For entertainment, people used to go out dancing. Now they go out eating.
Eating used to be for sustenance and nourishment. Now it has become our main form of entertainment.
Dancing used to be society’s way of having fun and socially interacting. Now we’re too fat to dance.
The hidden cause of the obesity epidemic is that dancing has been replaced by eating.
Musicians no longer play music for dancing. Dancing to live music is a thing people did last century. The 21st century is about eating, so musicians have had to adjust to play music as an accompaniment to food. The guitarist singing in the corner of the pub is now like the salt and pepper shakers on the table. The musician has become part of a venue’s marketing that strives to create an ambience conducive to dining. Generally as long as the music’s not too loud or distracting, nobody cares.
Musicians No Longer Provide Music For Dancing
And don’t be tempted to dance. Anyone who gets up and starts dancing will be quickly escorted from the premises by an over zealous security person. The view point is that dancing is only attempted by someone who is drunk. RSA laws stipulate that intoxicated people must be removed. Therefore, anyone who dances is clearly drunk and a troublemaker. Ejection is imminent. If you are spotted dancing it’s obviously that you can’t be sober. If you were sober and in a rational state of mind you’d surely want to do some more eating.
Chefs Are The New Rock Stars
Gone are the music shows from free to air television. They’ve all been replaced with cooking and food shows. SBS even has a whole station dedicated to food (channel 33) which is called The Food Network. The ABC still runs Rage twice a week (through the middle of the night) but The Food Network runs all day, everyday, seven days a week. You can enjoy shows such as “Underground BBQ Challenge”, “Cake Wars”, “Ginormous Food”, “Man Versus Food” or “My Family Feast”.
Famous chefs are household names; Jamie Oliver, Gordon Ramsay, Rick Stein, Nigella Lawson, (the late) Anthony Bourdain, Heston Blumental, Neil Perry, Kylie Kwong, Matt Moran, Curtis Stone, Guillaume Brahimi, Bill Granger, Donna Hay, Tetsuya Wakuda, Aristos Papandroulakis, Ben O’Donoghue, Cindy Sargon, Fenton Keogh, Gabriel Gaté, Geoff Jansz, Iain Hewitson, Stephanie, Alexander, Luke Nguyen, Stefano Manfredi, Adam Liaw, George Calombaris, Adriano Zumbo, Gary Mehigan, George Calombaris, Pete Evans, Manu Feidel, Cheong Liew, Maggie Beer, Christine Manfield, Peter Gilmore, Shannon Bennett, Poh Ling Yeow … and the list goes on.
Food Is Now The Feature Of Pubs That Used To Have Bands
I’ve heard so many theories about the death of live music in Sydney. I’ve heard about lock-out laws, RSA laws, licensing laws, poker machine, the list goes on, yet it seems that everyone has missed the actual reason… lack of interest. Nobody wants to stand around listening to a loud band play when you could be in the bistro eating and having an enjoyable conversation about the food you are eating.
Your Next Tinder Date
Much of our social interaction is now done using our mobile phones. If you are single, you may use Tinder to find someone you are attracted to meet. Typically, you will ask them out for either a coffee (and probably some cake), a drink (and probably some nibbles) or something to lunch or dinner. Next time, I challenge you to take them dancing.
Who Remembers Keith Stirling, Australian Jazz Legend?
Keith Stirling was a jazz trumpeter who passed away in 2003, but lives on courtesy of You Tube. This clip (below) also includes former Head of Jazz Studies at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Craig Scott, on bass. Other musicians are Jay Stewart on piano, Ron Lemke on drums and Steve Brien on drums. Where are they all now…? Who knows…
I first encountered Keith Stirling back in the early 1980’s. When I was still at high school, every Saturday afternoon from 3pm – 6pm, I used to take myself along to the jazz workshops put on by the Jazz Action Society. I’d only been playing trombone a short while, but ambitiously wanted to be able to play jazz.
Pianist Dave Levy ran the workshops. I still marvel at this man’s enthusiasm for the idiom of jazz. He would arrange for an experienced local jazz musician to come along and teach whoever turned up how to analyse a song and how to construct a solo over the chord progression. My foundation of understanding musical harmony came from these weekly workshops. Jazz is a mystery to most people, yet it is surprisingly simple once you understand the basis of it. Attending these workshops was a revelation.
