Home, Curriculum Vitae, Press & Reviews, Testimonials, Recordings, Newsletter Archive, Recipes

October 1st, 2004

Free Range Singer Songwriters


"Mankind has not understood yet that security does not result from a multiplication of the weapons but from a multiplication of the loaves of bread."
President Abel Pacheco de la Espriella of Costa Rica


Hi Folks,

This has been the beginning of birthday month for myself and all my well-balanced Libra friends (yeah right!) - and I know a ton of them. We Libras do like our celebrations.

Speaking of birthdays and celebrating, next year is the 25th Anniversary of 'Shaddap You Face.' Twenty-five years since it was created - and twenty-five years it will have held both the record for biggest selling single in Australian music history (350,000+), and the longevity record for holding that record for the longest period of time (Slim Dusty held the latter title previously, from 1957-1979, for 22 years with 'The Pub With No Beer').

This is assuming of course that no one from that battery-hen style un-reality show, Australian Idol Karoke, knocks it off between now and the Silver Anniversary next year. Believe me, the Australian Idol Karoke record company have their eyes firmly fixed on trumping it - even last year they (incorrectly) claimed to have overtaken it, with the song, 'Angels (Brought Me Beer)' But after we challenged them to PROVE it - they 'fessed up that there were only sales of 280, 000 which just scraped them in slightly above 'Up There Cazaly.' (at 270,000)

Which is, in itself, a CRIME. 'Cazaly' and 'The Pub' are both BRILLIANT songs, truly part of Australian cultural history (as is 'The Face That Won't Shaddap') - and, speaking of faces, let's face it: 'Angels (Made Me Queer)' is a C-grade pop song, at best. But such is the nature of the reality television marketing phenomenon - someone once compared it to those big hydroponically grown tomatoes you see in California supermarkets: big, shiny, bright red and nice to look at - but low on nutrition - and no deep flavour. Everyone knows I loathe Australian Idol Karoke.' Soul destroying. There was a time (when I was a kid) when artists played their own instruments and wrote their own songs. Remember da good ol' high risk days? (More on that below.) Well, I have good news for all you who still long for those times of really creative musicians - they are still out there, folks, judging by the quality of young singer-songwriter-musicians I have been working with lately as part of the Darebin Mentoring Project. Unfortunately, you will never see any of these highly creative youth on shows like this because - they are . .well, . . . TOO creative. Free Range singer-songwriters, so to speak. I would like to see this kind of empowering mentoring project filmed as a television series. Something we could REALLY learn something from. Everyone wins, everyone collaborates with everyone else, everyone sings together, there are no losers, no second place, just 20 beautiful young kids creating really incredible songs and performances. This is what needs to be preserved and encouraged - and shows like 'Idol' relegated to the dustbin. Along with the judges ('xcept for Marcia Hines - I met her and she's a nice girl - I even lent her a pair of my hot pink leather pants for a show back in the 80s when we performed in an Australia Day concert together - HEY!!!! That's right, Marica! You bitch . . . You never returned my bloody pink leather pants! Not that I could fit in them anymore, but that's not the point . . . . .)

But . . . I digress . . .

I was talking about the 25th Anniversary of 'The Song That Dare Not Shaddap It's Face'. I'm open to creative suggestions from you all about how to best celebrate this event in 2005. I would like to record and release the unique indigenous language version I've been performing at festivals as a singalong so that Mom and Pop Australia can all learn to sing something in an aboriginal language (while we're Down There . . . boom boom!) I also want to find a 4 star pastry chef to create a special dessert to immortalize the event. Something to rank with Peach Melba and Pavlova. I'm open to suggestions as to the name of this dessert and also what might go in it. Someone suggested a 25 year old whisky - not bad! (My favourite is Lagavulin Scottish single malt.) I heard that someone from Queensland invented a Country & Western line-dance to my song. I'd like to SEE that and also work it into some kind of video clip. (I also won't rule out a Knighthood at this stage, although it seems unlikely the Queen would come - but Fergie might.) I wrote a special verse for Pavrotti when the Three Tenors were coming to Australia and looking for the quintessential Australian song to sing. (He never got back to me.) 'Shaddap You Face' has never been featured on the Australian ARIA Awards, nor has it's dual record-holding achievement ever been acknowledged by the Australian record industry in any offical way. I don't think they consider it real music. (But you and I know better, don't we? wink wink, nudge nudge, say no more.) Send your cards and letters with any creative suggestions and I'll publish the most interesting ones in a future newsletter.

Joe's Boo-Boo Section
Correction to Last Week's 'True Facts:'

True Fact
- In the early 1940s, Heinz produced a version of Alphabetti Spaghetti especially for the German market that consisted only of little pasta swastikas.


(www.snopes.com)- "This is in response to your inquiry regarding the recent internet rumor associated with the H.J. Heinz Company. According to the Heinz archivist, the H.J. Heinz Company did not produce pasta, in any shape, for the German market during World War II. The Heinz Company was a major contributor to the Allies' war efforts, producing K and C Rations. Additionally, a portion of the Pittsburgh plant was used as a secret production facility to produce airplane glider wings. The wings were used on the CG4-A glider which was instrumental in the invasion of Sicily in 1943 and the D-Day invasion in Normandy on June 6, 1944.

