Turn depression into anger.



I spent most of today working on 1985. It felt stupid, because it is totally stupid – whatever achievements took place today were all derivative. Yeah sure I have a lot of vinyl reissues that need fixing up and mastering and packaging and then once they come out a whole bunch of people will say how happy they are that they can have something that has already popped out the other side of any risk. Have some money!

Of course that’s normal. Most successful artists do the same thing over and over again. Replicate the first work that got them notice. The same installation idea they had 20 years ago dragging its arse from gallery to gallery. How the hell do they ever reconcile this with their creative spirit? I’m not waving my finger here, I’m asking O great artists, tell me how you avoid feeling that dead, useless, depressing choke of stale air and limp will?

Money! And Applause! and invitations to the Red Queen’s ball! All the shit you don’t get when you’re trying to make real progress. I managed to play it right when getting the HH game up at Adelaide. Play old music, get new game. That was like burning wet leaves but hey, it was a solid attempt.


(There are journalists at the virtual door! They want to talk about 1985. Do I still have my 1985 studio set up? Maybe I could dig up some dead band members to join in the chat?)


L-R: Deering, Knuckey, Racic, Jones, Bradbury, Ellard.

At my work we’re getting all fussed up about creative coding and giant dome shaped TVs – on one side that’s all just Pyramids for Pharaohs, but on the other side there’s still a lot to do in that realm to make an audience cry or smile. Not that I would ever be allowed to besmirch any of that tasty kit – unless of course it was something I did in 1985.

Got to clear my head. Get all this memento mori out the door and then get back to something risky. As far as the world is concerned that’ll be a return to failure but it is a sure thing that when no one cares you are forced to care enough for the whole world.

It’s in the game realm. That’s where the action is. I don’t know how and I don’t know where exactly, but that’s where the transgressions take place.

12 thoughts on “Turn depression into anger.

  1. 1. Lucky to have heard good advice as a child. Find the thing you love to do most – and never tell anybody, never do it for money. Find the thing you like quite well and do that for a job. Maybe too late for you in this regard.

    2. Lucky to heard good advice as a young man. Jobs are jobs. Working at a job is like wiping your ass: not something to boast about, not something to avoid. Rescue workers can have pride or anxiety about their jobs. Musicians, office workers, retail, restaurants… you’re just being a little diaper baby if you emote about your job. Stop ultra-mega-uber-over-thinking it. It’s a job you chose and get on with it, princess.

    An experiment that doesn’t meet your standards, disappointing. A success that keeps on succeeding by anybody’s standards – stop being a sore winner, say thank you, then experiment further.

    Signed, someone who has enjoyed your experiments over time.

    • hmmmmm
      Sometimes even ‘little diaper babies’ have to tell themselves some harsh words out loud, to see how it sounds.

  2. I’ve just spent 30 mins typing a reply which turned into a novel but the bottom line is – just say no. It’s the only way you’ll ever move forwards.

  3. I think dusting off/cleaning up the old body of work is good if people are willing to click ahead and take interest in what you’re doing now, your website makes that easy enough?

    • It’s probably two different audiences. The much larger one wants to keep behind the 1985 safety barrier. They never go beyond what they know from their youth, and it becomes obvious it’s their youth that they hope to receive in the mail.

      The smaller lot are more interested in the here and now. They wax and wane, they’re around for a few months and then gone again. It’s probably trying to recall their old enthusiasm and managing a short while before the demands of adult life close down on them!

      As I work with people aged about 20, I know they generally are weirdly conservative, and listen to their dad’s record collection. :-/

      • I guess I fall into both groups. But at the same time I have fond memories of the mid 80’s and latter US shows which are go enough for me. I’m excited anytime I hear of anything new you are doing. I even own the records after Gigapus. 😉 Can’t wait for the upcoming tour! Word has been going around and the people I know in various states are very excited as well.

        There’s a 3rd group that’s never seen you play, but I guess they would be in the 1st group in a way.

  4. I like both. But I sort of see your old bits and your new bits as being additions to a sort of vocabulary as much as I can bring myself to think about it deeply.

