Album Review: Shaman’s Harvest – Red Hands Black Deeds (2017)

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I have to ask the question: How has it taken me 17 years to find out that these guys exist? Because that’s been the most confusing and annoying aspect of having this absolute cracker of an album in my hot little hands. I feel like I’ve been cheated. I feel ripped off.

Shaman’s Harvest have been around for 20 years. They formed in Jefferson City, Missouri, back in 1996. Red Hands Black Deeds is their sixth studio album and will be released on July 28th. I have to admit to you that this review has taken much longer than expected. It’s taken weeks because every time I’ve hit play with the intention of writing, I’ve just wanted to listen and nothing else. And because I’m not a musician or an experienced music journo, I can’t comment a great deal about the composition of each song or the riffs and hooks and whatever else, or producer influences, and I obviously can’t make comparisons with earlier releases because life is cruel, and this is my first Shaman’s Harvest experience.

But I can tell you that this is really good. Actually, it’s incredible. I can also tell you a few reasons why you’re going to love Red Hands Black Deeds and how it’s going to reach out to a younger audience, and let’s be honest, when you’ve been around for a couple of decades and you can still appeal to the young ones – you’re definitely doing something right!

The first thing I thought of when I listened to the album was the diversity of the tracks. No two songs are even remotely similar – they all feel like they have their own personality, backstory, influence and heartbeat. It’s an album of stories. It’s also an album of honesty, raw emotion and freedom of expression. Lead singer Nathan Hunt has spoken about the “organic” characteristics of the album and it’s definitely a vibe that stands out. Every single moment, sound and lyric feels alive. And god it’s nice to feel something, especially when we’re surrounded by so much soullessness – musically and in general.

The writing of the album started during the US presidential election and there are social and political ideas throughout the album. Guitarist Josh Hamler has talked about this influence. “The tension in the record kind of speaks for itself. There’s a dark anxiety, tension-filled feeling that reflects what’s going on in the world”. This extends way beyond the US presidential election and into society and the world we all live in and I think it’s something that will really appeal to young people. And if it doesn’t, it should.

The album’s first single “The Come Up” is an honest and powerful representation of issues young people face every single day. It delves into struggles with anxiety, depression and society’s demand for perfection. “There’s so much negativity on social media today – a lot of people struggling with real issues…” The song is also an acknowledgement of Nathan Hunt’s own battle with depression. “It’s therapeutic for myself,” he says. “It’s just about sometimes when you just can’t change shit, you got to realise you can’t mould everything in your life and you kind of just have to roll with the punches”. Lead singer Nathan Hunt actually battled throat cancer in 2014 which could have marked the end of his career and derailed the band, but he didn’t allow that to happen. He just kicked it’s ass instead. What better message for young people in today’s world?

I also want to talk about influences, because indirectly or directly intended, I experienced an amazing journey when listening to the album. I think it’s easy and even a little bit lazy, to point out similarities with other rock or post-grunge acts. Shaman’s Harvest have taken it to the next level in terms of experimenting with alternative sounds, technology and instruments and they’ve used everything on offer to create something special and unique. I’m a music lover, as opposed to a music expert, and I truly loved being able to find unexpected little spins throughout the album.

The title track “Red Hands Black Deeds” is haunting and reminds me of the incredible ability and vocal intensity of Chris Cornell, and I love Shaman’s Harvest for it. Throughout the album, I had beautiful flashes of Metallica, The Police, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Muse, Linkin Park, KISS and god, there’s even a smooth Lenny Kravitz vibe going on. All you have to do is turn it up loud and listen carefully – you’ll hear it.

This is an album of pure truth. Hunt sums it up perfectly. “When you step back, you see we’re all just humans. That’s the longer view. It doesn’t matter. At the end of the day, we all just want love and to be understood”.  And that’s the truth for all of us.

Red Hands Black Deeds will be released and available on the 28th July and I’ll be talking to Shaman’s Harvest this week about the release. You’ll be able to hear it all on the Freak Show – 8pm Thursdays on OKR FM.

 

 

 

 

UZUMAKI EP Launch at the Cherry Bar, Melbourne – June 2016

When you listen to my kind of music and hear all the best rock n roll stories, the Cherry Bar is often mentioned. After all, if I wasn’t so little, I could’ve partied with Steel Panther after their show a week or so ago, but no. The Cherry Bar is a pretty rad venue, with a crazy history and a perfect example of why the saying “if these walls could talk” was invented.

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It’s in AC/DC Lane in Melbourne’s CBD and trust me, as suggested by a muso/journo friend of mine, the smell remains with you for days! I’m not sure if that’s because it genuinely smells or if after you’ve been there, you just want to savour the awesomeness of it all to the point where you can’t actually smell it anymore, you just think you can. The Cherry Bar really is a part of Melbourne’s role in the music world. It’s not a very big venue but they still manage to get a whole lot of people in there. When you’re there, you just feel like you’re part of something big, something special and you can’t help but let yourself go in this pretty fantastic world.

As I was popping my Cherry Bar cherry (sorry, couldn’t resist), I experienced the EP launches of two very awesome and talented young bands – The Walking Ded and UZUMAKI, with 6 Foot Inch performing as well. There was actually a shitload of people there and as with previous all-ages gigs, it was further proof that young people are craving live rock music. It was very cool for the Cherry bar to host the all-ages event as it doesn’t happen often.

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In reality, all-ages gigs are the future of music. We are the ones who will be there in years to come, paying entry, buying music and merch and dancing and partying the nights away, so it makes sense for any current act and venue to milk the shit out of that. If a band can basically guarantee the next generation of appreciation and sales, then why wouldn’t they?

The night started with 6 Foot Inch performing and they sounded great. Sadly, I only got to see these guys perform a couple of songs due to other commitments and I would genuinely love to see them again as they are another young Melbourne band keeping the dream alive! The Walking Ded are a Melbourne band consisting of Camden on drums, Odin on bass & vocals and Finn on guitar and they’re only little! They’ve just launched their first EP and that is seriously an incredible achievement for these young musicians. Their creativity and stage presence is outstanding, with the boys writing their own songs about everyday life experiences. They had the crowd moshing, singing and having a great time, everyone enjoyed their set and I was impressed with the fact they were rocking the walls of the Cherry Bar with their own material.

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But UZUMAKI absolutely shook the Cherry Bar walls and they were amazing. After having a chat with the band, they walked out on the stage ready to do their thing like professionals and the energy was crazy! I’m not going to say too much more about these guys because I think you should have a listen for yourself! I’m stoked to have met such an energetic, talented and passionate group of musicians and they definitely have a huge future ahead of them. I hope you all enjoy our interview!

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My Cherry Bar experience was pretty perfect. Again, I was just grateful to have the opportunity to experience it all and hopefully the importance of the younger market is catching on with artists and venues. No matter how great an act is, if they’re not willing to find a way to reach out to their younger fans, then my opinion will change. Where there’s a will there’s a way, and if a band really appreciates their fans and wants to ensure the longevity of their success, they’ll do anything they can to accommodate their younger audience.

And the decision really does rely on the artists and their management, considering the law in Victoria now allows venues the option of providing all-ages events. And it’s really quite simple – I earn about $8.00 an hour doing a school-based apprenticeship yet I’m still willing to pay $100.00 or more to see a band who I love. However, I’d much rather go to see bands at smaller venues, where I actually get the chance to interact and enjoy the experience properly. It also allows me the opportunity to work and do my own thing and along the same lines as before, the younger journos, photographers and promoters are very much the future. In another ten or twenty years’ time when some of these acts want to go round again, who’s going to be there? There’s nothing I’d like more. So I guess it all comes down priorities.

