Everything I Need

Everything I Need is the 6th clip to be lifted from An Ear To The Earth. Filmed by Paul Melnyk in a home that was being gutted for renovations – in fact a home in which Mark spent a large portion of his childhood. This is also the first clip that features Mark’s band – the very same line up who recorded an Ear To The Earth a year ago in a empty guesthouse -live and straight to 1″ reel to reel tape – almost a year ago. Jamie Hutchings on percussion, Scott Hutchings on drums, Lee Hutchings on clarinet, Reuben Wills on double bass and Adam Lang on banjo. Mark posted a nostalgic ramble on his Facebook page a couple of days ago which provides a little background on the history of the house the clip is filmed in. You can read that piece below…

A couple of weeks back
We filmed clip no. 6 in a house
where I spent 1/2 of my childhood
A house where as a nipper
we ran around around the feet
of Jamie and Scott Hutchings’ Dad, Lee,
as he practiced his
leaning intensely
over his charts
spread across the dining room table
Artie Shaw and Benny Goodman licks
Myxolydian Scales
Trills, triplets and fingers flying
I still say my love of jazz
comes from listening to him
and his record collection
hearing him play
tenor/soprano sax
their old house in the Eastern Suburbs
is being gutted for renovations
it’s currently an empty shell full of memories
Of music we made as kids
9 years old
Charging our parents to watch us
Miming to Beatle records in suits
Early noisy attempts at starting bands
The Fallen Scarecrows (is what we called ourselves)
listening to
The Church, The Celibate Rifles, The Plunderers, Spy Vs Spy, Split Enz, Midnight Oil, Happy Hate Me Nots, Ups and Downs, The Stems mixed with Miles Davis, Chet Baker, Wes Montgomery and Charlie Parker
A barrage of happy noise

It was perfect timing for me
to return to their home
with the greatest of old friends
Scott, Jamie, Lee and
(their) Brother-in-law Reuben (brother I never had)
old (newer) friend Adam Lang
and film a clip
for one of the songs on
An Ear To The Earth that Lee played on
– Everything I Need –
amongst the demolition, bricks and debris
before it all disappeared
beneath a new facade
all those years in the rubble…

Post To Wire: Six Strings


Six Strings on Post To Wire

Thanks to the wonderful folk/americana blog, Post To Wire, for having a chat with me this week for their regular Six Strings feature. (and for the 8/10 review) Want to hear me rambling about my parents 70’s dress sense, old Holdens (or was it a Valiant?), boom boxes, Marc Ribot, Neil Young, Dylan, touring with The Church and nostalgia filled tunes? Read the interview here.


The New Album Finds A Home (..And I Return To Where It All Began)

Well folks, once again I have found a musical home.

As most of you likely realise, sometimes we all feel the need sometimes to return back to the place where everything began. Somewhere that feels comfortable, where the smiles are reassuring and the smells are familiar. A place where you can put your feet up and not be scolded. A place where you’re surrounded by friends, encouraging banter and off in the kitchen there is always an open fire burning and a  pot of soup on the stove. The kind of home where you can stand around an old, out of tune upright piano ’til late at night and harmonise to Bing Crosby tunes with a glass of gin pressed in your hand. Where is that homely musical haven for me? I’m glad you asked.

As it turns out it’s the place where I started. Stuart Coupe at Laughing Outlaw Records was the first person to show some musical faith in me when he signed a pretty naive and wet behind the ears 4 piece band that I was involved in called Hitchcock’s Regret, way back somewhere in the vicinity of 1999-2000. We released a couple of albums on Laughing Outlaw and left after recording our 3rd (and last) – releasing endless_intermission on Spacejunk. A label run by our producer at the time, Tim Powles (drummer/producer for The Church).

Now, years later, here I stand (actually, here I sit)  ready to release solo album number 2 into the ether and find myself lingering at the very gates where the first  symphonious seed was planted. So it is with no further ado that I’d like to announce that my latest 10 track long player will be released on April 5th on Laughing Outlaw Records and Inertia distribution. Here’s hoping that you, dear reader, will join me for the ride. Loads more music/videos/details coming very soon…..


A While Between Gins…..

