Spellbound - Vol I Iss IV
© April 1994
Here's what's happenin' -
There was a second wave of press coverage for Icehouse, stemming from
the big push behind "Big Wheel" the single and Icehouse's impending
tour. The industry was still buzzing about Big Wheel's interactive
disk and the fact that Iva had severed ties with most of the "Mr.
Bigs" involved with his career. His own label, studio, and fresh,
exciting ideas coming across on Big Wheel
perhaps the normally
conservative image with which the industry labeled Iva had suffered its
own 6.8 shaker! Let's review some of the press and see with how much force
the Big Wheel rolled
Drum Media, February 8th: "First his record company was presented
with the surprisingly strong new album they weren't expecting, Big
Wheel, and now Iva Davies has decided to take that album out on the
road for the tour no one had expected. Now that's rock anarchy for you!"
Drum Media, March 1, by Les White: "With a discography now
dating back 14 years, Icehouse have been responsible for some of the most
expressive music to emanate from these shores. But as well as being expressive,
exotic, and expansive - it's also been bloody expensive, too. This last
point was one that Davies was determined to address in the making of Big
Wheel." And on the subject of the floppy disk: "Upon the
initial release of Big Wheel, together with the CD, many of us
were presented with a standard floppy disk that functioned as something
of a hi-tech press release for the album."
The Daily Telegraph Mirror, March 3, by Kathy McCabe: "After
legal wrangles and general disillusionment with the music industry, Davies
was ready to quit the music business. But inspiration intervened and with
Icehouse members drummer Paul Wheeler, keyboardist Simon Lloyd, and new
cohort, guitarist David Chapman, a new album and independent record company
were born. Davies - on his first major tour for a couple of years - indicates
Big Wheel had taken his music full circle, marking a return to
the punk and glam influences which characterized the debut Flowers album
Icehouse released in 1980."
Rave, February 23-March 1, by John Mullen: "Big Wheel
is a return to a more overdriven Icehouse in both imagery and sound, and
is definitely a galaxy away from their Man Of Colours period. At
times the album grinds with the intensity and heat of metal on metal,
at others, it is ethereal and hallucinogenic. It's obvious that the style
Nazis and industry dictators frustrate Davies at times but generally he
is too immersed in his music, or the surf, to be bothered. These days
Iva strikes you as a man committed to his craft but with a passionate
calmness, not the spiky ebullience of his Flowers days."
Iva also had a 20 question interview printed in the Australian February
issue of Playboy
yes, we said Playboy! Stuart Hitchings,
the interviewer, asked Iva some fairly good questions concerning Big
Wheel but let us reprint for you our favourite. Well, actually, it
was the answer that we quite liked!
Playboy: "In 1988, when Man Of Colours was at its peak,
you said, 'I don't have any illusions that if I stopped tomorrow within
two years I'd be totally forgotten.' Is it going to be hard to re-establish
yourself after such a long lay-off?"
Davies: "It always is, though I've since discovered that some
people don't forget, that Icehouse has a core of very loyal fans. In America,
for instance, there have emerged two completely independent fan clubs
which have a worldwide network taking in the most peculiar places. I have
letters from people who bought bootlegged albums in Poland on the black
market. It's really quite bizarre and you don't have any appreciation
as to how far your music's gone until you discover something like this.
But whether we'll ever have another record like Man Of Colours
in terms of sales is another matter."
So, having just finished reading that, does it make you feel proud to
be one of those who never forget?
That is just a sampling of what has recently been put down in black and
white about Icehouse.
While the single "Big Wheel" is still out there and being played
by various radio stations, there is a new Icehouse single on the horizon!
Drum roll please
hey all you "Invisible People!" Get out
there and be counted! For those of you feeling helpless to face the world's
ills, feeling like you just don't count, Icehouse are providing you with
an anthem with which you can bolster your courage and resolve! We haven't
a release date yet for this dose of high energy, reggae flavoured boost
but, as soon as we do, you'll receive the information with an assignment.
It's pretty simple. How do Invisible People stand up and be counted? By
ringing radio stations and requesting it as soon as it's out! Then run
down to your record shop and buy a few copies! Don't forget!
... a.k.a. Big Wheel tour! We hope you all received the bulletin
we sent out regarding the tour which included a listing of dates. The
South Australia dates were later changed a bit, and the boys did not venture
to Perth as was tentatively planned. Here's a rundown of just what those
Icemen were up to!
Iva and Paul Wheeler participated in a bush fire benefit on January 22.
It was held at the Palm Beach RSL, and had various bands participating
including 1927 and Girl Overboard. Iva and Paul were part of an all-star
band which also included Ian Moss of Cold Chisel and Paul Christie of
The Party Boys. Ian said they called themselves The Composites and their
"album" would be called Compost! They did various songs
such as "Bow River," "Tucker's Daughter," and the
ever popular "Jean Genie." The band also performed "We
Can Get Together" and "Nothing Too Serious." It was a great
night enthusiastically supported by the audience. One young lady decided
to join the band onstage and proceeded to "boogie on down."