Steel Panther did it. Skid Row didn’t. Guess who’s t-shirt I’m wearing tonight? And that people, is rock n roll.

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Have a listen to my interview with UZUMAKI and embrace the nightshift!

A little one’s review of Black Stone Cherry and Steel Panther at Festival Hall, Melbourne – June 2016

Firstly, thank you to Festival Hall, which actually provides a concert venue that doesn’t exclude Under 18’s due to the service of alcohol. Sure, the unlicensed section feels like you’re behind bars in an institution, but I’m not complaining. At least I was able to go.

The side view seating was cramped and uncomfortable with no opportunity to stand up and head-bang like a lunatic, which is what I really wanted to do. However, I was fully entertained and a little bit scared by the old dude sitting next to me (actually, pretty much on top of me) who clearly had the flu and a Tinder addiction. As a friend of mine said “He wants to pick up at the Panther show!”. Ewww.

And on that note, even if I wanted to “pick up at the Panther show”, the seating area provides no room to move around, so I had to be satisfied with the occasional flirtatious glance at the two young hotties sitting to my right with their dads, hoping that one of them would at least respond with a smile or a wink or something. Yeah, that didn’t happen.

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My main motivation for wanting to get to this show was to see Black Stone Cherry perform live and seriously, they were amazing! As the support act for Steel Panther, they didn’t play for anywhere near long enough and when they were done, I was devastated. For a crowd who was mainly there to see Steel Panther, it was awesome to see them get behind BSC and they definitely didn’t disappoint.

The two dads of the before-mentioned hotties were impressed and made comments about how much they enjoyed the BSC performance, which was great to hear. I was blown away by how good they were. They played a raw and honest show with amazing energy and I couldn’t take my eyes off them, especially guitarist Ben Wells. This might sound a bit weird but just looking at him reminds me so much of Jani Lane so visually, I was super sucked in and had feelings of love. I would absolutely love to see a full BSC show in a more intimate venue, where I can actually stand up and rock out. And when they get the audience to help out with their Soul Machine lyrics, I’d like to be up the front singing loudly and proudly because that song went off with the audience! The hotties’ dads were right into it!

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So now let’s move along to Steel Panther. I like Steel Panther. And if you don’t like naughty words or dirty things (and I don’t mean muddy footy boots), now is the time to close your browser.

Being a little one, I asked mum to take me to the show. She’s a glam metal fan too, and she loved it all the first time round. But she never really got into Steel Panther. She did know that they pretty much just take the piss out of that whole genre, with an emphasis on the “sex, drugs and rock n roll” culture of the glam metal movement in the 80’s. Like a good little mum, she did a bit of homework beforehand and questioned me about what to expect. I don’t think she was worried about the show itself, but more nervous if she had made the right decision about allowing me to go, especially when she heard that it was pretty standard there would be lots of “tits out”.

Then I think her humiliation and shame kicked in at the fact we were sitting in the little one’s section and here I was singing all the words to Asian Hooker and 17 Girls in a Row. My friend Damo was in the licensed section and sent me a message saying that the look on mum’s face was priceless. Poor mum.

On a serious note though, the show was incredible. Yes, every single song is pure filth, there’s lots of tits out and let’s not forget the blow-up sex doll being passed around the crowd but this isn’t just a rock concert, it’s a theatrical production. There’s props, make up, costumes, role playing, comedy, audience participation, the whole works. And more the point, they are all phenomenal musicians.

Michael Starr (I’m going with stage names) is an amazing vocalist. Compared to other front men from that era, he has definitely been the one to stay fit and fabulous and his voice is crazy awesome. He rocks the spandex pants better than any other human ever and the way he works is pure genius. Guitarist Satchel reminds me of Zoolander, Lexxi reminds me of that weird Boy George-ish character in the Wedding Singer and Stix just reminded me of why I have a sad weakness for glam metal drummers!

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Considering 80’s glam metal is one of my favourite obsessions (*said in Frank N. Furter voice*), it feels incredible to have been able to experience it live, especially as my opportunities to do so in the future will be pretty limited. I had an amazing time, I loved the atmosphere, I enjoyed sharing the experience with mum who genuinely appreciates the genre and it was brilliant to catch up with Damo after far too long! Everything about the show was perfect, including mum’s disgust at the extensive use of the p-word (which can also mean cat), the giant inflatable penis flying around the crowd and the lecture I copped all the way home about being careful what I do in case it ends up on social media or youtube!

My life has changed forever. That is all.

 

 

Sisters Doll @ the Torquay Surf Lifesaving Club – April 2016

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Here’s the audio of my interview with Sisters Doll at the VMAD fundraiser held at the Torquay Surf Lifesaving Club in April. It was fantastic to experience a live performance and to have a chat to the guys who are leading a bit of a Glam Rock revival in Australia.

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Following their Top 5 success on the most recent series of Australia’s Got Talent, they’ve definitely made an impact. For the older generations, it’s easy to see how they’ve been influenced by the likes of KISS – their sound, styling and attitude would definitely take people back to the late 70’s and through to the 90’s, when that style really hit the peak of its success.

For the younger generations who don’t really appreciate the influences, Sisters Doll still has appeal. They are extremely visually exciting, very cool and offer an honest entertainment factor not often experienced by young people – especially in this day and age of digitally produced and heavily manufactured music. Sisters Doll pride themselves on their live shows, giving every single show everything they’ve got and the result is quite addictive. It’s fun, energetic, interactive and they know how to rock.

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During our interview, I was fascinated. As a massive Glam Rock/Hair Metal enthusiast, it was actually quite bizarre talking with three very talented and good-looking young guys who look like everything I’ve researched, read about, listened to and have grown to love, straight from the 80’s. It was a bit of a “Lake House” moment for me. Not quite a “Bret Michaels Lake House” moment, but pretty close.

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I think you’ll really enjoy the interview so follow this link and have a listen x

 

The Freak Show #162 – 80’s Love Songs feat. Damo

In the world of social media, random things happen. Most of the time, they include weirdos trying to get your phone number or trying to convince you to buy something. But every now and then, you find someone who was meant to change your life. I realise that sounds corny, but in this case it’s true.

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Social media gives a great insight into different people, places and interests and can bring things into your life that seem out of reach. And that’s how I came to know Damo. I found this human who posted photos of one of the most impressive record collections I have ever seen. Not to mention the fact that he posted shots from live rock gigs, set lists, links to his fabulous podcast and interviews and basically just a whole lot of cool, pop-culture and music-related stuff. Damo recognised me from Comic Con and had realised just how much I love music and all sorts of other geeky, cool things. And we hit it off.

Since then, Damo has really helped me with learning about music and musicians, he has suggested some great live gigs to attend and more the point, he has really helped with my music education and development as a broadcaster and offered guidance as I try to crack the world of music journalism. He’s had decades of experience in the industry. Damo performs in a band called Muscle Car, who have a cult following and supported Motley Crue and Alicie Cooper at Rod Lave Arena in 2015 – just weeks before our friendship took off. It will forever make me cry that Damo could’ve given me tickets to the show to see all three acts perform if we had known each other just a couple of weeks earlier. That’s complete shit timing!