The weekly workshops were held at the old Journalist’s Club on Chalmers St, Surry Hills. I’ll never forget the two weeks that Keith Stirling was the “guest lecturer”. The song he was analysing was “Stella By Starlight”, which is harmonically quite a complex tune. I must admit, I was struggling to keep up. I’d only been playing trombone for a couple of years, at that stage. I tried to process the information the best I could manage.
The bit I will never forget is the last fifteen minutes of Keith Stirling’s second week. Dave Levy suggested that Keith should now perform the song to put into context what he’d spoken about for the last two weeks. Keith initially resisted, but was coaxed into agreeing to give a performance. Before he played, he explained what he would do. First he would use the melody and work around embellishing this. Next, he would play around with guide tones and the chord notes. Then he would start using modes. Finally, he would extend upon all of these approaches.
Keith then played about ten choruses of “Stella By Starlight”. It was a total revelation. Everything made sense. Everyone who was there to listen was taken on a journey. It was as if that performance of that song at that moment time had it’s own unique life. The song was born, it lived and then it’s life was over, but it had experience all that there was to experience in that ten minutes it took for Keith to play very that song. There were no cameras or recording devices. This was twenty years before You Tube existed, but that performance lives on in my mind.
Here’s a performance by Keith Stirling at a Jazz Action Society concert about ten years later, in 1993. The song is “I Hear A Rhapsody”. Along with Keith are Dave Levy on piano, John Pochee on drums and a very young Nicky Parrott on double bass.
In later years, I was lucky enough to play alongside Keith Stirling in Billy Field’s “Bad Habits Band” and Jimmy Shaw’s “Shawnuf Bigband”. He was such a sweet guy, always encouraging and with a great sense of humour. When he played with Billy Field, his go-to song (in the first warm-up set, before Billy came on to sing) was a funky version of “Ode To Billy Joe”, originally recorded by Bobbie Gentry. I love that song whenever I hear it now, because it always reminds me of Keith.
Here is a link to John Clare’s obituary on Keith Stirling.
I don’t know about you, but the first album I bought was “Quatro”, by Suzy Quatro. I was in Year 5 at primary school, and I had a job after school delivering chemist packages. I did this 3 afternoons a week. I can still remember that the album cost me $6.00. That was my full weekly earnings from my delivery job.
I grew up in the Sydney suburb of Hunters Hill. The local pharmacist used to hire primary school kids to deliver prescriptions around the neighbourhood. He offered free delivery to his customers and had a cheap workforce of children to make the deliveries. The rate of pay was 75 cents per hour. I’d work from 3:30pm – 6pm. Needless to say, he was a wealthy man and lived in a palatial home with water frontage. He also owned a second chemist shop in the next suburb.
Working for seven and a half hours to buy “Quatro” was totally worth it. Even though I was in Year 5, I had a total crush on Suzy Quatro. Those full leather outfits she wore had me staring at the front and back of the album cover for the full duration of playing the album. Even though I was too young to do anything about it, she definitely gave me a “feeling”.
I loved (and I still love) her screeching high vocals. In addition, the album was so well produced. Little did I know (when I was 11 years old) that the album was produced by an Aussie, Mike Chapman.
Mike Chapman is what you’d call a genius record-producer. The album “Quatro” also has Nicky Chinn listed as co-producer, but (according to an interview I heard with Mike Chapman), he only made a small contribution. I noticed (even as a kid) that all the best songs on the album were credited to “Chapman/Chinn”. These include “Devil Gate Drive”, “Too Big” and “Wild One”. Mike Chapman would go on to make some all time classic albums including “Parallel Lines” for Blondie and “Get The Knack” for The Knack.
A song on the album I always loved was “Keep a Knockin'”. Songwriting was credited to Richard Penniman. Years later, I would discover “Little Richard” (Richard Penniman’s rock’n’roll name). At age 11, everything is new. To me it was all “new” music.
When I was in Year 5, I remember we had a student teacher. He was fascinated by my obsession with Suzy Quatro. His words of wisdom were that Suzy Quarto would be forgotten within two years. Seems like I knew more than him!
