I’VE TAKEN NO NOTICE OF THE HIPPENINGS OF DAVE OVER THE YEARS. HIS MUSIC HAS NEVER APPEALED TO ME.
IN 1995 ME AND SOME BONGLOADED CHUMS LANDED AT ST KILDA FESTIVAL FROM THE WESTERN SUBURBS. AS WE SLOTHED IN THEY CLAMMED “OH YEAH, DAVE GRANEY IS PLAYIN’ THERE”. THEY KNEW THE TUNE FROM BREAKFAST TV. THIS SLICK BALDING DUDE IN A SUIT AND HAT SINGING WITH AN ODD BUNCH OF ODD-AGED MISFITS AROUND HIM DURING THE GREAT 90s GRUNGE ERA. ON THE WELCOME-STAGE, JUST OUT OF THE SCENE, DOWN THE STREET, ON THE ROAD. IT WASN’T OUTWARDLY OBNOXIOUS OR SPASMODIC, SO WE KEPT WALKING TO WHERE EVER THE NOISE WAS. I DON’T REMEMBER ANYTHING ELSE FROM THAT FESTIVAL…
… 20 YEARS LATER I SAW HIM PLAY A SMALL SHOW IN CASTLEMAINE AND BECAME GLUED. SOMETHING ABOUT IT MADE SENSE. SOMETHING HE WAS DOING I NEEDED RIGHT THEN. IT WAS AROUND THE SAME TIME THAT I’D STUNTED A BACKFLIP ON MY HATRED OF COUNTRY MUSIC TO COMPLETELY ADORE IT. I’M NOT SURE WHATS HAPPENED TO ME IN RECENT YEARS.
Hi Anto, I will do my best here. I never do many interviews. Does anybody? I appreciate your interest. You’re talking about the 90s. It was a tough era to be right and to be surrounded by so much wrong. That’s about the best I could say. I couldn’t stand mist of the grunge era shit. The rock group of that period I liked a lot was Urge Overkill. They had a thing that I have always admired , or coveted, and that is FLASH.
Hip Hop of the period was much more interesting to me. That amazing dramatic rivalry of Tupac and The Notorious BIG and their actual deaths. Incredible. And the music they made was great. The Wu Tang Clan and Dr Dre’s CHRONIC from early 1992. DE la Soul. It all promised so much. I tuned into Tricky and a lot of that studio stuff coming out of the UK. It was a great period for Australian music too. I mean talent and large labels being active and supporting them. I mean the Cruel Sea and the Underground Lovers. We were actually 80s people. We were in that underground world before Nirvana blew up and reinvented rock music for that generation. I liked a lot of stuff before them like the Replacements who became obscured by that storm. Pavement had a great song called “Range Life” where I read Stephen Malkmus imagined Paul Westerberg from the Replacements looking at or considering the Smashing Pumpkins and the ease with which they were accommodated by the music business.
YOUR BOOK. THE LINE “COUNTRY PEOPLE DON’T NEED ENTERTAINING” HAS STUCK WITH ME SINCE LIVING AND WORKING IN REGIONAL VICTORIA. HOWEVER YOU STILL TOUR THESE PLACES….
Now and again. I’d like to do more. Country towns need to be revived , otherwise its all old people really. They need young people in them. Refugees?
WHAT SICKENS YOU ABOUT MUSIC THESE DAYS?
Music is actually something that I find very healthy and full of life. I miss the fact that music is all interior now. Its not so public. I mean like public pop radio blasting out to everybody. Its sad that there are big pop acts that I see and hear about but I wouldn’t know a single tune or lick from. I mean Lady Gaga , shes been everywhere for years but its just a funny spectacle shes had to conjure up to get in people faces. I’d rather music was just out tehre in teh world. Everybody is coconut now.
DO AGENTS AND MANAGERS MAKE LIFE EASIER FOR A MUSICIAN?
Managers are good but they’re never around when you need them. they always pop up when you’re hot. People do benefit from having someone to yell at I suppose. Someone who can take being yelled at , or sacked and rehired regularly, would be good.
HOW INFLUENTIAL IS SOCIO-POLITICS IN MUSIC THESE DAYS, FROM YOUR PERSPECTIVE?
Technology is more influential. We’ve been heading towards some sort of robot controlled hell for a few years now. Its a bummer. We’re already stuffed.
I saw a folk performer play her 50th anniversary gig a few years ago. the bass player was 80 years old. She invited different people to sing. One part was a mockery of 60s pop songs and archetypes and I realised that that critical stance of authentic music toward the mainstream goes back probably to the 1940s at least. An argument that goes on and on. In the end ,” victory goes the strongest and only the strongest survive”. That’s from an old US civil war tune.
I like it when freaks cross over and win with sheer talent. It happens occasionally, when musicians are running the show.
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON MUSIC EDUCATION?
I’m a bit wary of it. Probably great for theory and practice and technique. I wish I had done some. Nothing beats diving in to situations and making your own mistakes. Music business courses are a bit of a scam.
AND THE MUSIC INDUSTRY?
First off I don’t really think there’s much of an industry. Same with any arts. Its not the same as farming or making pots and pans. Its ephemeral stuff.
I’ve always loved Richard Hell and love to read his writing as much as I loved his music. he reviewed that tv show about 70s punk called VINYL. It was about a scene that he was a main part of. His main complaint was that not a single artist was ever represented as doing something for the sheer THRILL OF IT. We’re talking about Johnny Thunders, the ramones, Television, Talking heads and Richard Hell and the Voidoids. I haven’t seen the show but he said that all the artists are seen as equals with the busniess types and all the talk is of singles and hits and making money.
I totally agree with him on that point. Screw industry and business and don’t think in those terms. Thats for arts admin types who are both comical and horrible.
Otherwise, the internet. Like everything else. Maybe there needs to be some rebellious happening or change in sensibility. Like bebop in jazz where the players took the music back for themselves. Punk was a bit like that. A critique on music itself, that was the great power it had. Or occasionally in rap when somebody takes it back to just a voice and a beat and everybody is amazed at the simplicity and the power again. Now there’s no real mainstream to throw shade on though. A thousand closed mainstreams.
WHEN I IMAGINE YOUR HOME, WHICH I OCCASIONALLY THINK ABOUT, QUITE FREQUENTLY, I IMAGINE A NICE LAWN, CRAZY FURNITURE, AND NO PETS.
We have a cat called Sylvie who is pretty cute, of course. We live 40 ks into the suburbs of Melbourne, where we have been for about 20 years.
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE COLOUR SOCKS?
I like white socks. Clean white socks.
YOU’VE ALWAYS BEEN PROLIFIC. DO YOU PREFER THE PROCESS OF WRITING MUSIC OVER RECORDING IT, OR THE OTHER WAY ROUND?
Writing songs and recording are kind of the same thing for me at the moment. I’he had a regime this year to write and record and release a song every month. There’s been seven so far this year. It’s been reAlly good to do it. The songs have been super tight and really fresh. Its really honed it for me. I’m paying more attention to being concise and making the songs come in at 3 minutes.
LASTLY, WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY AS A MUSICIAN?
I think you have to definitely take yourself seriously. Nobody else is ever going to so you should do everything with that intent and think on things like ETERNITY.
Listen to Dave Graney’s September song HERE.
And stick our nose on his website for upcoming shows and appearances.
The thing about Dave Graney is his poetry, remunerations, and observations deliver before the fact, and last well beyond any fad outlives itself only to return to eat it’s own arsehole again. I’m not sure enough people notice that about him, and I’m not sure this interview is over…
He’s a lifer.