Damo also writes for various magazines and websites and produces the Long Gone Loser Rock Show, which is an awesome and very entertaining weekly show, covering all sorts of great music and interesting things. So far, he is easily the biggest music freak I have ever met and he has some amazing experiences and stories from his years involved in the music industry.

Most importantly, Damo is just a really good person. He has happily shared his world with me and has allowed me the chance to get to know a world of music that I could’ve missed out on all together. So of course, I was thrilled when Damo agreed to come up and help me out with the Freak Show. I usually present the show alone and I’ve really been wanting to get some experience and have some fun co-presenting and just cut loose with all sorts of awesome randomness. And that’s exactly what we did.

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The only thing we had planned prior to the show was that I wanted to play 80’s love songs and the rest just fell into place. Damo brought a collection of records with him and I finally learnt how to use the turntable live-to-air at the studio!

We had a great time – laughing, being random and listening to some fantastic 80’s love songs and it’s about time I shared that with all of you too!

And while you’re at it, check out the Long Gone Loser Rock Show and Muscle Car on Facebook and Instagram. You’ll be very impressed!

Follow this little link and have a listen to all the shenanigans!

Cheers x

 

 

Black Stone Cherry – “Kentucky”

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As a young person finding her way in a world of pretty cool music, this album gives me a perfect look at where these guys come from and it’s now I place I’d really love to visit. Black Stone Cherry have been around for a while, forming in 2001 in Kentucky. This is their fifth album and they are paying tribute to their home state and sharing all the experiences and emotions that made them who they are right now. They’ve experienced success in the US, UK and Europe with past releases, with fans enjoying their definite southern US rock sound.

But this latest journey seems like the opportunity they’ve been waiting for to show the world exactly what they’re made of. As a result, they’ve released an album true to their roots, with all the heart and soul of the younger versions of themselves when they were first starting out, combined with time, maturity, freedom and all of life’s little experiences along the way.

I took some time to really listen to and absorb “Kentucky” and initially, I found myself making comparisons to other artists. I’m a young person and there’s so many rock acts and it’s just hard not to, especially when I’m trying to identify and describe all of the things that I like. I think it’s important to get an “innocent” perspective on “Kentucky”. These guys have been around a while and even though some would ask the question of why they haven’t hit the heights of commercial success, some of us just don’t care and would rather give an honest opinion on how their music makes us feel.

So I sat down, pen in hand, making notes as I listened to each and every song and I did find that there was consistency across all the tracks, with a loyalty to the sound they wanted to share. The consistencies were their ability to give us an honest hard rock sound, great heavy guitar riffs, pretty cool lyrics, awesome vocals and the fact that these guys work together like a perfect machine. But there were also a few little surprises along the way, and I think this is what gives “Kentucky” an edge.

The opening track “The Way of the Future” was a good start. Great lyrics, heavy guitar riffs and a really catchy vibe, I also found it had a little bit of quirk with some slight but cool changes of tempo and pitch, just enough to keep you wondering where it was going and how much better it could get. After listening to that track, I already knew that I’d enjoy the rest, I just wasn’t sure to what extent that would be. It got a little bit heavier before it got lighter, which is fine by me, but I did wonder if we were going to get to a point where I felt that these guys had the potential of being commercially-friendly and appealing to a younger audience. I was excited when it did happen.

In our Dreams was a bit heavier than the first track, Shakin’ my Cage was just cool and then we arrived at Soul Machine. This is their money shot. It’s a very appealing track for airplay, it has a catchy chorus, an awesome combination of lead and backing vocals with fun and enjoyable lyrics. I’m guessing it has a bit of a flirtatious and cheeky message and that’s fine, because it has a great sound to match. Still true but just a little bit more playful.

Their cover of “War” also has a huge amount of appeal. It’s a song that younger people are familiar with and it’s an awesome version, so I hope they use this to their advantage. When you’re appealing to a generation who know you mainly through WWE, it’s definitely worth taking a track like this and milking the crap out of it!

And then once they suck us all in completely, there’s songs like Rescue Me and Born To Die – both fairly airplay-friendly but with a heavier sound, banging lyrics that can talk to us, especially during times of confusion, helplessness and loss and a bit of diversity in their design. I’m going to take a moment to make the comparisons now, because it will perfectly describe what I’m trying to say. Rescue Me has this gospel vibe, which feels like it’s been inspired by Queen and then, in my mind anyway, it travels into a combination of Metallica, Nickleback, Bon Jovi and MUSE. Yes, sounds a little mental but it’s my favourite track from “Kentucky”. That, and In Our Dreams, which I am loving more and more every time I listen to it.

I was also excited to learn the news of Black Stone Cherry’s upcoming Australian tour – they’ll perform as special guests for Steel Panther, which just adds another awesome dimension to what these guys are doing. Tour details are available at www.blackstonecherry.com and their Facebook page has regular updates on everything you need to know.

No matter how you feel about “Kentucky”, I think one thing is certain – these guys have shared an incredible journey and work and perform for all the right reasons, giving us music that is reflective, amazing to listen to, heartfelt and honest and you can definitely hear how much they love doing what they do. Chris Robertson summed it up perfectly, “Music is life, life is music. It’s faith, family and music. Those are the things that are quintessential for my life – for all our lives”. Yes Chris, and thank you.

 

 

The Freak Show #161 – Hair Metal Love Songs

After presenting love songs on both Memory Lane and the Freak Show for Valentine’s Day, it kind of got me thinking about love songs across all the ages and different styles of music. I also started paying much more attention to lyrics and interpretations of love in all kinds of songs.

So over a couple of weeks, and you really need to understand just how much music I can listen to in a couple of weeks – I mean we’re talking hundreds of songs and then I’ll check out the lyrics and look into the background of the band and the inspiration for the song and it’s just a long and wonderful youtube/google/itunes process. Over a couple of weeks, I listened to a huge amount of love songs from all ages and styles and it was awesome to enjoy the different interpretations and representations of love, emotions, dating and mating and even though the format and sounds changed, the stories were similar and that’s what I enjoyed the most.

I decided that I would spend a couple of months learning about love songs and I’d present a different style or era each week. And of course, I had to start that ball rolling with my favourite music style of all time – HAIR METAL/GLAM ROCK!

Now I could go on for days about why I love Hair Metal and why I’m addicted to the love songs in this genre – but I’m not going to do that.  I’m just going to say a few words that sum up everything…

Bret Michaels.

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November Rain. Guitar solos.

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Gorgeousness. And long hair.

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Bad boys who want to be loved (let’s forget about the other stuff, it was 30 years ago).

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Boys wearing make-up, singing love songs. I’m gone.

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Enough said. So now, all you have to do is go and click on that crazy little hair metal link, sit back and enjoy the love x

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The Freak Show #160 – Valentines Day – R&B Love Songs

Every year around Valentines Day, I plan a very loved-up Freak Show.  This isn’t because I love Valentines Day, it’s more because I believe it’s a great reminder for everyone to show love all year round, instead of just one day a year.

Usually I play all the classic love songs but this year I decided to go with a R&B theme because it sort of suited my mood at the time.

R&B is a very sexy style of music. Cool sounds, smooth lyrics and vocals, and music that echoes your heartbeat – yes, it works very well. And I’m a bit of a sucker for a shirtless Jason Derulo or Usher – I love their voices, their gorgeous smiles, their abs, the way they dance and man, they can really get hearts racing. So therefore, R&B was the plan for my Valentines Day Freak Show.