(Note: Ok Ok - but you could still spell out the word 'NAZI' in regular imported black market alphabet spaghetti, couldn't you? N-A-Z-I. I'll bet a lot of Hitler Youth Jugenmunchkins did. Easier than trying to spell O-B-E-R-F-U-H-R-E-R. Anyway, good thing this rumour is false as I was worried that the Bush administration would somehow discover this tidbit and use it to try and discredit Theresa Heinz Kerry.)
(thanks to Alan Howe. He's such a stickler for details like the 'truth' and things like that.)



According to today's regulators and bureaucrats, those of us who were kids in the 40's, 50's, 60's, or even maybe the early 70's probably shouldn't have survived.

Our baby cribs were covered with bright coloured lead-based paint.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets.

When we rode our bikes, we had no helmets. (Not to mention the risks we took hitchhiking.)

As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags.

Riding in the back of a pickup truck on a warm day was always a special treat.

We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle.

We ate cupcakes, bread and butter, and drank soda pop with sugar in it, but we were never overweight because we were always outside playing. We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle, and no one actually died from this.

We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then rode down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.

We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the street lights came on. No one was able to reach us all day. No cell phones. Unthinkable!

We did not have Playstations, Nintendo 64, X-Boxes, no video games at all, no 99 channels on cable, video tape movies, surround sound, personal cell phones, personal computers, or Internet chat rooms. We had friends. We went outside and found them.

We fell out of trees, got cut and broke bones and teeth, and there were no lawsuits from these accidents. They were accidents. No one was to blame but us. Remember accidents?

We had fights and punched each other and got black and blue and learned to get over it.

We made up games with sticks and tennis balls and ate worms, and although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes, nor did the worms live inside us forever.

We rode bikes or walked to a friend's home and knocked on the door, or rang the bell or just walked in and talked to them.

Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment.

Some students weren't as smart as others, so they failed a grade and were held back to repeat the same grade. Tests were not adjusted for any reason.

Our actions were our own. Consequences were expected. The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke a law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law. Imagine that!

We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all.

This generation has produced some of the best risk-takers and problem solvers and inventors, ever. The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.

And you're one of them! Congratulations.

Feel free to pass this on to others who have had the luck to grow up as kids, before lawyers and government regulated our lives, for our own good.

Kind of makes you want to run through the house with scissors?
(Thanks to stefanabeysekera)


Bush's Hometown Paper Endorses Kerry

This little piece is from the one newspaper in Bush's hometown of Crawford, Texas. The Lone Star Iconoclast strongly endorsed Bush in the 2000 election and emphatically supported his invasion of Iraq.

Not any more.

"The publishers of The Iconoclast endorsed Bush four years ago, based on the things he promised, not on this smoke-screened agenda. Today, we are endorsing his opponent, John Kerry, based not only on the things that Bush has delivered, but also on the vision of a return to normality that Kerry says our country needs. Four items trouble us the most about the Bush administration: his initiatives to disable the Social Security system, the deteriorating state of the American economy, a dangerous shift away from the basic freedoms established by our founding fathers, and his continuous mistakes regarding terrorism and Iraq. . . "

The Effect of the War in Iraq on America's Security
" I thank God that President Bush was not our President at the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis."
Senator Edward M. Kennedy



Why I Will Vote for John Kerry for President
By John Eisenhower

"As son of a Republican President, Dwight D. Eisenhower, it is automatically expected by many that I am a Republican. For 50 years, through the election of 2000, I was. With the current administration's decision to invade Iraq unilaterally, however, I changed my voter registration to independent, and barring some utterly unforeseen development, I intend to vote for the Democratic Presidential candidate, Sen. John Kerry. . ."

(thanks to John E. Jacobs)


Doctor Dave had slept with one of his patients and felt guilty all day long. No matter how much he tried to forget about it, he couldn't. The guilt and sense of betrayal was overwhelming. But every once in a while he'd hear an internal, reassuring voice that said: "Dave, don't worry about it. You aren't the first doctor to sleep with one of their patients and you won't be the last. And you're single. Just let it go... "

But invariably the other voice would bring him back to reality, whispering:
"Dave, you're a vet."
(thanks to Joe Creighton)

For all US citizens living overseas who want to vote in the US elections in November, here is an easy online way to get your vote in: Vote Here

