Dave Graney and the Lurid Yellow Mist release third debut album!
Dave Graney and the Lurid Yellow Mist live and work out of Melbourne Australia. Dave Graney and drummer Clare Moore played with the Moodists from 1978 to 1986. They then played with the White Buffaloes/Coral Snakes from 1987-1997.
Rock ‘n’ Roll Is Where I Hide is a collection of electric rock ‘n’ roll re-recordings of a dozen Graney classics. Dave describes it as ‘our 3rd debut album’.
‘I mean your debut album is the one where the band knows the material inside out and just lays it down in the studio without even thinking. They know it so well. The songs on this record are songs that we’ve been playing, on and off, for a very long time. Sometimes, we went for a decade without touching them. Then we came back to them from a different direction. By ‘we”, I mean myself and Clare Moore who are the only ones to play on any of the original recordings. Stu Thomas has played bass with us since 2004. Stuart Perera has played guitar with us since 1998, when he joined us as a teenager. Mark Fitzgibbon is a jazz powerhouse who we first played with in London many years ago in The Moodists. They mostly learned the songs at rehearsal from me going over the arrangements on a guitar. For some, we might have listened to the original recordings. Mostly, we wanted to play them a bit differently and sometimes they just grew to be different.’
Victor Van Vugt (PJ Harvey. Beth Orton, Augie March) mixed the new album in New York City, where he now resides. Victor was also a member of The Moodists many years ago and also produced the 1995 album, ‘The Soft ‘n’ Sexy Sound’.
Every band that has ever made a record and has then gone out to do dates supporting it has found themselves thinking, after having played the songs even a few dozen times, “Damn! I wish we could put this stuff down on tape now!” Some music is delicate, and needs to be recorded that way, with not too many people grabbing it and putting their mark on it. That kind of music needs to be close to the spark of inspiration and the joy of initial discovery. Even that kind of music heads off into unknown waters after a while if you play it live. Turns out, it doesn’t get squished and distorted into unrecognisable shapes so easily. It’s tough. The frame and the dimensions can take a bit of a faster tempo or a different kind of groove.
Playing songs over and over, you get to relax about the arrangements and the cues and just settle down and perform it. It doesn’t get to be by rote or anything. It doesn’t get stale, necessarily. It gets to another kind of place. To use a watery kind of language, you push the boat out into the river, then you run some rough water- some rapids. All the while you’re looking out at the dense jungle growth. Then, after a while you get to such a wide part of the river that the banks can’t even be seen anymore and the water is all deep and still. You don’t have to tense up so much. It’s working its way all by itself. That’s a way of thinking how a song might change over time.
Rock ’n’ Roll Is Where I Hide is a track that freaked me for years. I wrote it really quickly and we recorded it the same way. It really connected with people and we have almost always played it. I tried so many different arrangements and feels, trying to control it. When I’ve done acoustic gigs, people have wanted to hear it, but you need the firepower and the dynamics. It’s a song about a rock singer after all. The version here is full of fire. The vocal on the original version was not so animated. I was punchy then. Out on my feet. This time it’s for real.
Night of The Wolverine 4 has a light groove. I just wanted to play all my songs with a beat as I got older and this song turned out this way.
Feelin’ Kinda Sporty was a real studio concoction in its original form. An answer to a demand for a pop hit. We did our bit to fulfill that brief. Here we just plug in and whomp it.
I’m Not Afraid To Be Heavy is also given a cool groove by Stu Thomas and Clare Moore. Stuart and I just lay out the chords.
A Man On The Make was on ‘The Devil Drives’ from 1997. My favourite Coral Snakes period album. We just started playing songs from this album a few years ago as they seemed to be songs that got away for Clare and myself. Again, it’s got the groove. And Stuart Perera starts out wailing just like whoever did it on Steely Dan’s ‘Reelin’ In The Years’. A guitar solo to wind the song up. Apollo 69 comes from 1995’s ‘Soft ‘n’ Sexy Sound’. It always had its own weirdness and we kept a real loose arrangement for years and I’d just spring it on the band every now and again. Because I start the tune. The lyric always thrills me. Hefner, Castro. Watts Towers, Guccione, Isaac Hayes, Manson. Also I get to play a filthy guitar solo. It stinks!