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I haven’t had a real Valentine yet but I did have flowers delivered to me on the universal day of love this year. There was a card attached which said “Keep smiling beautiful” and that was it. I still have no idea who they were from. I felt like a bit of a knob asking a few people if they sent them and I’m not quite sure if I genuinely believed it was a possibility or maybe a little bit of wishful thinking. Regardless of any of that, it was really sweet to have a secret Valentine. It definitely made me smile and brightened up my day.

So there you have it! I’m sure you’ll enjoy the show much more than you probably enjoyed my dorky little Valentines story, so please visit my soundcloud page and have a little listen…

Lots of love,

Audrey x

 

 

The Freak Show & Chocolate Starfish @ Morrisons Winery Moama – Jan 2016

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Back in January, I was super excited to get the chance to catch up with Adam Thompson from Chocolate Starfish and witness another phenomenal live performance.

Adam is awesome to interview and I really get the chance to learn about the era of Aussie rock that I absolutely would have loved to see for myself. We usually talk a bit about how music has changed since then and I try to pick his brain about lots of strange and wonderful things – as you will hear.

The one thing I love the most about Chocolate Starfish is their live performances. These guys really know how to put on a show that takes over all your senses.  They sound incredible, they look awesome and perform with so much passion, fun and with so much energy. It’s one element that Adam Thompson absolutely loves -bringing theatrics to music for that performance quality that clearly keeps shows like this one, sold out.

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Of course, Chocolate Starfish write some pretty cool songs too and their song Cinderella has an amazing story. All proceeds from the sale of the song were donated to the Jaime Wild Foundation in support for Jamie, who is a young woman challenged by motor neuron disease (MND). A Cinderella Ball was held on the Gold Coast last year to raise funds for the foundation and to assist Jaime’s future quality of life. When Chocolate Starfish perform this at shows, it’s a tradition for the crowd to take off their shoe and raise it high and wave along with the song in support for Jaime, her family and for the wonderful cause and it’s a pretty special thing to be a part of.

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These guys always play a mixture of original tracks and covers and this is another reason they appeal to people of all ages. The performance at Morrison’s was all-ages and was a great family atmosphere. They perform a bit of Meatloaf, which I absolutely love of course and speaking of Meatloaf – I have to say I was completely blown away and happy beyond words when out of the blue, I hear Adam’s voice and the first few words of Sweet Transvestite from the Rocky Horror Show. If there was a moment when my love for Chocolate Starfish could get any greater – that was definitely it!

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Anyway, I’ve included the link to our snazzy little interview and I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s very cool! And a HUGE thank you to Adam and all the Chocolate Starfish crew for their time and for being awesome! I can’t wait to catch up with them all again soon.

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The Freak Show #159 – Back to school!

It’s been a while! At the start of the year, I was completely up-to-date and had this grand plan of keeping it that way!  Of course, that didn’t actually happen and here we are – APRIL ALREADY! So now it’s the mad dash to sort it all out.

My first show back for 2016 was right in time for the start of the school year and I was definitely excited to get back and get stuck into another year of mayhem! I knew 2016 was going to be pretty busy and very crazy, but I don’t think I was fully prepared for all of the amazing opportunities and experiences that I’ve already had this year.  And that includes school stuff!

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So anyway, over the next few days, I will get everything organised, post some shows and links and share some exciting news. For now, here is the link to the first Freak Show for 2016 – all BACK TO SCHOOL tracks for a bit of fun.

Enjoy the show x

 

 

 

 

Happy New Year!

 

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Ever since I was little, I’ve believed that midnight on New Year’s Eve is the single most important moment of each year. It’s when you say goodbye to the year, give thanks for all the wonderful experiences and forgive and forget the sad times and mistakes. In my opinion, that’s a great way to go – taking all the good things forward and leaving all the not-so-good things behind. It’s an opportunity to reflect, learn and dream about the potential of the year ahead. And I’ve always done that. As the clock strikes midnight, a million thoughts run through my head and it all comes down to the same dream – to be as happy as I possibly can, doing the things I love, surrounded by the people I love.

I guess it’s probably a dorky and pathetically-romantic way to look at it, but seeing in a new year feeling happy, loved and special, has always been important to me – especially as I always seem to have so much shit to leave behind. For me, that single moment can wipe away all the tears, all the pain and all the anger with just that tiny glimmer of potential for a new beginning.

I’ve always loved being surrounded by my family at midnight because over the years, they’re the ones who have never let me down. They’ve never walked away from me or given up on me or hurt me and I know they will be a huge part of the year ahead. Sharing that moment with them each year gives me strength and inspiration to follow my dreams.

But there’s definitely been a few times when that romantic belief has come back and bitten me on the ass. Being the weirdo I am, I’m always convinced that midnight will be perfect, a Cinderella moment when all the hurt goes away and this silly little freak turns into a princess. And I have genuinely wished for that to happen, especially for the past two years. I’ve spent so much time feeling ugly, undeserving, hurt and so frigging hated, that at the most important moment of my year, I’ve allowed myself to believe that maybe, when the clock strikes twelve, I could turn into a princess.

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Anyway, I’ve come to a few new conclusions about my New Year’s Eve belief.

The first thing I’ve come to realise is that every single day has the same importance, potential, inspiration and romance as New Year’s Day. Every day can be amazing, a new beginning, a dream come true and a fairytale. I plan on using every day to work towards my dreams and every midnight to learn, leave negative feelings behind, say thank you and dream even more.

The next thing I’ve learnt is that I’m already a princess and I don’t need anyone to help me feel like one. If people choose to treat me in a way that acknowledges that, then great, but the most important thing is how I treat myself. The moment I allow myself to rely on others to make me feel worthy, loved, deserving or beautiful, that’s the moment when I’m not really being me. And that’s just stupid.

Lastly, I’ve realised that the most painful part of last year and my biggest mistake was allowing people to take music away from me. I felt like I wasn’t good enough to perform or create music or dance or be a part of that world and it hurt like hell because that is my world. This year, I’m taking it back.

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So that’s my Happy New Year post! Not quite what I originally planned when I started typing but it’s done! I hope you all have an amazing 2016!

Over and out x

A very freaky thank you x

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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone!  I hope 2016 is fantastic and brings you everything you hope and dream!

The year 2015 has been an amazing adventure for me and it really started off with an incredible honour – being awarded Mitchell Shire Council’s Young Citizen of the Year on Australia Day.  This award meant the world to me and it wouldn’t have been possible without the help and support of so many awesome people.

Again, my involvement at OKR FM has continued to provide me with so many opportunities and learning experiences and I’ve cherished every moment.  My 150th Freak Show in September coincided with AFL Finals and I presented an AFL-themed show with some amazing interviews and special guests.  I travelled to Darwin to interview Abbey Holmes and spent some time with Scotty at HOT100 Darwin.

My special guests included Michael Egan, Ray Carroll and Catherine Mogridge and I was very excited by some surprise messages from a few Western Bulldogs players.  Of course, the amazing success of my adored Doggies in 2015 really made that time of year pretty special in 2015.  Thank you to every single person involved!

