actually sounds like a real solo, instead of my unco widdling. I bullied him into it by relentlessly pursuing him online and over the phone, and finally managed to extract the needed solo out of him two days before my plane left for the recording in Australia.

Matt Wilcock – my fellow Berzerkerer. He helped me with the recording of the rhythm guitar tracks back in 2004 by working the desk and offered much helpful advice (“That sounds gay. Learn to solo. There is no place for acoustic parts in metal. You suck” etc). He also performed a tapping part on Crippled Trash when he lost patience with my primitive and feeble efforts at playing the part myself. When it comes to recording, Matt knows the deal. He didn’t even blink when Luke and I called him from Melbourne in a mild panic on the 2nd or 3rd day of recording as he was waking up in London, trying to find out if he still had said rhythm guitar tracks two years later on a hard drive at his parent’s house in Australia. He did, lucky us.

Charles Provost of Anticulture Europe Office and HIM Media  – this is the dude directly responsible for signing the project. I was trying to send some CDs through to french band Happy Face who he managed, and one of them was the demo for this project. Charles got his hands on it, liked it, and before I knew what was happening had Anticulture records offering me a licencing deal. Without Charles it’s a sure thing this recording would not have been released and without his promo push I’d have nowhere near the coverage in Europe I have now

Steev Anticulture – took a chance where all other labels feared to take a chance. A one man powerhouse.

Conor – worked for Earache. He asked me at a show about the project when it had only been available online, and encouraged me to send it through to them. Earache knocked it back but that was enough encouragement for me to keeping sending the demo to all and sundry. I bumped into him online only but a week or two ago and it now seems he is working for Plastichead distribution, so he’ll be looking after all the electronic distribution for the Senseless CD. I’ve offered to set myself on fire if it will help his sales. He’s currently considering the offer.

Leon Macey of Mithras, Zero Tolerance magazine – provided me with a little bit of sample assistance, and much industry and legal advice. For a bloke who runs his own magazine, plays for a famed band, shreds guitar like Azagthoth, and drums over 300bpm, he sure is humble and helpful. And when I was stuck for someone to master a demo so it could make an appearance on a magazine cover last year, Leon came through and ripped me up a mastering job in a matter of days. Legend.

Gareth Holmes – when I left Australia, I left my computer with my buddy Gareth and barely took any backups of the music I’d made with me. Suddenly when I was required to rerecord the album, the shit hit the fan. I trawled through all my backups and found half the drum tracks, half the solos, and half the samples. Gareth has lost count of the amount of times I called or sent a panicked email asking if he could run a full computer search for some random .fla file. He came through with the goods, and even managed to change a few of the file formats to suit my ever-changing purposes. Come to think of it, I pulled him off a holiday to do this, twice.

William McCulloch – so, the recording of the album had nearly finished except for the final track ‘After Happy Ever’. I had got kick samples mailed from Luke. Gareth had found me my missing drum tracks. Now all I had to do was pull a hundred samples off a CD for the cubase song which I had created years back. Only problem, the CD was fucked and there was no way my computer was reading it. Matt Wilcock’s solution would have been, well, the song’s fucking gay anyway, leave it off the CD. My solution was to take the CD to Willy McCulloch for some data recovery. The CD seriously couldn’t have been any more screwed than if I had skatedboarded down the road on top of it. When Willy saw the CD, he winced and went ‘jesus, Sam’, like I’d brought him a jar of herpes. He managed to recover every single file except one.

Rob and Mike from Woodslap – have lent me basses and amps respectively

Jamie Hooper – from Fingercuff productions. He shot and edited the filmclip for Vacation and pulled off our multimillion dollar effects on a £0 budget. He also suffered the indignity of having me reject the first edit of the video, then worked through a bout of tonsilitis to finish it on deadline to my ever shifting satisfaction.

Tom Cordery – my double for the video, a buddy from work. When he heard I was recording a video he was immediately like “Oooh! Can I be in it? Pick me! Pick me!”. I don’t think he seriously thought I would until I called him the day before shooting, demanding that he drive across town to be my body double. As things turned out, couldn’t have done it without him.

Simon – loaned me a red BC rich Warlock guitar for the filmclip. It is occurring to me about now that perhaps I should buy some musical instruments of my own

Caroline Jones – I’d never owned a PC before and one day she just gave me one. Just like that! There is no way any of this stuff would have even made it to demo form if that had never happened. It was a pentium 3 with about 100mb of memory spare, but it was enough to write and record ‘After Happy Ever’ and a bunch of other songs on. I had no interest in computers or plans to buy a PC. Talk about a gift from the gods.

Ryan – drummer for the european Berzerker tour. I was going to buy one of those dumb boss 8 track things with a built-in drum machine cause I was desperate to somehow record my own stuff. Ryan was like, “why don’t you just buy a PC? You can record on those, and do much more than you could ever do with a 8 track”. Quite a seed you planted there, Ryan.

