Spellbound - Vol II Iss III
© September 1995
There hasn't been a lot of press for Iva and Icehouse lately. That will
all change, starting in September, with the release of The Berlin Tapes
EP! Iva will be doing more promotional work for the ballet and that will
include magazine interviews and possible television appearances. There
have been, however, a few printed ads for Berlin in various newspapers.
The Legends of Rock Exhibit left surprising little press in its wake.
Opening in Melbourne, there were only two small photos of Iva printed,
both in the Herald Sun on May 23rd and May 26th. The exhibit passed
through Brisbane, seemingly without notice, and there was a small mention
in Drum Media for its arrival in Sydney. This article features
a photo of Iva, although he is not named.
So the fans will have to keep an eye out in the very near future to see
what is put down in black and white about Iva and Icehouse.
These past months have been quiet for Icehouse but that will all change
very soon! In late September, fans will be able to hear the first tracks
from the music for Berlin! An EP will be released in Australia and will
contain four songs. The first is a song that will be featured in the ballet,
titled "Heaven." Originally a Talking Heads song from 1977,
Iva and his "merry band of musicians" have put their own slant
The second track is also an older song, originally recorded by The Cure.
Its title is "At Night" and, much like many of the songs Iva
has chosen to use for Berlin, is one of The Cure's more obscure songs.
The final two tracks are what Iva terms "incidental music" from
the ballet: "Pas de Trois" and "Giant and Child Fugue."
The Giant and the Child are key figures in the ballet.
The album itself will be out in October. Iva, of course, plays on the
album along with Max Lambert on keyboards, David Chapman on guitar, Paul
Wheeler on percussion, Steve Bull on bass, and Adrian Wallis of the Sydney
Symphony Orchestra on cello.
While Iva wouldn't reveal song titles quite yet (beyond what will be on
the EP), he did tell us from which artists he's chosen to borrow songs
for the album. He described them as being songs from the following artists:
early Roxy Music, mid-period David Bowie from his least successful album,
XTC, Psychedelic Furs, Public Image ("
if you can believe it!"),
Simple Minds, Killing Joke, Frank Sinatra, and Velvet Underground.
The Velvet Underground song has an interesting story attached to it. Iva
told us that anybody can record anyone else's song and said, for example,
that anybody could record "Hey Little Girl" and there wouldn't
be anything he could do about it. But, to put a song in a stage production
is a different matter and Iva didn't realize this until after he had already
written the Velvet Underground song into the ballet. He found there are
a whole set of rights that have to be issued and so he had to contact
Lou Reed himself, as the composer of the song, for these rights. Iva,
with the help of Keith Welsh, tried several times for permission to use
this song in Berlin, and was refused each time. Keith and Iva then decided
to bypass all of the "middlemen" who were presenting their request
to Lou Reed and sent a cassette of Iva's version of the song directly
to Mr. Reed and his management. The response was a fax from Lou Reed stating
that Iva's version of this song was one of the most brilliant covers of
any of his songs that he had ever heard! Needless to say, Iva was very
pleased with this response! However, although we will all have the pleasure
of hearing this track for ourselves on The Berlin Tapes, Lou has not yet
given a "yea" or "nay" as to whether Iva can actually
use the song in the stage production of Berlin. We will have to wait to
see what comes through from Lou
Another interesting part of the making of The Berlin Tapes is what Iva
has done to create almost new songs out of old. He told us that for the
Velvet Underground song, he combined it with a Gregorian chant from the
15th century! This chant, with the music written by Gregorio Allegri,
is a psalm called the Miserere, and has a history of its own. A very powerful
piece of music with a profound effect on those listening to it, it was
for a period of time kept under lock and key by the Catholic Church to
be used only on special occasions. Happening upon such an occasion, Mozart
(who was in Italy studying choral music) wrote out the score from memory,
and thus Allegri's version of the Miserere became available to the public.
Centuries later, this famous piece of music finds its way into a Velvet
Underground song via the creative hand and mind of Iva Davies! Other songs
with similar treatments are the Bowie song which includes portions of
a piano piece called "La Cathédrale Engloutie" - The
Sunken Cathedral - by the French classical composer Claude Debussy, and
the Frank Sinatra song which is blended with selected portions of another
Lou Reed song called "Berlin."
After hearing of all the time, effort, and creativity Iva has put into
the music for Berlin, we know everyone will be looking forward to hearing
it even more! We think Iva summed it up best when he said The Berlin Tapes
were "more an artwork, not a chartwork."
Berlin will be staged at the Opera House Drama Theatre from November 17th
to December 23rd. There are tentative plans for the ballet to travel to
Melbourne and over to New Zealand. There has also been some talk about
bringing the ballet to Brisbane, and as a one-off performance Berlin may
travel to Atlanta, Georgia in June or July of next year. This staging
of Berlin would be a presentation to a special audience in relation to
the 1996 Summer Olympics. Again, the only shows confirmed are the Sydney
As to who will be performing the music for Berlin live, the line-up is
taking form but is not yet set. It looks to be as follows: Iva, Max Lambert
(keyboards), Paul Wheeler (drums), Steve Bull (bass), Adrian Wallis (cello),
and either David Chapman or Paul Gildea (acoustic guitar), depending mostly
on the show's location.