I was honoured to be invited to speak at some important events during 2015. The Mitchell Shire Council’s International Women’s Day function was a huge inspiration to me and speaking on behalf of young women in our local area was a privilege.  I also loved speaking at the Australian Local Government Women’s Association conference in May.  It was an emotional and proud experience for me, and meeting so many beautiful and successful women from many areas of local government was definitely a life-changing experience.  It was incredibly inspiring to be surrounded by women who have all contributed and achieved simply by sharing their gifts and passions with their communities and working as hard as they can.

As always, music has played a huge part in my life and there were some truly amazing moments.  One of my biggest dreams came true – seeing Fleetwood Mac perform live and being in the same place as Stevie Nicks was one of the greatest things I’ve ever experienced.  When she told a story about being young and having the dream to do something great and never giving up, and then looked straight at me and smiled – that was something I’ll never forget.

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Continuing with my own music tuition, education and experiences was a priority and a highlight for me in 2015 and I’ve been so lucky to meet some wonderful new people who are helping me and encouraging me with everything music-related on a whole new level.  I can’t wait to continue with my development and education in 2016.

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And then there was Real Freaks Think Pink and honestly, words can’t describe how amazing things have been.  I started 2015 wanting to do something important and make a difference, to honour the memory of a beautiful friend.

I could never have anticipated how much support I would receive – from the entire region, Melbourne-based organisations and even interstate. This experience has helped to shape the person I hope to become in the future.  With the help of so many remarkable people and businesses, I was able to raise $10,000 for the National Breast Cancer Foundation.  There are so many people to thank for this experience but I really want to acknowledge all of the local businesses and my local community – I will forever appreciate everything everyone did for this amazing cause.

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So as you can imagine, I’m hoping to achieve so much more in 2016!  I will definitely be doing more fundraising work for the National Breast Cancer Foundation and over the next 18 months I would like to raise $20,000.  This will also involve being a part of the 2017 Trek for a Cure with the NBCF and it’s a huge dream I hope to achieve.  I will also continue to develop Real Freaks Think Pink and my campaign to deliver Breast Cancer Awareness and Education workshops to all senior secondary students in Australia. If you are able to help in any way, please feel free to contact me.  I would greatly appreciate it!

I would also love to raise the profile of our wonderful station ORK FM in the Mitchell and Macedon Ranges Shires – so if you would like to catch up for a chat, please let me know!  I also hope to be able to contribute as much as possible to my local community in any way I can – especially through the Mitchell Shire Youth Council, the Mitchell Shire Volunteer Advisory Panel, the radio station and through my school community.

I have also recently been able to launch Freak Media and this will definitely be my life from now on, in both a personal and professional capacity, as I build my dreams for the future.  I continue to use the “Freak” reference in everything I do as I really feel that it represents who I am and just how special and awesome it is to be a freak! So I hope you’ll all join me in my adventures in music, radio, photography, journalism, fundraising and all the other crazy things I’ll get up to in 2016.

I would really like to say thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone for making 2015 an incredible year and for all your support, encouragement and love.  Everyone at OKR FM, everyone I have met and spent time with, all my wonderful supporters on social media, our local newspaper and council, the local business community who I adore and of course, my amazing family and friends who stand by me and help me with any crazy idea I throw at them – everything I am, is because I have you all by my side.  Thank you so much.

All my love,

Audrey Flannery

The Freak Show

 Email:              thefreakshow2000@gmail.com

Facebook:        www.facebook.com/freakshowradio

Blog:         https://prettylittlefreak.wordpress.com/

Instagram:       @__thefreakshow__

 

 

 

The Freak Show #158 – A selection of favourites…

I have an insane number of “favourite” songs and I often get the comment that they can’t really be favourites if there’s so many of them, because if something is really a “favourite” it means you prefer them over all others. Well I do prefer lots of songs over others.  For example, I prefer listening to Shake It Off by Taylor Swift over Stay by Rihanna but Shake It Off is NOT one of my favourite songs.  It’s a great song, but it’s not a favourite.  So therefore, I believe I’m allowed to have a huge number of favourite songs and I also believe it would take me about six months worth of shows to get through them all.

This show was definitely made up of songs I consider favourites.

Are you gonna be my girl? – JET

Blackbird – The Beatles

Champagne Supernova – OASIS

Nearly forgot my broken heart – Chris Cornell

I won’t back down – Tom Petty

Girls and Boys – Good Charlotte

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Love is Strange – Mickey and Sylvia

Don’t you forget about me – Simple Minds

Cool World – Mondo Rock

Running Bear – Johnny Preston

Paradise City – Guns N Roses

Baby did a bad bad thing – Chris Isaak

Every Morning – Sugar Ray

I want your love – Transvision Vamp

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Jolene – The White Stripes

Lump – Presidents of the United States

Mrs. Robinson – Simon and Garfunkle

Nobody’s Wife – Anouk

Paradise by the dashboard light – Meatloaf

Psycho Killer – Talking Heads

She’s so lovely – Scouting for girls

Nothing but a good time – Poison

So there you have it!

Now, since we’re on the topic of “favourite” things, I thought I might go all “raindrops-on-roses” on you all and tell you some of my other favourite things just because I can and so you can all get to know me a little bit better.

My favourite band is Guns N Roses.  Simple really.

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If I had to choose to listen to a song over every other song in existence, I can painfully narrow it down to three: When will I be loved by The Everly Brothers, November Rain by the Gunners and Creep by Radiohead.

My favourite music genre is Hair Metal and this is where I find my inner peace.

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My favourite colour is pink.  It reminds me of special people, special things and what I hope to achieve in my lifetime.

My favourite season is Summer.  I love swimming, watersports and being on the mighty Murray.

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My favourite movies are Ten things I hate about you, The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Nightmare on Elm Street (the original).  Like songs, I have a huge amount of favourite movies. My favourite “kids” movies are Barnyard, the Bee Movie and Monsters Inc.  My favourite horror movies are easily all the Child’s Play films and Showgirls…absolutely frightening.

My favourite TV shows are Game of Thrones, Awkward and Californication.

My favourite musical is The Rocky Horror Show or Victor Victoria, my favourite food is anything Italian, especially pizza, pasta and gelato and my favourite flavour ice-cream is vanilla.

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My favourite book is BFG by Roald Dahl, my favourite game is COD: Black Ops 2 or Mario Bros. and my favourite fashion items are Brite Organix hair products, anything I can find at Grandma Funk, piercings, band shirts and mascara.

My favourite school subject is Religion because I find it fascinating and I believe that I’m an extremely spiritual person, my favourite sport to play is soccer because I love putting my head down and knocking people over and my favourite sport to watch is AFL because I’ve been raised as a mad Bulldogs supporter and being a part of the wider Doggies community is just awesome.

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My most favourite place in the world I’ve travelled so far is Whitehaven Beach and I can’t imagine anywhere beating it to that title.

My last favourite thing is my Freak Show listeners.  I don’t think there’s too many of you out there but whoever you are, thank you!  Now go and listen to the show, because without you guys, I’m just a silly little freak talking to myself.

Peace out x

 

The Freak Show #157 – Exam Week and 2015

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During my last week of school for the year, I had exams.  I had planned to put time aside, after studying and working, to prepare a fabulous show. Unfortunately that didn’t actually happen and I went into panic mode a little bit the night before the show.  The result was to be lazy and choose a theme that I could put together fairly quickly that all the listeners would still enjoy.

So I went with “2015” and played some of the most successful tracks from this year.  I tried to cover most styles and even though I don’t make it a priority to listen to a lot of current mainstream music, I really enjoyed putting the show together and there’s quite a few songs on there that I really do love!