James DaCosta – this guy writes better than almost everyone I know. In year 8 at high school, he spontaneously wrote some piece on my folder. It was the adolescent angst thing done except in a knowing cynical adult voice with more brilliant lines per paragraph than anything I’ve seen anywhere else. I reminded him about it when coming up with lyrics for the album. He said “What?” I quoted a few lines for him and he rewrote a decent version of it for the song ‘Promise’.

Kevin – took all the promo shots, indoors and outdoors, and did a damn fine job. I owe you either money or a website dude, contact me.

Rabi – from Fluidzone. He was the first link in my epic expedition trying to get the covershot for the CD. I had a copy of Riptide magazine from the early 90s with the most brutal wipeout ever on the cover, and I wanted that shot. I didn’t care what it took, and thank god for that cause it took a lot. I didn’t have any contacts for Riptide so I found Rabi’s details online. He looked like someone who knew shit in the Australian bodyboarding industry. I asked him if he had contact details for Riptide. He did and immediately passed them on, no fuss, helpful as could be.

Nick, editor for Riptide magazine – next on my mission to find the photographer. I swarmed him with emails asking for details for Who Shot That Wipeout Picture, and didn’t get a response for months. One month before the artwork deadline (when I was contemplating running down to Bournemouth Beach and taking a photo myself), he replied – and was more helpful than I ever could have hoped. Not only was he able to give me all the details for the photographer who had shot that cover, but he said he had another photographer who had shot a near-identical snap and he gave me those details too. That ended up saving my skin.

John Bilderback – John was the first photographer I chased, and the one who had provided the Riptide cover. Although I didn’t end up using his photo, his correspondence was full of a gracious aloha spirit that – considering he’s a top world-travelling surf photographer – was totally humbling. I couldn’t go with his picture because…

Ted Grambeau – was the alternative photographer Nick Riptide suggested and the one I ended up using. Ted took a while getting back to me, and when I saw the sample of the shot Nick had told me about, my jaw dropped. It was the same surfer, from the same wave, on the same day John had taken HIS photo. Same angle and everything. I analysed the wave – foam was the same on it, little jutting bits of wave were poking out the same. Only the lighting, framing, and the angle of the doomed surfer differ. It must have been snapped like .03 of a second after John took his shot. This is from a day’s surf somewhere in the early 1990’s. I have no idea as to the odds, but they’d be pretty ridiculous.  Ted’s price was lower than John’s so I ended up running with him. The licence for the pic ‘frogman’ just arrived today, and there’s some substance smeared on the envelope. It looks a little like blood. Ted is another travel-the-world surf-photographer-pirate like John, and it was an honour to correspond with both.

Brock Lewin – a mate of mine from Oz who took the peaceful pier shot from the back of the CD. Fortunately this photo did not entail anywhere near the amount of drama getting the covershot did.

James Caygill – well, y’know, I’ve got my design degree, I could have done all the artwork myself. Except I didn’t have the time. That, and James is like a thousand times more talented than myself. He did the layouts for the CD and ran with my images to do up the awesome business cards, stickers, and merch for the project. Dude, the business cards look AWESOME.

Rich – got me my first copies of fruity loops and cubase, tools which I still use to this day

Bill Hicks – this isn’t the bit of the thanks list where I start naming every influence under the sun. I reference the great comedian because I used quotes of his in two sets of the lyrics, You Are Nothing (I quote a couple of lines from his ‘marketing’ speech) and No Bomb Is Big Enough (the ‘freebird’ show where he starts screaming at the audience). Anyone who has ever performed for an audience will relate to some of the things he said to his.

Tony Robbins – while listening to powertalk it suddenly struck me how insane Tony would sound completely taken out of context. I recorded myself screaming a line of his “Nooo! NOOO! EXPRESS HOW YOU REALLY FEEL! LET IT OUT THERE! YEAH, YEAH YEAH!!” and with some studio trickery managed to get it sounding like the giant himself.

Jim Cardiac Arrest and Jesse – two buddies who have been fully supportive of the senseless right from the get-go. If these two dudes were my only audience that would be enough to do another three CDs.

John Flower – my buddy who taught me how to play guitar. Everything you hear on the CD is a reflection of the sense of timing, melody, and rhythm he imparted to me. It’s one of the great injustices of the world that he doesn’t have a CD of his own

Troy’s House of Music, Melbourne – these guys set up both my bass and guitar in A standard tuning and did a brilliant job of it. I didn’t realise what a great job they did until I tried using other people. When technicians hear what I want them to do with my guitar these days they usually look at me like I’ve dragged a dead body into their shop.

Adam Sagir – five years ago we fled the Gorbals in Glasgow, denied both prostitutes and crack. Now you pimp my hot metal to the UK, my English promotions Superfly. Cheers.

Machinochrist – cheers for the brilliant mashup which features on the e-card and website. I can’t believe you did something that awesome in less than three days

That’s it for the thanks. There may be additions to this list.

 

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