Suzy Quatro is still gigging. Here’s a link to her “Shows” page on her website.
Back in 1987, I joined a band called “Melodious Thunk”. It was the brainchild of Scott Saunders, who later went on to great success with “DIG” in the 1990’s. I played trombone in the horn section.
In the second half of 1987, we shared a Thursday night residency at The Harbourside Brasserie with the legendary Sydney band “Jump Back Jack”, led by the late bass guitar virtuoso, Jackie Orszaczky.
I was already a huge fan of this band. Back in 1986, I followed them around town and must have watched them play weekly. As a young trombone player, any band in Sydney with a horn section was a “must see” and Jump Back Jack’s horn section were exemplary. James Greening was on trombone, with Mike Bukowsky and Linda Bacon on trumpets, along with Mark Simmons on tenor saxophone. All were seasons jazz musicians, but here they were assembled to play funk. I would typically stand right in front of James Greening’s trombone slide, his fat notes and short stabs filling me with insecurities about my own trombone playing.
Two drummers on stage together was an extraordinary feature of the band. It’s very rare to see a band with two drummers as it obviously leads to many complications, but the two drummers in Jump Back Jack, Phillip Campbell and Hamish Stewart, were perfectly synchronised.
Guitarist Rick Morrison was so understated. I never saw him take a guitar solo. He just grooved without soloing, which was something rare for a guitarist in the 1980’s.
Fronting Jump Back Jack was Jackie Orszaczky. He’d be playing complicated and syncopated bass lines while singing over the top. His bass playing was effortless, as if it required no concentration. His singing was like a Hungarian James Brown. I was mesmerised.
Sydney Music Scene in the 1980’s
Yes, we all know that the live music scene in Sydney was pumping in the 1980’s. You could go out any night of the week and watch a band play. In addition to the live scene, their were also many opportunities for singers and musicians to work on television. There was The Midday Show based in Sydney, Steve Vizard’s nightly show coming out of Melbourne, plus shows like “The Don Lane Show”.
“Jump Back Jack” On The Don Lane Show
Watch this live performance by Jump Back Jack on the Don Lane Show. This is the original line-up, so it must have gone to air in 1986. The line-up later had a few changes, but (as they say), here’s the original and the best… check it out!
You’ve made your proposal, and the answer was “yes”.
Planning the “BIG DAY”.
What is the best day to have my wedding and reception?
Think outside of the box.
Most couples start with looking at Saturday nights in spring or autumn, and then find out that most venues have already been booked for the next three years.
It’s time to think outside of the box.
Begin With The End In Mind
If you’ve ever read Stephan Covey’s “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”, you will be familiar with his second habit, “Begin With The End In Mind”.
Now, think ahead to celebrating your 10 year wedding anniversary.
How would you like to celebrate this?
For most people, it’s get up and go to work, just like any other day. Maybe you will go out for dinner in the evening, after a tiring and stressful day at work. That’s hardly a romantic way to spend you anniversary.
Wouldn’t You Prefer An Annual Holiday To Mark Your Anniversary?
Do you ever feel that your birthday comes and goes each year without any ado? This is the day that you were born, yet it slips by as just another insignificant date on the calendar.
Your wedding anniversary doesn’t have to have the same insignificance. You have a choice. With a tiny amount of foresight and planning, your wedding anniversary can be made so much more special by being marked with an annual holiday. You will feel like the King and Queen, having the day set aside in your honour.
Why Be Like Everybody Else
Rather than the typical scenario most couples face of waking up on their wedding anniversary and having to face the usual grind of waking up, getting ready for work, getting the kids ready for school and facing peak hour traffic, consider this alternative. You could wake up next to the one you love, knowing it’s your anniversary and also knowing that you can snuggle up, getting up when you please.
How Do You Do This?
There are two public holidays every year that don’t move.
Australia Day – 26th January
Anzac Day – 25th April
Simply plan your wedding for either of these two dates and it’s a guarantee that you’ll always get the day off for your anniversary.
My personal preference is for Anzac Day. The obvious concern people have is that it may be considered disrespectful to the fallen. I would counter this concern with the fact that their are no veterans left from the First World War, and that there are virtually none still alive from the Second World War.