She then took a puff off of Paul Christies' ciggie and then was escorted
off stage by Ian. Anything for charity!
The 2MMM Electric Sunset Boat Cruise, on February 10, was nothing short
of magical! The setting was Sydney Harbour and the audience was treated
to free food and drinks as the boat headed out. But food and drinks were
not what they had dialed their fingers off trying to win! Icehouse soon
came on and the boat began to really rock! The very appreciative audience
sang and danced along with the following songs: "Cadillac,"
"We Can Get Together," "Big Wheel," "Great Southern
Land," "Heroes," "Love In Motion," "Invisible
People," "Walls," "Sister," "Crazy,"
"Cold Turkey," and "Jean Genie." The band sounded
great, especially to those who hadn't heard them live from three to six
years! Several fans joined Iva onstage at the encore, including one young
lady who pinned a huge yellow smiley face on Iva's shirt! The harbour
provided a beautiful setting for a fantastic night. Triple M and Coca-Cola
sponsored the event. Triple M itself has done a great job supporting Iva,
Icehouse, and Big Wheel.
The tour itself was fantastic, providing Icehouse fans old and new with
a round sampling of their 14 years worth of hits! The tour started in
Queensland on February 15 and ended on March 19 in South Australia. The
boys did have a hard bout with the flu but tried their very best to give
100% while on stage. David Chapman was welcomed quite well by the fans
and they really cheered him on during his guitar solos. Most of the shows
followed the same song list, with a few exceptions here and there. For
instance, the fans in Rockhampton were treated to "Heroes,"
whereas the show in Toowoomba included "Satellite." The majority
of the shows started with ambient music a la "Cadillac" which
then flowed into an intense version of "Icehouse." It would
be a hard task to say what the highlight of the shows was. Was it Paul
Gildea and David's guitar duet during "Invisible People?" Was
it the way the band ripped into "Walls" and rocketed straight
into "Sister"? Or was it the "strut-your-stuff" heavy
rock/funk of "Jean Genie"? It was all of that plus the individual
moments of fun, hilarity, and sheer musical brilliance this tour gave
the fans. There were times when technical problems got in the way or the
opening act wasn't exactly
appreciated?! But this tour
still achieved one major thing - it left every crowd at every show wanting
more! Well, that just may be what we Icehouse fans well get - MORE!! There
are rumours (tentative plans, whispers, writings on the Walls
Icehouse will roll the Big Wheel out again in June! So, mark June
with a big red circle and if you have any plans then - holidays, parties,
weddings - CANCEL THEM! Now don't forget
One thing that we hope the band repeats if they hit the road in June is
more acoustic sets like they did at the Warringah Mall on March 5. The
boys set up stage on a bright, summery day in the midst of shoppers' heaven.
The lunch time crowd stopped browsing through all those sales long enough
to hear three "unplugged" songs by Icehouse. The set included
"Big Wheel," "Great Southern Land," and (our favourite!)
"Miss Divine." It sounded great and we hope the lads will try
to make that a permanent fixture of future tours. After the show, Iva,
Simon, David, and Paul Wheeler headed to the nearby record store where
fans buying copies of Big Wheel could have the CD or cassette signed.
They also received a great deal on their purchase as these copies of Big
Wheel came with a bonus copy of Icehouse.
A final note on the tour
we heard that it was sometimes seen that
Iva and Stephen, if ever running late to sound check, had a saving factor
in their favour. They could always send their stage clothes on ahead to
stand in for them 'til they arrived
but could the very colourful
(and well worn) outfits sing?
Icehouse were on various radio stations these past months. Triple M, as
mentioned before, sponsored the Electric Sunset Boat Cruise, although
it was not broadcast. Triple M also had Icehouse on for a live performance
of "Big Wheel" on March 4. Triple J went five better and had
Icehouse performing "Live at the Wireless" on February 7. The
boys played a short set consisting of "Cadillac," "Love
In Motion," "Big Wheel," "Great Southern Land,"
"Heroes," and "Invisible People." It was a great tease
for the fans looking forward to the approaching tour. Iva also worked
with Triple J as they had a contest for up-and-coming bands. The call
was put out to send demos to Triple J, Iva would listen to them, and then
choose the winner. The prize was Iva's expertise as a producer! Iva had
quite a few entries to listen to in between shows. His final choice came
down to a Sydney band called Meanderthal. Their music was described as
thrash/punk and Triple J had Iva and one of the Meanderthal's members,
Derek, in the studio when the production work was done. From a somewhat
distorted, unintelligible demo, Iva created something that was at least
radio friendly. Iva said he partly chose this band because of their attitude
which they had in abundance! Spellbound's advice to these fellows would
be, "Don't quit your day job!" But our Hero was gracious and
proved who the professional in this situation truly was.
