Blackface History: Research links so you don’t have to…

There are so many things to be angry about in Australia at the moment. The High Court ruling over refugees is one, the disgusting online misogyny displayed towards singer Clairy Browne (please have a read and support her because it is horrifying), but I feel it is necessary to write about another one here. Obviously the issue is more frustrating for Indigenous Australians than a privileged white man such as I, but it is something that is so easy to understand. That is blackface, and something that is related to music that I make.
 
I am inspired by many American styles, that is obvious, but there are corners of the music that I love that has sinister and horrible ramifications, namely people with pale skin imitating people with dark skin in a way that mocks, denigrates and humiliates. Shockingly it still happens. And in Australia. It happened last week and when some Indigenous Australian musicians such as Briggs and Thelma Plum called the perpetrators on it and subsequently they were abused online.
 
But it isn’t difficult to understand why it is offensive. As Briggs said “they’re grown men who can educate themselves…” (http://www.abc.net.au/triplej/programs/hack/briggs-calls-out-blackface-photo/7129830).
 
So if you are someone who is mystified as to why blackface is offensive, have a watch. 

 AND

And sure, this video is from the US, but don’t just think it only happened there. Blackface minstrel shows occurred here. Click on the words below.
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In summary, blackface is offensive because it mocks people with darker coloured skin than those perpetrating the offence. So don’t do it. Do you still find it difficult to understand why blackface is offensive?

Video Clips, Pythons, Butchers and Touring

I forgots to tell you about the whole video clip/tour shebang!

It might not come as a surprise but I am not a huge fan of old mate Tony Abbott. And the kind of things he does to the vulnerable people of this country and the environment and so forth.

As he began to gain popularity back a few years ago I collected a few of the sillier quotes he made and fashioned them into a song, which with the help of my band is Python Squeeze, Cobra Strike.

Then on the day after the election when he won office, I sat down and wrote this rather unsubtle lyric for The Butcher, which became a song with the help of my guitarist Chris Bancroft.

Thanks to my producer/engineer/mixer extraordinaire and master masterer Geoff McGahan, plus my band Chris, Costas Constantinou on bass, Scott Nosworthy on drums, Andrew Garton on baritone sax/horn arrangements and Lachlan McKenzie on trumpet.

Video Clip Details

Director – Jimi Beavis
Camera – Christie Favios
Editor – Costas Constantinou

Shot in Margate (Redcliffe), Fortitude Valley (Brisbane) and West End (Brisbane).

Cast:
Chris Bancroft – Tony Abbott
Ishwor Gahatraj – Tony Abbott
Talulah Song – Tony Abbott

Advisers, nodders, dignitaries, politicians, plebeians, puppy wranglers, journalists, prop suppliers and flags: Ciana Wilson, Johnny Meyer, Geoff Wilson, Caity Knaggs, Jimi Beavis, Simon Munro, Doivid Clarke, Danny Wynne, Kate Walton, Steve Stevie Stevens, Han Choi, The Jade, Aya Goin, Rachel, and Pup Puppy.

7 inch release and touring
And so now we shall tour! Very close in fact… And I will have with me a limited edition  7 inch vinyl release and some t-shirts to go with it! Or you can just buy the shirts, the 7 inch or a digital copy online through Bandcamp. Also check the links below for the FB event pages and follow the links there for pre-sales tickets. Hope to see you soon!

Sept 18 @ The Spotted Cow, Toowoomba with Suicide Swans and Average Art Club
Sept 25 @ The Catfish, Melbourne with headlingers King Wolf and Koral
Sept 26 @ Billy Roy’s Blues Club, Bendigo with Rich Davies and Ayleen O’Hanlon
Sept 27 @ Labour In Vain, Melbourne
Oct 9 @ The Milk Factory, Brisbane with Suicide Swans and The Mighty Kind (PRE-GIG TIX ON SALE)
Oct 10 @ The Rails, Byron Bary
Oct 18 @ The Bison Bar, Nambour with The Hi-Boys (PRE-GIG TIX ON SALE)

About To Drop…

People say “what is happening, man?” and I often wonder if they are being polite or wanting to know so I get to fixing them with a stare that opens up their insides and I see right down to their deepest desires. It is actually a little horrifying but at least I find out amongst all that lust and revenge and puppies is the truth and lately it has been wondering where my gigs at.

Well I have done a couple of shows with my man Paul Renton over two weekends as Renton Beavis where we do some songs we don’t often do with our bands and also get out to the country. I am back now and getting ready to drop a bomb… Music and a video clip and all sorts.

To hint at what I am saying here are photos (if you are on my FB then you will already know):

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My bass player Costas may or may not be editing a video clip.

 

 

 

 

 

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Possibly listening back to a masters for a single 7″ release.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Could very well be fixing my non-slide guitar so I can finish a song composition for the 2016 album.

 

What is Americana? My Top 10 Favourites. By Number 2 You Will Be Shocked, by Number 6 Your Jaw Will Hit The Ground. By Number 10 You Will Be Applauding Loudly.

Many people have their definitions of “Americana”. Or they call it “roots”, “folk” or “finely crafted narratives of despair, the land and uplifting choruses”. I see it as a mix of the great music that has come out of a culture or cultures that has so impacted the world for better or worse.

I am influenced more heavily by American music than Australian. Perhaps because the United States and Canada had a few hundred years more on Australia to develop a unique culture. Perhaps this is because by the time Australia was developing its own, new media thrust music at us from all over the world in increasingly easy to access ways and in a very short time so we weren’t able to create something quite as unique . So now my music is a reflection of my environment but played through a frame of Americana: Blues, jazz, country, acoustic folk, bluegrass, funk, soul, Latin and all that brew that comes from a clash and enveloping of cultures.