Also a good choice, especially as it typically marks the end of the summer holiday season.
The Slide McBride band would like to congratulate Australia for voting for marriage equality. The members of my band and my family anxiously anticipated the results from the marriage equality plebiscite and then as the bill passed the Upper and finally through the Lower House. It was a wonderful moment to know that the majority of Australians support the LGBTQI community and recognise that everyone has the right to marry the person that they love.
I have had the pleasure, throughout my career, prior to the passing of the marriage equality act, to have the honour of performing at many same-sex commitment ceremonies. It was privilege to witness the courage and commitment of same sex couples to openly commit to each despite the fact that they were being discriminated against by Australian law. It was evident to everyone present how much these people loved each other. It was also obvious how unfair and discriminatory the then marriage act was to the LGBTQI community.
The Slide McBride Band would like to say we support same-sex marriages and are excited to entertain and perform at many in the future. Congratulating to the LBTQI community and congratulations to Australia for supporting same sex marriage and equality.
The Slide McBride Band- Proud supporters of Marriage Equality.
Non discriminatory suppliers of great wedding entertainment
Using and Ipod playlist at your wedding reception seems like such a sensible option. You check out the option of hiring a band, and they all seem so expensive. You look into hiring a DJ. They are so much cheaper, but then how do you know that they will actually play the songs you like? Why not consider doing it yourself? You know the songs you like. You have them all on your computer. Why pay money for someone else to play the songs you already have on you phone or Ipod? You pay $11.99 per month to Spotify, so why not simply make up your playlists on Spotify?
I have played (with my band) at a countless number of wedding receptions. The standard response I get from brides and grooms at the end of each and every wedding is, “Every one of our guests is talking about the band”, or “Wow, you guys really made the wedding so much fun”!
I have heard people who have gone to a wedding make complementary remarks about the DJ, but…
I have NEVEREVER heard anyone say, “The Ipod playlist was amazing”.
I’m still waiting to hear, “The Ipod playlist had everyone up and dancing”.
I don’t ever expect to hear, “Their Ipod playlist made the night”.
This is what I have seen…
I have played at weddings where we (the band) finish playing and then the Ipod gets plugged into a speaker to keep the party going. What I usually see is this. A bossy drunk person decides that they know which songs will keep the party powering along. A few people will dance, but numbers on the dance floor will start dropping off. Then a different bossy drunk person with a different opinion will decide to take over. They will put on something “really cool” (which is generally something totally weird and off-beat). Half a song is played before the next person decides to get involved in the choice of songs. It becomes the battle of the drunk amateur DJ’s. By this stage, I’ve packed up my gear and hastily exit the party.
Contempt For Your Guests
Using an Ipod playlist is cheap and is ultimately the most contemptuous act of indifference to your guests that you can make. If you consider the effort some of your guests have made to get to your wedding, using an Ipod playlist is a disgrace. Typically, some people will have travelled from overseas. Other will have come from interstate. You have asked them to share with you one of the most significant days of your life. The least you can do in return is to give your guests some half-decent entertainment. Think of it as a gift back to the people you love and have asked to share the day with you.
Ask around. If you have (or if you know of someone who has) ever been to a wedding reception or party where the Ipod playlist has been amazing and MADE the party, I want to hear about it. Please post a comment and share your story with me.
Band Still Available For Your Friday Night Christmas Party
For some strange reason, my band is still available on 3 x Friday nights in December, 2017. This is most unusual. Typically, Friday nights in December book out months in advance, but… Slide McBride (the band) is still available for your Friday night Christmas Party.
The three Friday nights in December 2017 that we are still available for include;
Friday, 8th December
Friday, 15th December
Friday, 22nd December
The band has been playing at quite a few Corporate functions of late. Clients include;
The law firm, IPH – function held at Sydney Town Hall
Castol Australia – function held at the Novotel, Parramatta
Forensic and solvency accountancy firm, Worrells – held at The Gibralter Hotel, Bowral
Forthcoming corporate bookings include;
BT Investment Management Christmas Party – to be held at Kittyhawk in the Sydney CBD
Global Orthopedic Technology Christmas Party – to be held at Cafe Morso, Pyrmont
Aldi Stores Christmas Party – to be held at Surly’s American Bar, Surry Hills
Why book Slide McBride For Your Christmas Party?