Renegades by X Ambassadors was an absolute revelation. I have liked the song since the first time I heard it, but after looking into it for more information, I really did fall in love.  The music video is brilliant and tells the story of several people with disabilities being amazing and working hard to overcome anything life throws at them.  This message was really special and personal for X Ambassadors as their band member Casey Harris has been blind since birth.  I found it to be so beautiful, emotional and inspirational and it reminded me of some really special people who have definitely inspired me.

It was a bit of a coincidence that I bumped into one of those people recently, around the same time as school exams.  Ahmed Kelly is without doubt, a huge inspiration to me.  His achievements have been incredible, despite many challenges.  More the point, when you know Ahmed, you find that those challenges don’t even factor into things – he just lives his life, doing what he loves and making the most of every single moment.  And he always seems to give me a bit of a hard time about what I’m doing with my life.  The first thing he always asks about is school and wants to know if I’m working hard enough and doing well.  Well Ahmed, if you’re reading this, you’ll be pleased to know that I did very well in all my exams and at speech night and you’d be very happy with me!

The next thing he always talks to me about is my involvement with community radio.  He’s always been really supportive and encouraging, telling me to keep at it and keep following my dreams no matter what.  After a catch up with Ahmed, even just for a few minutes, I always walk away feeling like I can take on the world.  I think we can all get so hung up on our limitations and feelings of not being good enough or capable of doing something, especially when we get rejected or knocked back or we don’t do well at something we really, really want or we miss an opportunity.  I feel that way sometimes about music.

My school principal recently introduced me to a brilliant concept and it kind of put a title to the way in which I see the world and how I try to overcome those feelings of inadequacy or limitation.  And it works for me.  When I don’t succeed at something, it doesn’t have to end there – it’s all just a matter of timing.  It’s not a “no”, it’s a “not yet” and if I keep at it and work harder and harder every single day, that “not yet” will turn into a “yes” or “I did it”.  That’s exactly how I’m approaching my music education and development from now on, and everything else for that matter!

So there you have it.  It’s quite extraordinary how planning a show and listening to one song can make you interpret your feelings, think about some pretty amazing things and stir up so many thoughts and emotions.  It’s a pretty wonderful thing.

Anyway, enough from me.  Please have a listen and enjoy x

 

The Freak Show #156 – Randomness is Awesomeness

I’m desperately trying to catch up with posting my last few shows!  It’s been a pretty crazy few weeks so I haven’t had the opportunity to just sit down and get it all done!  Until now…

For this particular show, I sat down with the ipad and just started scrolling through my music.  I decided I was going to look for any songs I didn’t think I had played on The Freak Show before.

I actually think I did quite well – I mean, where else are you going to hear Elton John, Suzi Quatro, Taylor Swift, Public Enemy, Buzzcocks, Poison, Fishbone and many others, all in the same show?

I think you should click on this fabulous little link and have a listen for yourself!

 

The Freak Show #155 – Trombone Appreciation!

 

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So this show was basically designed to show everyone how much and why I love the trombone.  You can listen to the show to hear all about it.  I’ve included the link below so all you need to do is click on it and have a listen.  But I also wanted to tell you about the more personal side of it all.

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I love the trombone.  Not many people do and honestly, that’s a big part of why I find it so appealing.  At the start of high school, we were randomly allocated an instrument for band class.  I got given a trombone.  My first thought was “what the hell am I going to do with this thing?” but as time went on and I started learning all about it, I realised that this instrument was made for me.

Nobody wanted the trombone.  It was a curse to be avoided at all costs.  And initially, I felt that way too. I went home and bitched to my mum about being allocated the trombone and I was annoyed that I was going to have to lug this huge, heavy thing to and from school. Its funny how that’s become another big reason why I love it as much as I do.

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I’m not particularly good at playing the trombone.  But when I do, I get lost.  I feel almost invisible and I really like that feeling where music is concerned.  That instrument is nearly as big as me so that means I can hide behind it.  It literally blocks my whole head and most of my upper body and all I’m there for, is to breathe life into it.  I’m not a person when I’m holding my trombone, I’m merely a life source for a far greater and more impressive object than my human form.  That’s not meant to sound angsty – it’s actually an amazing feeling.

It’s also so very loud.  That means I can’t really think.  It drowns out my thoughts and whatever else my brain tries to do and that’s also a good thing because there’s no distractions – just music. And seriously, another upside is definitely all the “boner” references.  Who doesn’t love a good “boner” joke?

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I’ve made myself a pretty huge list of resolutions and goals for 2016 and one of them is to spend more time practising and trying to improve my trombone skills because it really is something that brings me happiness and satisfaction.  Let’s see how that goes!

So there you have it! Go and listen to the show x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Freak Show #154 – Happy Songs

So for my most recent show, I simply chose a list of “happy” songs.  They are all songs that make me smile or laugh or feel all warm and fuzzy.  One of the songs you’ll hear is the Time Warp from the Rocky Horror Picture Show.

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Thinking back as far as I can remember, The Rocky Horror Picture Show always seemed to be on our television.  It’s mum’s favourite movie and she introduced me to the film when I was really little.  Of course at the time, I had no idea what the movie was really about.  There was just lots of singing and dancing and cool costumes and weird stuff, so from the very beginning, I became addicted.  I began watching it more often and as I got a little older, I slowly started to realise that this movie wasn’t just about a whole heap of nerdy-looking people dressing up and dancing and having a good time.  And that’s when I really started to appreciate everything about this incredible movie released 40 years ago.

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So let’s go back for a little bit of history…

The Rocky Horror Picture Show is a 1975 musical comedy horror film directed by Jim Sharman. The screenplay was written by Sharman and Richard O’Brien based on the 1973 musical stage production, The Rocky Horror Show, music, book and lyrics by O’Brien. The show is a satirical tribute to science fiction/horror movies of the 1930s through early 1970’s, most obviously those created by Hammer Film Productions – a company who specialised in creating awesome horror movies during these decades.  A number of props and set pieces were used from the Hammer horror films in the production of the RHPS, which just makes it all even more awesome!

Anyway, the story is about a young couple, newly engaged and quite innocent and conservative, and what happens after their car breaks down in the rain in the middle of nowhere.  They have to visit a nearby castle to ask for help and everything that happens from that point on is just insane and fabulous and wicked and ridiculous and everything else you can think of.  It involves a mad alien transvestite scientist, a Frankenstein-ish perfect man-toy creation, out-of-control servants, a murdered ex-lover, a very informative criminologist, the mass loss of virtue, lots of corsetry and of course – a massive amount of brilliant music and dancing and seriously, it’s a 100-minute explosion of pure awesomeness!

Ok. So at the time of the film’s release, it wasn’t considered to be anything special and it actually received some pretty ordinary reviews – however soon after, the film was given the midnight run in theatres and that’s when it’s popularity grew.  It developed an enormous cult following and this still exists today – 40 years on.  The film is famous for its audience participation with people attending in costume, re-enacting the scenes, throwing things up in the air and calling out responses to the characters throughout the movie.  Four decades after its release, the RHPS has the longest-running theatrical release in film history.

Now I’m not going to talk anymore about what happens in the movie because dammit – you should already know and if you don’t, you should sort that out pretty quick.  What I am going to do is tell you a couple of reasons why I love it so much.