Icehouse have really been working hard pushing "Big Wheel" the
single, as can be seen by the television appearances they've made in 1994.
February 13 saw the band performing on Take 40, introduced by American
rap act Salt 'n' Pepa. They next hit the TV airwaves on March 12, ripping
out "Big Wheel" for the Hey Hey It's Saturday audience.
(Is it really true that the big pink bird and the other equally empty-headed
fellow, Red Symons, are liked?! Pardon us, but our American minds are
) Icehouse then performed "Big Wheel" and "Great
Southern Land" on Live and Sweaty, March 25. They gave a great
performance although the director of the show could have used perhaps
a few lessons in camera direction! It was great seeing the boys on the
telly and we're hoping to see more of them when "Invisible People"
Icehouse are now definitely a part of Rock 'n' Roll History! Opening April
1 and continuing for 18 months is the Wild Child Exhibit at the Powerhouse
Museum in Sydney. Included at this showcase of rock 'n' roll memorabilia
are three items of Icehouse interest: The Man Of Colours Jacket
(the other one still hangs in the Sydney Hard Rock Café - yes,
there are two jackets!), the Australia-shaped disc of "Crazy,"
and a mixing board set up by Simon Leadley from Trackdown Studios. Visitors
to the exhibit can sit down at the board and play Recording Engineer by
mixing their own version of "Great Southern Land"! Check it
out if you're in town!
Well, for the moment, we are all holding our breaths for the release date
of "Invisible People" which will also include a video release.
The single will also feature "Driving Me Backwards." Plus there's
the matter of a POSSIBLE tour in June
What's happenin' with Simon Lloyd? Oh, this and that
is all we could get out of the computer whiz/saxophonist
Madonna records always were a pain
Steve Morgan is suffering from PMS - Pre-Marital Syndrome! Steve and long-time
girlfriend Caroline are going off to Europe to tie the knot and thus end
the legend of the "Love God!" Mr. Morgan is also keeping busy
by passing on his talents on the bass to aspiring new musicians. Since
the tour ended, Steve has been doing various gigs around Melbourne but
is unable to commit to anything long-term due to his wedding plans. Steve
enjoyed the recent tour, feeling it had a more relaxed atmosphere and
that everyone performed well. Since it looks like Steve and Caroline will
be leaving in June, Icehouse fans can look for a band line-up change (again
if the boys hit the road the same month. The new Mr. and Mrs. Morgan will
return late July or early August. On behalf of everyone at Spellbound,
we wish Caroline and Steve a happy wedding and warm congratulations!!
Paul Wheeler has been seen about Sydney playing with Vincent Stone. He
also recently did some session work with an advertising company who used
the old Romantics' song "What I Like About You" for the Western
Australia Tourist Commission. Paul was happy to get back out on the road
again and felt good about playing for the fans. He looks forward to doing
it all again real soon! Paul, along with the rest of the band, had a photo
shoot on the set of Live And Sweaty. We're looking forward to seeing
Paul Gildea is keeping busy, having joined up with the nine piece band
fronted by Debra Byrne. Paul has performed with Debra on several television
shows such as Hey Hey It's Saturday, The Midday Show,
The Today Show, Jimeoin, and Ernie and Denise. He was
also part of the band for the Sydney and Melbourne launches of Debra's
album. He does not actually perform on the album. Paul, too, is sharing
his musical talents by working with AusMusic, creating a curriculum book
and video that teaches the student how to play the electric guitar. Paul
really had a great time on the last tour and is looking forward to the
next time Icehouse play. He also feels that, despite their sad beginning,
Carlton is looking good for the rest of the AFL season.
David Chapman went back to work at his own studio, Zig Zag Lane, with
his partner, Derek. They provide background music for promotional items
airing on SBS and ABC, among other things. David was also nominated to
edit the video for "Invisible People" and, after four nights
of giving it his creative all, David turned in the finished product. The
verdict from EMI was that they "loved it." We're sure it was
hip, hot, and happenin'! He was then chosen once again for the choosing
of which shots of the band from the Live And Sweaty photo shoot
would be used as promotional tools. David's first time out with Icehouse
was a good experience for him. He particularly remembers the funny moments
such as the time he was at the keyboards in Shellharbour and they fell
to the floor! As they lay there flashing and sparking, roadies rushing
to get them back up again, the show went on and no one in the audience
noticed. There was also the time in Frankston when he ran full force into
Iva, unable to stop himself from doing so. Until the band go out again,
David will be playing chess while watching the leaking roof drip
Iva Davies was only home for a week before going overseas to Fiji. During
that week was when he produced the track for Meanderthal. He felt the
tour was fairly successful and did exactly as he expected it to do. Tonia
and Brynn joined Iva in Fiji a week after he left and they will all return
to Sydney sometime in May. After that, we would expect that Iva and the
boys will resume promoting Big Wheel and the new single "Invisible
People." Did somebody say "tour again"?!
And that's what's happenin'!