Birds ‘n’ Goats also comes from ‘Soft ‘n’ Sexy Sound’. Along with ‘I’m Not Afraid To Be Heavy ‘ it was THE softest and sexiest tune. All kind of swamped by Rock ’n’ Roll Is Where I Hide’ on that collection. It’s always been one of my favourite songs to perform. Like all the songs on this re recording, I’m singing them better – in a more animated , loose and wilfully present mode.
I’m Gonna Release Your Soul is a song from 1994’s ‘You Wanna Be There But You Don’t Wanna Travel’ album. It just developed a lot more pop funk licks over the years but it’s always had the R&B groove. This re-recording cooks.
Sheriff of Hell comes from that kind of lost ‘Devil Drives’ set. It has a killer acid R&B jazz pop groove to it. I just have to trip out the story through the changes. Stu Perera’s solo is another Steely Dan era special. He has the tone and the chops!
Three Dead Passengers In A Stolen Secondhand Ford is one of those funny tracks that took off and people really flip whenever we ever play it. The original version from 1993’s ‘Night Of The Wolverine’ was kind of folky, with a 2/4 beat and a violin playing as a focal instrumental texture. I came up with this arrangement one day and played it solo on an acoustic guitar during the very last gig with the Coral Snakes at the end of 1997. It’s got a cruising, Bossa nova type feel to it. (I never liked that folky, earthy feel.)
Pianola Roll dates back to 1997. ‘The Devil Drives’ was an album about music and this is a song about ghostly recordings. We started playing it a while ago and it got tougher and tougher. I asked Victor to put my voice through a ‘Leslie speaker’ to get that spectral quality.
The Stars, Baby. A two chord trick from 1994. Originally recorded for the ‘You Wanna Be There But You Don’t Wanna Travel’ album, this song has always worked live. There’s no way you can screw it up. The dynamics and the chassis hold any kind of power chordal fooling! Back then, people probably thought it was a whimsical, silly kind of a theme to sing about. Celebrity. Look at the dopey magazines in the supermarket queue and the TV screens full of the cheap glamour of reality TV and this song should be actually pumping out in the world NOW.
The album ends, as if it’s been a kind of a journey. We’ve been through all kinds of waters with rapids and slides and falls and then we end up in this crystal clear place…
We Don’t Belong To Anybody is a brand new tune that I thought we should end the album with. It’s a groove. A light groove. The chords are my kind of bitter sweet inversions and the chassis is kind of a R&B/1-4-5 thing. It says what it says. We don’t belong to anybody. Sounds sad but we ain’t the hugging types…we were musicians who went off for a piss and a look around and sometimes got lost but we always kept our feet and kept swinging. It’s hard to keep a band together. You could write a book about it (but nobody would want to read it). It’s hard to keep everybody on the same page and also to keep a sense of excitement and respect for each other and the music you’re playing. And then there’s the loose breathing of the crowd. You hear that all the time of course.
So this album is the sound of our collective. Our band. Dave Graney and the Lurid Yellow Mist. The songs are us. Some of them are also the ones that people told us were us too. We didn’t know. We don’t belong to anybody.
This new album Rock ‘n’ Roll Is Where I Hide, was recorded in Melbourne over a few days and then mixed in New York by Victor Van Vugt*. We set up and went through the songs in just one or two takes. We knew all the tempos and the changes and the feels. I got sick after the first day and then the band did the second day without me. A week in a small room with a fever and then I came in and did my last guitar parts and all the vocals. All that stuff gave it a sense of drama and heroic occasion. Windows were involved. Windows for People availability and Victor’s schedule in New York. It gave my voice a low end I hadn’t had but screwed with my falsetto. It made me step up the animation and mugging. I acted out a lot more. It was then or never. As the mixes went on, my falsetto came back and I did some of the vocals again at our studio and sent them to Victor via the Magic Box. The whole recording’s got PRESENCE!. You can’t dial that shit in.
*Victor Van Vugt left Australia in the early 1980s with myself and Clare Moore when we were in The Moodists and never permanently came back. There was a brief return in 1995 to produce our ‘Soft ‘n’ Sexy Sound’ album. He produced Beth Orton’s breakthrough album as well as the follow up and has also worked with PJ Harvey and many others.
‘Rock’n’ Roll Is Where I Hide’ will be released on April 15th, 2011 through Liberation Music.
A book, “1001 Australian Nights” by Dave Graney is also scheduled for release (through Affirm Press) mid April 2011.