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As I said, I’ve known this movie as long as I can remember.  I know every line, every lyric and every moment like the back of my hand.  And in all honesty, this movie has some pretty awesome childhood memories attached to it.  I love the fact that whenever mum watches it, she sings and carries on at the top of her lungs.  It’s so bad but so completely cool at the same time.  She loves when all of us kids sing along with her and she gets this absolute look of pride and satisfaction when we sing or quote lines from the movie out of nowhere.

I remember one night in particular.  My dad had taken a few of my siblings up to the river for the night and it was only me, mum and my youngest sister left at home.  I think Mabel was about five years old and mum and I had planned to watch the RHPS after she went to bed.  She just wouldn’t go to sleep so mum decided that it was time for her to see the movie for the first time.  She stayed awake for the entire movie and was so fascinated and into it, sitting bolt-upright and constantly asking us questions like “is that a boy or a girl?” and “why are the boys wearing girl’s undies?”  Of course, she was already well and truly familiar with the music, so it was just a matter of her learning that there was a story and characters attached to that music.  She still has no idea what the movie is really about, but she loves watching it as often as possible – just like I did at that age.  It’s pretty cute.

Another reason I love this movie is because it’s brilliant.  Not brilliant because I love it – brilliant because it’s clever, funny, bizarre and just managed to create this amazing cultural phenomenon that could live forever.  I believe film to be a little bit different to music in that respect.  If you don’t get to see a musician or band perform live before they retire or die, you’ve missed out on that experience altogether.  You can watch live footage and listen to the songs and still love every minute of it, but you can’t see them in their essence, doing what they did best.  Movies like the RHPS don’t have this problem.  You can still see it at a theatre and I’m going to make the call right now that I don’t think that will ever change.  I believe there will always be a theatre somewhere in the world that will screen the Rocky Horror Picture Show until the end of time!

For me, I also love the sense of community this movie creates.  It’s a little bit like the Comic Con thing.  You know you can dress up and geek out over all sorts of insanely cool stuff and nobody is there to judge you – in fact, they’re there for the exact same reason.  It’s the same with the RHPS.  Everyone is there for the same experience and to appreciate the same things.  Upon it’s release, this movie appealed to the outcasts, the nerds, the film and music enthusiasts and the weirdos and it still does, although it has become a little more mainstream.  You know you’re a genuine RHPS freak when you dress up as Columbia whenever you can and you sit there watching and studying the movie, learning all the spots to call out inappropriate comments, just so when the day finally comes when you’re able to attend the real thing – you’re ready.  It’s a serious thing.

So The Rocky Horror Picture Show makes me happy.  It always has and it always will.  That’s why the Time Warp featured on this show.

Go and have a listen x

The Freak Show #153 – 15th October 2015 – Teen Angst

Ok, so this post is a little bit overdue but I’m still getting used to the idea of writing ABOUT my shows – instead of simply writing them to present on air.  And this piece has probably been the trickiest thing I’ve ever attempted to write.  Instead of trying to answer everything myself, I’ve asked a lot of questions.  Firstly, to try and explain what I’m thinking and also, to encourage your own thoughts on it all.

A couple of weeks ago, I presented a “teen angst” show and it was a really silly thing that prompted it.  I made a comment to a friend, who is my age, about only listening to Nirvana because it was the done thing for angsty teens and it really got me thinking.

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Smells Like Teen Spirit, released by Nirvana in 1991, is absolutely considered one of the greatest “teen angst” anthems of all time.  Many statements have been thrown around: “an anthem for the apathetic kids of Generation X”, “an anthem for (or is it against?) the ‘Why Ask Why?’ generation” and a “teen revolution anthem”.

On researching the song, the lyrics and reading hundreds of different interpretations and articles, I can’t help but to question how my generation still identifies with this song over 20 years later.  I’m not one to judge anyone’s reasons for listening to a certain style, artist or song but I do have this curiosity about what other young people enjoy about Nirvana and I thought I’d write about my own observations.  And as I do so, I seriously don’t mean to offend anyone or change anyone’s personal opinion – they’re just my own observations.

Nobody can argue the fact that Nirvana were “game-changers”.  They were extremely successful and influential in ways that could never have been predicted.  They gave a face to the Seattle grunge movement, which had been largely underground and unrecognised in the mainstream music industry, and this enabled other acts to emerge and other styles to gain recognition.  Nirvana were huge and Kurt Cobain become an unofficial spokesperson for an entire generation.  And that’s putting it all very simply.

But my generation, we weren’t even around then.  The cultural, social and emotional effects of Nirvana will never be felt directly by any of us.  We didn’t see them perform, we didn’t hang for every new song or album to be released and we didn’t know life any differently to what we know now.  So out of hundreds of artists and songs throughout music history – why Nirvana and why Smells Like Teen Spirit?

A common answer I’ve found is that young people feel they get the lyrics, and I understand that because it’s a huge reason I like many songs.  But in my opinion, a lot of the lyrics made no sense. They were all over the place and showed no recognisable sentiment for anything in particular.  There was little consistency, little fluency and at times, they literally meant nothing at all – and this was confirmed by Kurt Cobain himself.  He was constantly frustrated by the fact that fans and music commentators would try to dissect and interpret his lyrics, when he had literally written them in five minutes or he just thought they sounded good and worked.  This has even been talked about by band member Dave Grohl, who witnessed Cobain literally throwing words together in minutes.

And when the lyrics did mean something to Cobain, they drew on some pretty dark themes and interesting concepts and I know that young people experience some crap times and some ordinary life circumstances, but the thing is Kurt Cobain hated his life and he became a drug addict and he killed himself.  He hated the fame, he hated the attention and he hated the fact that the public constantly studied his every move and every word he spoke, believing they knew how he was feeling and what he was going through, when for the most part – he tried hard to disguise all of that stuff.

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So it just confuses me a little bit that young people today seem to think of Kurt Cobain as some sort of hero or God.  Is he worshipped because young people truly appreciate the impact Cobain and Nirvana had on music?  Is he worshipped because he was a dark soul with obvious demons he struggled with?  Is he worshipped because he died?  And if Kurt was still alive today, would people still worship him?

Consider this:

In a June 2014 interview, singer Lana Del Ray expressed admiration for several artists who died young, including Kurt Cobain, and added, “I wish I was dead already… I do. I don’t want to have to keep doing this“.

Frances Cobain (daughter of Kurt Cobain) responded on her Twitter account: “I’ll never know my father because he died young and it becomes a desirable feat because people like you think it’s ‘cool’… Well, it’s fucking not. Embrace life, because you only get one life. The people you mentioned wasted that life. Don’t be one of those people“.

Del Rey subsequently stated that her words were taken out of context.

Another other interesting thing relevant to young people today is that when you listen to Nirvana, most of the time, you can’t actually understand the lyrics, which means you need to look them up on google to really know what Cobain was saying.  And when you do look them up, most of the time you find that they aren’t really straight-forward at all, so you try to interpret what they mean.  And when you can’t interpret what they mean, you read other people’s interpretations and you choose to go with what you like and what best represents your own personal needs and the cycle begins all over again.

There’s nothing wrong with finding your own place within a song and the lyrics meaning something to you personally – I do it all the time! But if you’ve been grasping at the fact that you can identify with Kurt Cobain and the ups and downs of his life or of being a teenager because of a song he wrote – you might need to think again because that was a huge factor contributing to Kurt’s displeasure and dissatisfaction in performing and fame.  He never wanted to be the spokesperson the fans forced him to be.  He just wanted to make his music.

