Tag Archives: The Re-Mains

A potted history of Mazstock

A potted history of Mazstock*

*may not be factually accurate

mazsidey

My recollections of the inaugural Mazstock are hazy at best. It was held at the fabulous Winsome Hotel in the heyday of Maz’s reign there, an impossibly debauched and gloriously fun era that would have made the Swinging Sixties, the Fabulous Thirties and the Nihilistic Nineties look like a tea party in Fred Nile’s drawing room.

That was some serious rock action. If Iggy Pop had burst in wielding his favourite stage prop he would have had to sit down for a minute to take it all in. Ok, maybe I’m getting a bit carried away now, but touring bands did love to play the Winsome.

Maz always looked after them sumptuously. Her devotion to rock and roll has been a mainstay of music in Lismore for a long time, and without the Winsome flying the flag in those days there wasn’t much else around. Maz’s dedication to keeping music ablaze and relevant in the midst of her own furious political life has been a beacon for rockers on the East Coast.

Bands got paid to play, even if it was on a Tuesday night performing to the Slate-Fancier and whoever was tending the bar. They got put up in luxurious rooms, fed and watered in all kindsa ways. There were all kinds of fringe-dwellers to marvel at, as they interrupted proceedings with lunatic intensity to berate or assault the punters with an assortment of props from druidic staffs to occasional full nudity.

The PA was great and when occasionally some of Lismore’s rock fanciers did saunter in for a look there was always a full-tilt show on.

Not that they weren’t occasionally well attended. Dave Graney, The New Christs, Hey Rosetta (Canada), all had smashing crowds and the after parties were always wild, and long. When Mazstock became a thing in 2009, the Winsome was the perfect venue.

People flocked in from Bellingen, from Brisbane, from Broadbeach, anywhere that started with a B, even Nimbin. The front bar hadn’t been so crowded since Mick Elliott wearing his favourite Davy Crockett hat tried to marry all the bar staff in one night.

Black Ghost Party, The Tendons, Slug, Antibodies, Manifest and The Re-mains got that ball rolling.

There was the great Brut 66 from Bello, an old school rock and roll band that were as much about the Flamin’ Groovies as they were Television. Their set featured Pete Bufo’s psychedelic performance piece, whereby he crouched tuning his guitar for a good twenty minutes, whilst we sat silently, stunned by his insouciance. Till suddenly everyone burst out laughing and eventually, the band resumed as if nothing had happened.

That gig also starred Nimbin’s Antibodies, who are the only mob to have played every Mazstock since with their incendiary show, Ritchie out front whirling and yelping political firebombs.

Local outfits such as the invincible hard rock Claymores, Slug and Tesla Coil have also been longtime Mazstock stalwarts, while the mercurial Blurter rear their ugly heads now and then to keep things on the level.

That was the beginning of a beautiful partnership between Maz, Sideshow and the rock and roll community of the east Coast. They’ve established a hard won tradition of impeccable taste and rock majesty that’s reverberated across the shrinking cultural tapestry of this Tory-terrorised, art, music and literature-hating wilderness. In defiance of the socio-economic malaise, over the years a succession of superb bands have made their pilgrimage to Lismore to pay homage at the court of Mazstock.

2010 saw The New Christs and Celibate Rifles headline a frantic fixture, with the likes of Pineapples from the Dawn of Time, Blurter and Lennox Head’s immortal Boozehag keeping the engines at full throttle.

Later Mazstocks happened at Lismore’s Italo Club, where in 2011 in the big ballroom the likes of Kim Salmon ripped it up on the big stage, while on the smaller stage Screamin’ Stevie, draped in an Australian flag set about restoring our pride in the nation that brought us Abbott. Elsewhere Leadfinger, The New Christs and Six Ft Hick slugged it out with Slug and a horde of other great acts. Representing the roughneck bush-rockin element, Den Hanrahan and the Roadsiders put in a boisterous showing.

As an impresario, Sideshow has been without comparison in the Northern Rivers and it was here that he was really able to turn it on, with big PAs and stages and an audience that was slavering for rocking good times without stint.

Three stages and a multitude of bands is a broad palette to work with and Sidey, in his element, sleepless, occasionally feisty and never without a comeback, was born to rule in this environment. He also doubled down as bassplayer in the Re-mains on that occasion and pulled the job off with aplomb.

The Re-mains set got off to a roaring start with hula hoop dancers and Uncle Burnin’ Love the Banjo King vying for the spotlight. UBL had had drink taken and bemused by the bright lights and high fidelity PA, enacted a rage-filled turn before heaving his banjo across the stage. When his electric guitar also declined to satisfy his requirements, that too was ejected with great velocity and he stormed off to the bar.

Undeterred, the band dug into that big PA sound, and played what was for me one of our best shows ever.