Radio and Television
There have been ads running for Berlin, mostly on television. Things will
pick up for the band with the release of The Berlin Tapes EP. Iva has
told us that there may be appearances on shows such as "Hey Hey,
It's Saturday" and "Burke's Backyard." We advise our Australian
subscribers to keep their eyes open and ears closely tuned to these and
similar programs in the coming months.
Iva did find himself performing the role of tour guide for a segment of
"Good Morning Australia" in regards to the opening of the Legends
of Rock Exhibit on May 23rd.
All future Icehouse releases will once again bear the stamp of the Massive
Recording Company. The license with EMI lapsed and Iva felt that Massive
had the better capabilities to handle a project such as Berlin and The Berlin Tapes, more so than EMI. Massive may also put some effort into
making the existing Icehouse catalog available in a new form.
Another event of note was MTV's recent special called "It Came From
The '80s." The program mainly dealt with remembering the videos of
the '80s and featured interviews with the people involved, one of whom
was Russell Mulcahy. He spoke of making videos and the concepts behind
some of the images. He admitted some of them had no meaning at all and
cited examples such as "fabric blowing in the wind, water splashing
in slow motion, or a horse wandering through the fog for no reason whatsoever."
Each image he recalled was accompanied by a video clip of that image,
the last being a white horse walking through the fog to the tune of "Icehouse."
Simon Lloyd has been working on some multimedia projects for various people,
including the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney. Stemming from his previous
work with them for the Real Wild Child Exhibit last year, the museum has
given Simon other projects to work on. No details were given, however,
but Simon is working hard at this and keeping very busy.
Paul Wheeler has been touring with Max Sharam. Max just supported Chris
Isaak as he toured around Australia. Max will continue on 'til the middle
of September. However, Paul may have to leave Max's tour to begin work
again with the Shock Poets. Their single is due to be released at the
end of August, on the Village Roadshow label. The single is titled "Never
Should Have Bothered You." The album is due out in the first part
of September. However, the possibility of the band touring is still up
in the air so Paul is unsure when the Shock Poets will hit the road. Berlin
is another priority on Paul's busy schedule and he is looking forward
to performing in the production.
Stephen Morgan is still working in the Melbourne area with his band White
Shooga. The band are working on new songs to perform. He has also "gone
back to school." Steve is working in RBX Studios to train himself
to become an engineer/producer. He has done some engineering of demos
for a few young Melbourne bands, passing on his experience in the recording
studio while learning at the same time. Steve is working on the side with
White Shooga's vocalist, Nicky Bennett, writing songs and perhaps producing
them for her as well. He has also been writing some songs with Paul Gildea
and Natalie Carne. Natalie has been to Nashville and Steve says she is
a great country singer. Steve, Paul, and Natalie were previously in a
country band together, with the working title of Lazy Susan, which was
put together for the purpose of getting some of the country songs floating
around in their heads out of their systems! Of course, Steve is very excited
about his footy team, Essendon, doing so well. The Bombers look good to
be in the finals and Steve plans on being there to scream them on to victory!
Paul Gildea's news can be found within his interview in this issue. Like
Steve, Paul can also be found at the footy ovals, cheering on his favorite
team, Carlton. As we work on this issue of Spellbound, Carlton and Essendon
are the #1 and #2 teams
David Chapman is working very hard at being Managing Director Extraordinaire
at Zig Zag Studios. Zig Zag mainly works in producing soundtracks for
television programs. Recent clients for Zig Zag have been such shows as
"Fifty Years of Australian Comedy" and "Missing Pieces."
David has his track, called "Something Fishy In Your Pasta,"
on Simon Leadley's album. There is no release date for this album as yet.
David has also been working with Iva at Zig Zag on The Berlin Tapes. David's
review of the new single is that "it's really pretty." David
is also working on his own pieces of music, which he is quite happy with
and may look into getting that put together for the future. Judas, we
are happy to report, is fully recovered from her operation and is in good
Besides working almost day and night on The Berlin Tapes, Iva Davies somehow
created that 25th hour in a 24 hour day to work on other things. On May
22nd, Iva & Tonia travelled to Melbourne for the opening of the Legends
of Rock Exhibition the following day. Iva appeared on stage and spoke
of many things pertaining to the history of his career and the upcoming
production of Berlin. Iva said he had fun but didn't linger in Melbourne
due to the fact that this was Tonia & Iva's first time away from Brynn.
Iva heard from Rob Hirst concerning the track on which he played oboe
for the next Ghostwriters PL. Rob is in New York missing the album and
left a message for Iva saying that the track turned out really well. Rob
is trying to make sure that the track will be on the album but no release
date is available.
In June, Iva took an up-and-coming band, Stoneyard, under his wing. Although
he had to put them on hold for a while, he does intend to resume work
on their music. He has worked on two songs with the band but is in mid-production
with them. Iva believes he may be able to finish these songs in October.
He describes the band as "a young, three piece grunge band with some
good songs. They would probably be classed as conservative grunge rather
Iva did take time off one Friday morning in late August and dedicated
that time to his family. Iva, Tonia, and Mr. & Mrs. Davies took Brynn
on her first visit to the zoo. It was a lovely time for the whole family.
The rest of the year is shaping up to be a very exciting time for Icehouse
and that's what's happenin'!