Ok, so I’ve actually stopped myself here and I’ve deleted a lot of writing because as I said to a friend of mine – I don’t want to sound douchey.  I definitely don’t want it to sound like I’m not a Nirvana fan because I am.  I have an enormous appreciation for what they achieved and for the role they played in music history and for everything that took place from that point on.  I enjoy listening to Nirvana.

So I’m going to finish up with one more question:  What do you think today’s equivalent to Smells Like Teen Spirit is?

I have my moments of being an angsty teen, so have a listen to the songs I chose to prove my point.

Audrey x

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The Freak Show #152 – 8th October 2015 – Hair Metal

I’ve been raised listening to A LOT of hair metal. As a result, I can honestly say that it’s my favourite style and era of music in every way.

Hair metal artists showed different degrees of theatrics with their hair, make up and costuming, yet they could still rock like you wouldn’t believe.  The visual style of it all is very cool to me.  I love the long, big, teased hair, the headbands and hats, the tight jeans and leather pants, the big black boots and I even like the make-up.  I love the fact that these grown men were perfectly happy to get into their all their gear, which definitely pushed society’s idea of what a male rocker should look like, and get up on stage and go berserk and scream and sing and even just sit there with their guitars and sing some of the most beautiful love songs of all time.  It’s awesome.

Now I love the style of it all but even more than that – I love the song writing.  There’s a really wide variety of stories told in hair metal music.  There was a pretty heavy drinking theme going on back then, it was the whole rock star/groupie theme where you play music all night, get drunk and then have girls throwing themselves at you.  There was a lot of that and sometimes, even doing all three at the same time! But they could also belt out an unbelievable love song – something that could really reach in and take over your emotions and make you cry.  Rockers had feelings and these guys weren’t afraid to show it!

Another one of my favourite things about hair metal is the amazing talent of some of the guitarists! We’re not just talking about guys who could play, we’re talking about some of the best guitarists of all time and also some of the best guitar tracks and solos of all time. Eddie Van Halen, Slash, CC DeVille, Mick Mars, Vito Bratta, Ace Frehley and Ritchie Sambora are all well known guitarists from the hair metal movement and they’re all absolute freaks.

My two favourite hair metal bands are Guns N Roses and Poison.

I’ve loved Poison from a very early age.  Of course, I love all of the things that I’ve already mentioned – their style, appearance, performance quality, songwriting – but I also love the definite influence of blues and southern rock – giving the band and their music a bit more of a fun and approachable tone compared to others.  This was definitely helped by Bret Michaels having a real cowboyish twang happening and I have to admit, it just completely sucks me in. I watch Poison music videos and concert footage and it really annoys me that I wasn’t around to enjoy hair metal as it happened or to meet Bret Michaels when he was younger.

The disturbing reality here, is that Bret Michaels is now 52 years old.  Disturbing because I think I could be in love with him.  It’s like that scene out of the Wedding Singer where Linda and Robbie are discussing why she ditched him at the alter.  “I think I’ve figured out what’s been bothering me. I’m not in love with Robbie, now. I’m in love with Robbie, six years ago. Robbie, the lead singer of Final Warning; I used to come watch you when you were in your silk shirt and Spandex pants, and you would sing into the microphone like you were David Lee Roth”.

Well I’m not in love with Bret Michaels now, I’m in love with Bret Michaels, twenty seven years ago.  I need to get some kind of magic letterbox, all Lakehouse-style, so I can have the romance I feel I’ve missed out on!

corbis_rm_photo_of_bret_michaels

Anyway, now I’ve grossed you all out and regardless of my little crush, it’s a huge dream of mine to meet Bret Michaels and I’d love to interview him.  I have a huge appreciation for Poison and the impact they had at the time and more the point, the impact their music has had on me and I hope he’d be impressed by the fact there are some fans (aka stalkers) out there from the younger generations.

Guns N Roses is my all-time favourite band in general.  I could go on all day about the Gunners but I’ve decided to save that for another time.

I’ve rambled enough.  Go and listen to the show!

 

The Freak Show #151 – 1st October 2015 – Rock Chicks

This show was inspired by the fact that I’ve been a little anxious over the past couple of weeks at the thought of singing at my school music soiree.  Actually, it scares me more than anything else.  Standing up in front of all those people knowing I’ll probably sound like a drowning cat, makes me break out in hives.  It’s a bit of a fear for me even though I’ve happily danced in front of hundreds of people for years and I’ve been pretty comfortable with singing musical theatre – but for some reason, this just stresses me out.

I’ve been asked to prepare Landslide with only acoustic guitar accompaniment and of course, it’s a song I truly love but come on – me singing Stevie?  It makes no sense to me.  Anyway, I’ve been rehearsing a bit and taking inspiration from all my favourite female vocalists, to try and get me over the line.  So I put together a playlist of not only my favourites, but other female vocalists who I admire for different reasons.  And there’s a definite rock influence there – it’s the style I would like to perform myself.

School singing tuition does my head in a bit.  I want to be there because I want to learn and improve and become a stronger vocalist but there just seems to be this huge emphasis on learning to sing songs that really don’t suit my voice and songs I can’t connect with.  And I get it’s all part of the learning process, but I feel like I’m only learning to sing really badly.

In dancing terms, I’d refer to these songs as “lyrical / contemporary” – songs with angsty emotion, maybe a painful story, something you really need to portray when you dance through your body, movement and expression.  But the thing is, singing is very different to dancing.  Sure it’s all performing but how I see it is that you can be an average technical dancer and still tell the story and effect people with your expression and connection and by bringing in your own personal experiences and interpretations.  It’s like that whole scene from Napoleon Dynamite.

With singing, if you open your mouth and sound like crap – there’s really no going back from that.

I really admire singers at school who can go in there and sing all the songs young people want to hear. Rhianna, Taylor Swift, Beyonce, Ariana Grande, Katy Perry, Lorde, Jessie J, Demi Lovato – these are the artists young people want to hear and they’ve given us the lyrics young people identify with today.  And that’s fine – they’re absolutely amazing artists but they’re just not me and they don’t represent how I want to express myself musically.

If I had to pick the female artists who influence me the most – I’d go with Stevie Nicks, Debbie Harry, Joan Jett, Shirley Manson, Wendy James and Alanis Morrisette – so clearly, singing songs like “Stay” by Rhianna is going to annoy me.  Nice song and all but the moral of the story is that I’m not the type to beg anyone to stay so why the hell would I want to sing about it?

One quote really stood out to me and I used it in the show.  It was from Pat Benatar, talking about her transition from musical theatre to rock music.  Of course, I don’t have to worry about the bit about being overly technical, but it was the rest of the quote that really affected me.

“I was 22 by the time I started to sing rock, so at first I was overly technical. That proved to be inhibiting so it was a disadvantage until I began to sing intuitively. That’s the only way to sing rock – from your gut level feelings. It’s the instinct that the best singers have”.

And that’s how it’s done.

Anyway, back to the show!  I think it was a good list.  A bit of variety, different ages and styles and definitely different influences.  Other than the artists I mentioned above, I also featured Dolly Parton, Cyndi Lauper, Gwen Stefani, Dusty Springfirled, Lily Allen and quite a few more so maybe you just need to have a listen for yourself.

Click on the link below for a listen and get your rock chick on!