That Mazstock saw the historic deployment of Hits, a devastatingly good rock band who have gone on to cult status after their relentless domination of Australia’s rock scene. With two undaunted women on guitars and a ferocious if diminutive frontman, they’ve gone on to conquer Europe and inevitably, the USA.

In 2012 Gravel Samwidge came down all the way from Townsville to christen the Lismore Uni Bar as part of a stellar bill also featuring a resurgent X and once again, the mighty Hits. Other highlights of that year were Substation and Thundergods of the Multiverse.

More recent Mazstocks have employed the Lismore Bowlo to devastating effect, with the overworked Sideshow bowing out for a couple of years while the entrepreneurial James Doyle flexed his fledgling promoters wings. With his own band Raygun Mortlock tying down a solid roster of local acts, 2013 saw the return of Leadfinger.

In 2014 Six Ft Hick, Substation, Hell Crab City and Sideshow’s own band Birdbrain held the fort, while Hits hung in despite the siren song of stardom screeching in their ears.

Then in 2015 Mazstock returned to the Italo Club with a roar, inducting Sydney’s bellicose Front End Loader into the Mazstock community. Ably assisted by punk rockers Dunhill Blues and the perverted maunderings of Blurter, among a huge cast, they helped keep the doldrums of Abbott’s brief regime at bay.

The 2016 event looks set to be a return to the mythical Mazstocks of yore, with 13 bands across two stages, back at the palatial Italo Club. Sideshow has come out of semi-retirement to oversee this daunting logistical feat while Maz is curating a dazzling lineup and and feverishly hunting for the perfect frock/catsuit in which to adjudicate proceedings like a great purring, whip-wielding dominatrix.

With a focus on women in rock, four great chick-rock outfits have answered the call. Lismore’s very own howling viragos, the Callachor sisters are fronting Spanx in their first Mazstock and with members of Antibodies and Bombed Alaskans backing them up, they’re bound for certain rock glory.

Brisbane is sending down two femme fronted outfits in the Dirty Liars and Marville, both raucous and racy ensembles by reputation.

Hot Sweets are fronted by the rambunctious Carrie Phyllis fresh from a support with Cherie Currie (voice of the Runaways) they’ll be in red hot form. The band boasts two members of Leadfinger who are also making the long drive up to play their fourth(?) Mazstock with their characteristically bittersweet rock and roll demeanour, located somewhere between Wilco, Big Star and the Ted Mulry Gang.

I’ve snagged three members of that brilliant outfit for my own Mick Daley’s Corporate Raiders, otherwise known as Leadfinger Lite, playing our first Mazstock.

Headliners this year are Bunt, another Brisbane mob with massive punk rock credentials, big in Japan, soon to be bigger in Lismore.

Forever Since Breakfast come back for their second bite at the cherry. This supergroup are prolific songwriters and combine years of rock experience with sizzling guitar chops. Also highly touted are Loose Pills, Sydney’s answer to Cheap Trick.

Maz is having conniptions as the big day approaches and there are not enough hours to spin vinyl while excoriating Tories and tyrannical landlords. But as the memories of bygone Mazstocks fade and new ones flare briefly, rock music will be the undisputed champ.

And in a world where Playstations and porn have become the weapons of choice for many of the front-line generations, it’s a great relief to see the formidable team of Maz and Sidey once more allying to revive the dormant beast of rock in its purest form. I for one am not planning any yoga or pilates anywhere before, say, at least 10am the following day.

 

Rock promoter pops the gas bubble

Nick Hanlon had already lived several lives when she decided to take on gas miners through the power of music. The fearless promoter of the hugely successful Rock the Gate and protest camp Pop-Up concerts grew up singing and acting and, having trained as an opera soprano, won Sydney Eisteddford singing in Gaelic. Continue reading Rock promoter pops the gas bubble

Northern Star Column, 20/5/2010

New album finally to hand and on the weekend The Re-mains decamp to The Junkyard in Maitland and The Botany View in Newtown to flog it. It’s only taken three years and more line-up changes than the Melbourne Hit Men’s Association to finish this one. We’re going head to head with Jackie Marshall in Newtown, where just up the road she’s launching her new record as well. It’s going to be interesting to see how we go in the new all-digital environment where everybody downloads and an analogue product is allegedly a thing of the past.

I know you North coast Luddites are all desperate to hear it, so I’ll be bringing it along to Nimbin Pub tonight where Grandson, the new duo with myself and Uncle Burnin’ Love is making its debut. You may have to make an appointment however.

Meanwhile it appears that someone with either an agenda or a morbid fetish for Mazstock is systematically tearing down posters for this esteemed event as fast as promoter Sideshow Bridge can get ‘em up. Perhaps they’re selling well on the black market.