Hey Folks
Yeah, it’s been a while between drinks
Although it may not have seemed like much has been going on lately
(if you’re a regular visitor to this site)
Plenty has been going on behind the scenes
First I had to get over a mammoth bout of writers block
My first thankfully and hopefully my last
To reboot my brain freeze I pushed myself into unfamiliar territory
I started by writing no songs at all about myself…
No confessionals, no heart on the sleeve, no crying in my gin
This time I wanted to tell stories about others (more interesting already yeah?)
I also wanted to incorporate some of the other side of my musical background
Styles I’d usually try to keep seperate from my own music
This time some riotous Dixie, calypso (yeah I was even in a calypso band once)
Late night mexican infused jazz (?)
European and Country waltzes
And some good old fashioned holler and stomp
Next I also decided to record these songs differently as well
Throw myself into a completely new environment
Every album I’ve ever made so far has been with the help of my two very good friends
Michael Carpenter and timEbandit Powles (The Church)
They have been my long suffering creative partners from day 1 – my safety net
I’ve always wandered into their studios and sat down at the computers for a couple of weeks
And slowly crafted my songs with their generous help
This time I jumped into the deep end of the studio pool
And decided to record the whole thing as live as possible straight to 1″ tape
Not a computer in the room
I asked my good friend Jamie Hutchings to produce.
Jamie has produced the bulk of the Bluebottle Kiss back catalogue, his own solo albums and albums for The Maladies, Peabody, Browning and more
He added his familiar spit, grit and sandpaper to the tunes
We even co-wrote a couple
We all rehearsed hard for the months leading up to the recording
Jamie on electric guitar and percussion, Scott (his brother) on drums and percussion
Reuben Wills on double bass and Adam Lang on banjo, lap slide and pedal steel
Then it was next decided to take this recording out of the studio environment
We dragged engineer Chris Colquhoun’s home studio into a empty guest house at Avalon
We recorded the 5 piece band completely live over 3 days
Then we recorded a few sparse overdubs – horns and background vocals
It’ll be awhile now before we get the final results – a few months most likely
I’ll keep you updated here. I have uploaded a Recording Diary full of photos from the sessions here.
I’ve also started a tumblr page so as to keep a photo diary of the albums progress.
Have a browse, there’s plenty to see and read about the upcoming album already…

In the meantime I’m playing a show with two of the Central Coast’s finest – Sarah Humphreys and Mike McCarthy. You can find all the details on the Upcoming Shows page

Last Show For 2011

I’ll be closing this year by playing one final Sydney show with my good friend Jamie Hutchings before heading into the studio early next year to start recording the follow up to The Waiting Room. This’ll be the last chance to come along and have a listen to a few of the newies before we commit them to tape. I’ll be joined by Adam Lang (Suitcase drums, glock, banjo, lapslide, guitar) Jochen Gutsch experimental multi-instrumentalist from HINTERLANDT will join us on trumpet and bassist Reuben Wills may be joining us for a couple of tunes. (you’ll have to come along to find out). Actually you can see a clip of this line up in action, filmed live at The Vanguard a few months ago, here. Tix are onsale now. Details/online bookings info is on the Upcoming Shows page.

PS In other news a new clip for the song “Troubled Genius” (a song inspired by the Phil Spector murder trial) is now up on YouTube – created by Canadian David Duchow -who has made numerous clips for Oz legends The Church. The clip features a trippy collection of histories troubled genuises….see if you can spot them all.

The Church Presents: UNIVERSE WITHIN

Mark will be appearing as a special guest, along with members of The Whitlams, Brian Jonestown Massacre, Karma County, Mercy Arms, Kneviel and more at The Red Rattler (6 Faversham Street, Marrickville) with The Church on Thursday 23rd of June at a special event entitled Universe Within – to raise money for Autism Awareness. See details below.

Autism Awareness and Benefit Gig
with members of
the church
and special eclectic guests.

Steve Kilbey, Peter Koppes and Tim Powles  (also  appearing at this one-time only as The Refo:mation) and special guests.Steve Kilbey, Peter Koppes and Tim Powles announce UNIVERSE WITHIN, an Autism Awareness and Benefit Gig.  This very special one-off performance, which sees the three taking the stage with an array of special guests, will be held at The Red Rattler in Marrickville on June 23, and will donate money raised to the not-for-profit organisation, Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect).Autism spectrum disorders affect at least 1 in 160 people.  Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that remains largely misunderstood by the community, despite its prevalence and far-reaching consequences.  Early intervention and treatment of the disorder opens up the best opportunities for progress so that many people with Autism can lead productive lives.Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect) works in partnership with families and service providers, offering evidence-based interventions for individual needs, including early intervention services, assessments, workshops, volunteer support, and outreach programs.  Aspect also offers services for adults with Autism spectrum disorders.  All programs rely on community support and aim to maximize learning potential, participation, and independence by increasing capacity and confidence.As well as musical performances,  the UNIVERSE WITHIN Autism Awareness and Benefit Gig will also feature artworks and photographs for sale and/or auction and involvement from Aspect representatives.  What’s more, we are told that “a special treat may be in store for some Church fans hankering to hear some songs from the Refo:mation” (Tim Powles).There will be no door charge on the night.  Instead, punters are asked to be generous and dig as deep as you can by leaving a completely tax deductable donation on entry of around $60. (Tax deductible receipt can be issued)http://www.facebook.com/thechurchbandhttp://www.thechurchband.net/

For more information on Autism spectrum disorders, visit: http://www.autismspectrum.org.au/ or call the Autism Information Line on 1800 069 978