    I think because things are fragmented into micro genres and there’s a considerable volume of stuff out there it’s probably just easier for people to listen to dad’s record collection. I think it projects a certainty that people can’t get from listening on Soundcloud. Is this good? Dare I think it is? Music is kind of decentralised, we don’t put as much faith in Rolling Stone saying “listen to this” or watching Rage and going “wow, this is new.” That’s why irony carries so much currency. It means not having to really commit to an idea and say what you mean, it keeps you hard to pin down. Say what you like about the average long-haired Troll Metal fan in his mum’s basement, he just likes what he likes.

    People react to this reality all kinds of ways. Some people dig their heels in and put out cassettes. I haven’t had a cassette player in years. I don’t want to evoke a past I missed out on or that never quite happened anyway.

    But yeah, they’re a conservative lot in many ways, and militantly progressive in others. I remember speaking to someone about 10 years my junior at a bar course. She started her sentence with “I know I should feel bad about…” and it went from there.

    Anyway, I’m off topic. I would say devote as much time to polishing the old stuff as you can manage without it becoming a problem. Nothing wrong with people being able to access when you did this or that as long as it still holds up okay. But if it starts eating into what you want to do next, pull the plug.

    • Well I look at it this way – if I want to be there when the stuff I’m making now get appreciated, then I better get onto it. Any longer and I’ll be way dead.

      God, I just feel bad for people starting out, who can’t get heard because of the rock/rap/electronic dinosaurs.

      • I think also you’ve got to not let it get you down – when you were doing your dance 12”s the first time around you were probably gigging a lot more and getting a bit more press. The pressures of adult life no doubt affect you, too.

        And yeah, gooosh it seems like the only way I’ll ever “get over” is to be born in the sixties rather than the eighties OR be self-satisfyingly “clever” and non-committal in my presentation. Not sure I have the technology to do either of those. The missus is seeing Spandau Ballet on Friday…they look good for their age (imagine the knickers being thrown at you), but I’ve had to start vetoing her invitations to see eighties groups because all that sweetener is starting to make me fat and lazy.

  5. Excuse the lateness of this reply, but it is difficult to have a foot in two camps regarding retro and hiding behind the wall of the 80’s ignoring new music.

    If bands or artists want to trot out the oldies than I really don’t see that as a problem. On the other hand 1985 was 30 years ago and while shopping last Sunday in a supermarket Freeway of Love came on and I stood in the aisle going wow that only seemed like yesterday.

    Many musicians for money or love or fan pleasing or some or all, will do something from the past. Comes to mind – Abba won’t reform yet get together for musicals, Gary Numan is anti retro yet again this year is staging full concerts of nothing but Telekon, Replicars and the Pleasure Principle despite wanting to ‘move on’ and of course Robert Plant who refuses a reunion yet sings everything but Stairway to Heaven with his other bands.

    Obviously don’t reform but if you put on a show playing obscure stuff such as Epilepsy 82, one of my favourates Dollarex or Umbrella rather than Petrol, Dead Eyes Open or another personal favourate Pilots Hate You, I’d go. People may be annoyed at the lack of hits but look at Madonna’s 2001 Drowned World tour, only two hits and that was a success. Then there is Kraftwerk who are making more money with their hits now than in the 70’s so why wouldn’t they please fans?

    My point is that I see your point about a lot of going back to the 80’s and demanding only one era is restrictive and annoying. But some fan pleasing is a part of the game. As depressing and angry as it can make one feel, when I was young I listened to the old’s music and wonder now if at the time there were musicians saying stop listening to Led Zep and get into new wave, which I did. I know I have been told I am in the minority but when I go to a ‘retro’ show, which I have done this year (Alice Cooper and Suzi Quatro) and in the past Gary Numan I go wow old hits but the new stuff is fantastic and enjoy it just as much or more.

    Anyway enough of the War and Peace narrative, the only way to deal with retro and the past is to just not tour or reissue songs if that’s what’s wanted but the people who want to hear new things – they are out there.

Comments are closed.