Christian Pyle, ‘Nothing Left to Burn’ album review

Christian Pyle, the North Coast’s most respected, irreverent and unconventional songwriter and producer, releases his new album, Nothing Left to Burn at the Buddha Bar on June 12th, supported by M Jack Bee and Sara Tindley.

It’s a vibrant, intelligent album bristling with verve, paranoia, anger and joy. Not for the faint-hearted, this oughta be the gig of the year.

Continue reading Christian Pyle, ‘Nothing Left to Burn’ album review

The year that iswas

Winter has not been a feature of my life for some years, in fact almost since the inception of The Re-mains we’ve found cause to be largely absent from it, whether in the Northern Territory, far north Queensland or Canada. But this year, as the band takes a hiatus from touring and I’m at Uni, here we are. Freezing….. We’ve launched the new album, Inland Sea in Maitland, Sydney, Yamba and Federal and next weekend, in Lennox Head and Nymboida. It’s selling well and getting radio play at various places….. The band is an eclectic beast, as always. With Shaun in semi-retirement, Tom Jones wintering in Darwin, Al Fisk tinkering in Sydney, CP (Christian Pyle) reprising his role on guitar and Darren Bridge the new bassplayer, it’s all new sets and relocating the sound….. Last weekend we played Lennox Head, Nymboida and a party near Alstonville. The band was in furious form and still recovering. Saturday night I’m playing solo at the Tatts in Lismore, opening for a band called the Little Stevies who are apparently making waves in the folk scene. In August I’m going south, to Goologong, where my mate Balfe aka Mush aka Craig Lawler (see his review of Inland Sea) and his beau, Josephine live, to rendezvous with the Lonely Horse Band for a week of songwriting on the ever contentious and lively issue of bushrangers, of which there are the ghosts and legacy of plenty in that region. August sees The Thoughtful Hussars return into action on the 26th, charging like the Light Brigade into the Gollan Hotel, where, supported by Captain Freedom, we’ll be playing a few new tunes and anticipating Dylanfest with a few run-throughs. On the 28th, The Re-Mains play in Brissie at The Old Museum, a venerable venue managed by the manager of Bang Bang Boss Kelly, a banjo-swinging mob from that part of the world who are launching an album of their own. …. In September a long awaited return to Darwin looks likely, with the return of Leigh Ivin to the band. We’ve been in discussion for a while about the possibility of recording some of the vast back catalogue of unrecorded country rock and roll classics (well, they’re classic to us – Country Rock and Roll is Number One, Coalface Annie, Sharks, Return to Lizard County, Beef Week Queen, Same Road … the list is exhaustive), and playing some reunion shows, culminating in a short stint at Tamworth Country Music Festival next year. A Darwin/NT run will be the first of these – looks like an interesting time. In October I’m playing Dylanfest at Coraki Hotel. Part of Darren Bridge’s growing musical empire, Dylanfest will be a celebration of the works of the great man (Dylan, not Bridge) by a variety of local and visiting outfits including Mick Hart, the man whose constant circumnavigations of the globe resemble those of Bob himself – and Hart did in fact support Dylan on one European leg of his never-ending tour a few years back….. The band I’m putting together for this festival will be known as The Antiquarian Filibuster and will feature the aforesaid impresario Darren Bridge on bass guitar, and on loan from Invisible Friend, Brendan Drinkwater on drums and Michael ‘Whitey’ White on electric piano and organ. …. I’m stoked to have this all-star lineup, as I’m really quite chuffed to be able to play a full set of Dylan songs at a proper festival. Dylan was personally responsible for lodging in my head the notion that I too, could write surreal and stream-of-consciousness narratives, whack a guitar and tootle on a harmonica and get paid for it and I’m returning the favour with renditions of Idiot Wind, Tangled Up in Blue, Jokerman, Sweetheart Like You, Just Like A Woman, I Want You, Lay Lady Lay, Mozambique, Oh Sister and possibly Series of Dreams….. This will be part of a busy month in which I am also supposed to be completing my thesis for Honours in Media. At the start of the month I’m playing Gibbostock in Nundle, a celebration of another great and strange man, Gibbo. That’s on the 2nd. These events are usually recreations of Nymagee Outback Music Festival in miniature, only with freezing cold instead of blinding heat as the central theme….. ON the 24th The Re-Mains, or a version of the band, will be playing Big Sunday at Tyalgum, in cahoots with Gleny Rae Virus and Den Hanrahan. These shows will also possibly feature the return of Leigh Ivin….. In November we’re on the bill of a small festival in Nymboida, again at the Coaching Station, owned by one Russell Crowe. His Museum of Interesting Things, on the site of this venerable building, holds a number of interesting props from such movies as Gladiator, Romper Stomper and Robin Hood, not to mention some of Johnny Cash’s gold records….. Later that month we’re also part of a bill at a big charity do at Lismore Turf Club at which The Hoodoo Gurus are allegedly also appearing. Stay tuned for more CRnR action.