Introducing John Kerry
By William Rivers Pitt

" If you're a toad, don't try to call a frog ugly."
 Jim Hightower

" Everyone knows John Kerry by now, right? He's the tall guy who went to Vietnam and then wounded himself three times to get his medals, while simultaneously conning the bureaucracy of the Navy into giving him citations for valor. Or he's the guy who volunteered for Vietnam, and then volunteered for Swift Boat duty, and then was wounded three times while serving with distinction. He's the guy who opposed the war upon his return and thus became a traitor, or he's the guy who opposed the war upon his return and thus became a hero. The John Kerry people know is a fellow of wealth and privilege, a rich man who married richer, a silver-spoon type of guy who lives in the most expensive neighborhood in Boston when not gallivanting from one townhouse to another. The John Kerry people know is a Forbes, and a Winthrop. The John Kerry people know isn't all that trustworthy because of his wealth, because despite notions to the contrary, we are still a society based upon class struggle. It is an article of faith among the 90% of Americans who aren't rich that those with money aren't to be trusted. That this same measure of distrust isn't extended to George W. Bush is a triumph of 'regular fella' marketing.
That is the Kerry people know, or think they know, thanks to this brainless campaign season. This is the Kerry created by commercials, by inane debate on the national cable news channels, by reporters who believe the shortest way to the truth is a straight line in the other direction. There is another John Kerry to whom America deserves to be introduced. . . "



(Reuters) - If you think Earth is a mess, consider the turmoil in the constellation Hydra, where astronomers have spotted two monster galactic clusters slamming together in one of the biggest collisions ever recorded. The cosmic smash-up poses no danger to Earth -- it is located about 800 million light-years away and the galaxies involved tend to speed by each other without crashing -- but our own Milky Way could be on a similar collision course in a few billion years. Astronomers who observed the violent merger said on Thursday it could be likened to the clash of two particularly strong weather fronts on Earth.
"Today's cosmic weather report shows a cosmic storm that is one of the most massive objects in the universe," Patrick Henry of the University of Hawaii, who led an international scientific team to make the observation, said at a telephone news conference.
"The long-term forecast is for fair weather, about 7 billion years in the future," Henry said.
At 800 million light-years' distance, the crash site is considered relatively close by cosmic standards. The crash itself extends about 3 million light-years across. A light-year is about 6 trillion miles, the distance light travels in a year. The larger of the two galactic clusters probably contains 1,000 galaxies, while the smaller one has 300 or so. By comparison, the Milky Way does not belong to a galactic cluster, but is part of a group located on the outskirts of the Virgo cluster, which is about the same size as the smaller component of the big collision. Henry and his colleagues reckon the two galactic clusters were separate objects some 300 million years before the scientists spied it, and began slamming together after that. The scientists captured information on the violent merger with the European Space Agency's XMM-Newton observatory.
Astronomers have known for decades that two clusters of galaxies were merging in the area of the sky near Hydra (The Water Serpent), and dozens of other such colliding galactic clusters have also been identified. But this particular violent merger offers the best data yet of the process, which could help scientists learn more about how galaxies and everything in them developed in the early universe.


Twisting Dr. Nuke's Arm
By Nicholas D. Kristof
The New York Times

" If a nuclear weapon destroys the U.S. Capitol in coming years, it will probably be based in part on Pakistani technology. The biggest challenge to civilization in recent years came not from Osama or Saddam Hussein but from Abdul Qadeer Khan, the father of Pakistan's atomic bomb. Dr. Khan definitely sold nuclear technology to Iran, North Korea and Libya, and, officials believe, to several more nations as well. . . "


Citrus, Pecan and Sausage Stuffing
for Roast Free Range Singer Songwriter

This is an easy and beautiful stuffing. I made it last night.

Some olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
200 grams sausage mince
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 cups fresh white breadcrumbs
1 teasp grated lemon rind
1 teasp grated orange rind
1/2 cup (60 grams) pecans, finely chopped
1 free range singer-songwriter, unplucked

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in small frying pan and cook onion until soft. Transfer to a large bowl. Add sausage mince to the hot pan and cook gently until the pink colour disappears. Add to the bowl, with the garlic, fresh breadcrumbs, grated lemon and orange rinds. Season to taste with salt and pepper and mix well.

Stuff and roast a free range singer-songwriter as you would normally. Make a gravy from the pan juices. Spoon gravy over a generous serving of singer-songwriter and stuffing.

(Note: You can replace the free range singer-songer writer with a free range chicken, if all you can find are battery-cage singer-songwriters, i.e. Australian Idol Karoke chooks.)



If It Is Not Too Dark
Go for a walk, if it is not too dark.
Get some fresh air, try to smile.
Say something kind
To a safe-looking stranger, if one happens by.
Always exercise your heart's knowing.
You might as well attempt something real
Along this path:
Take your spouse or lover into your arms
The way you did when you first met.
Let tenderness pour from your eyes
The way the Sun gazes warmly on the earth.
Play a game with some children.
Extend yourself to a friend.
Sing a few ribald songs to your pets and plants -
Why not let them get drunk and wild!
Let's toast
Every rung we've climbed on Evolution's ladder.
Whisper, "I love you! I love you!"
To the whole mad world.
Let's stop reading about God -
We will never understand Him.
Jump to your feet, wave your fists,
Threaten and warn the whole Universe
That your heart can no longer live
Without real love!
~ Hafiz ~
 (I Heard God Laughing - Renderings of Hafiz by Daniel Ladinsky)