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So as I prepare to give you An Evening of Americana at West End’s The Bearded Lady featuring blues/rock n roll (my band), rockabilly (The Hi-Boys) and country (Bridget O’Shannessy) and on the eve of America’s Independence Day, here is in no particular order a top 10 of some of my favourite Americana albums:

The Band – The Band: A massive influence on my current songwriting and recordings. Like a novel played out in all the great ways of music.

Into The Music – Van Morrison: Sir Van mixes his trademark soul and Celtic roots, along with talk of Muddy Waters and a little gospel.

Pull Up Some Dust And Sit DownRy Cooder: Ry played slide on Sir Van’s album above and spent so long playing beautiful covers of blues, country, soul and being a side man or soundtrack composer, he may have been overlooked as a songwriter. Not anymore. Blimey this is good and throws in some Tex-Mex as well.

Car Wheels On A Gravel Road – Lucinda Williams: It took about six years to make this album and I am thankful for it. Every snap of the drums, every guitar line, every superlative vocal and harmony. Simple stories about normal people filtered through Lucinda’s yearning voice and her love of blues and country.

Sticky Fingers – Rolling Stones: It is hard to pick a favourite Stones album but in terms of a wide-ranging explorations of Americana, they do it so well with this album. Blues, soul, country and mixes of all. We performed it in full last year twice, but it still gets me despite all those rehearsals. Oh and Ry Cooder plays slide on Sister Morphine.

Gris Gris – Dr John The Night Tripper: The strangest addition to this list is Dr John’s first album, to my ears a bizarre amalgam of country sounds, New Orleans voodoo funk and some strong hallucinogenics.

The Hypnotiser – Cash Savage and the Last Drinks: The only Australian entry on this list, Cash’s storytelling game is strong (I hear that’s how the kids say would say it), loves her some Americana and has a powerful world-weary voice and a sensational violinist in Kat Mear.

We’ll Never Turn Back – Mavis Staples: With Ry Cooder again on production and slide, Mavis lets her unmatched gospel contralto loose on many old classics, but with The Meters’ funk meets hip hop grooves. Ouch.

Rain Dogs – Tom Waits: This is the album many recommend you try if you haven’t heard any Tom Waits, with some banjo country here, some rock n roll there, Latin inspired strangeness over there and Tom’s gravel and weirdness all around.

Coming Home – Leon Bridges: This is so new, it hasn’t really been released but I have already listened to it about four times through the internet’s first listen streams. Bit of old school Sam Cooke and Otis Redding/soul gospel but through an obvious modern filter, plus a little blues and country. Listen.

  

You’re Going Below When You Die

Written by J. Beavis

Appears on “Gentleman Giant” LP, 2013. Personnel: Jimi Beavis – vocals, banjo, party noises; Dave McGuire – guitar; Costas Constantinou – double bass; Scott Nosworthy – drums; Andrew Garton – tenor saxophone; Dan Quigley – trumpet; Papa Joe Roberts – clarinet; Ronan Lock, Ngaire Lock, Niyi Adepoyibi, Lauren Lucille and Ryan Wijeratne – party noises, percussion.

You’re going below when you die

You’re going way down when you die

But knowing you like I do

That’s not going to stop you

You’re going below when you die

 

I’m not going to be your toy again

Plumbing the depths of wickedness and sin

It was fun for a while I’ll admit

But the devil came with it

I’m not going to be your tool again

 

You’re going to love my best friend I know

Make him think that wine will forever flow

Then when his clothes are gone

And his jewellery’s been pawned

You’re going to take what’s left and up and go

 

You’re going to tempt his sister too

Just like you did with me and the other two

It’s like some Greek tragedy

Except it’s very real you see

You’re going to tempt his sister too

 

You say that I am just as bad as you

That I only loved you just to be amused

Well be that as it may

But I’ll wait for you on judgement day

Then you’ll find out just what I am going to do

 

You’re going below when you die

You’re going way down when you die

But knowing you like I do

That’s not going to stop you

You’re going below when you die

My Head Hurts From Crying

Written by J. Beavis

Appears on “No Need To Deny It”, 2011. Personnel: Jimi Beavis – vocals; JB Lewis – guitar; Shelley Osland – bass guitar; Coojee Timms – drums

You never once told me that you loved me

You never once told me that you cared

The only time that you came close was walking out and down those stairs

My head hurts from crying

My head hurts from weeping

My head hurts from drinking too much

What’s the matter, baby, did it get too close to love?

 

I’ve got the reasons that you gave me, I’ve got some theories of my own too

Did it get too hard to contemplate, that someone was in love with you?

 

You never once told me that you loved me

You never once told me that you cared

The only time that you came close was walking out and down those stairs

My head hurts from crying

My head hurts from weeping

My head hurts from drinking too much

What’s the matter, baby, did it get too close to love?

 

I’ve got the reasons that you gave me, I’ve got the photos of your trip down south too

It looks like you’re happy with him, see it isn’t so hard to do

 

Well, we’ve been through this before, no doubt we’ll go through this again

But I’ve cried too many tears this time, and I’m thinking I want this to end.

 

You never once told me that you loved me

You never once told me that you cared

The only time that you came close was walking out and down those stairs

My head hurts from crying

My head hurts from weeping

My head hurts from drinking too much

What’s the matter, baby, did it get too close to love?