Typically, people attending work Christmas parties have a diverse range of ages. There are the young twenty-year-olds, but also the more mature fifty-year-olds. The band, Slide McBride will appeal to this broad range of ages, and this is the key to all age groups feeling included and everyone having a great time.
The key to appealing to a broad range of ages is in the band’s repertoire of songs. Primarily, there are lots of “classics” in the song list, but also included are more recent hits. Songs such as “Brown Eyed Girl” and “Proud Mary” are always winners with any audience, but the recent inclusion of Calvin Harris’s “Feels” has been a popular addition.
Having a great song list is imperative, but it’s Slide McBride’s charisma and energy that really differentiates the band from your typical function band. Gregarious singer, Slide McBride connects with his audience, and this is really what sets this band apart from other bands.
If you’d like to include a sassy female singer into the band, Slide’s daughter Beatrice adds an extra dynamic.
Something that fascinates me is the high demand for things that are bland. With so many options available to us, we still seem to gravitate towards the dull and the boring. The demand for blandness seems to have reached a new high.
I don’t understand the preoccupation people have for owning black cars. Firstly, we live in a country with intense sunlight. Black absorbs heat. Therefore, a black car will get hotter than other cars. To choose a car colour that maximises the impact of the harsh Australian sun makes little sense. Secondly, black is the same colour as most roads. This impedes visibility, making it more likely for another driver to pull out on you, increasing your risk of being in an accident. Thirdly, black is the same colour as most hire cars. If you are being driven by a hire car driver, then there is a certain amount of prestige that accompanies this. Unfortunately,most people with black cars don’t have drivers. They have to do the driving themselves.
The popularity of grey as a choice in car colour also puzzles me. If there is any one “most boring” colour, it would have to be grey. Think of how miserable just one week of grey, gloomy, wet weather is. We can’t wait for the vibrant blue skies to return. Strangely, we choose to drive around in grey cars. In an attempt to make grey interesting, we substitute words such as “charcoal” or “silver”. We may as well use descriptive words such as “mud”, “dirt” or “drab”.
Probably the most common car colour is white. Plain-ol’-white. Can’t-go-wrong white. Nothing-interesting white. Never-fade white. It’s the same colour as an artist’s canvas before he or she starts to work on the painting.
I was taught that black, white and grey aren’t colours. They are shades. This means that most of us choose to drive colourless cars. We seem to have a fondness for the plain,dull and uninteresting. Does this cross over into the rest our lives? Are most of us leading plain, dull and colourless lives?
Our Preference For Bland Music
I love drinking un-homogenised milk. The cream is at the top. If you want it mixed up, you have to shake the bottle. The milk tastes better. It is less processed. Yet, it is difficult to buy. The majority of people seem to prefer homogensed milk.
A broad definition of the word homogenise is, “to make it all the same”. With milk, this means to make the cream and the rest of the milk all the same. This is done by reducing the size of the fat globules.
In our current society, there seems to be a propensity “to make it all the same”, from cars to clothes to music. And, just as I am puzzled by people choosing grey cars, I am equally perplexed by people choosing to listen to “grey” music. Music can be so exciting, yet dull music has an overwhelming popularity.
The Popularity Of Bland Music
Walk into most establishments either serving food or selling clothes and you’ll hear the same computer generated drum loop. It’s the same drum loop you hear when someone drives past in a car with their stereo blaring. It’s the same loop that you hear when you sit next to someone on a train and their headphones are so loud that they spill into the carriage. So boring yet so popular. People love bland.
Walk into a bar or pub that advertises “live music”. You know in advance what you are going to hear get because everything is the same. There will usually be a guy dressed down in grubby clothes playing the guitar. He will most likely be using some kind of loop pedal to set up some kind of repetitive beat before each song. He’ll be sitting on a stool and he’ll have an ipad attached to his microphone stand. There will be nothing unique about what he does and no one will be listening to him. He’s employed to be wall-paper and be part of the generic vibe. If it’s not bland and meaningless you know you won’t see him back next week.
Let’s Put Colour Back Into Our Lives
We don’t have to lead grey lives. We are surrounded by vibrant colours. It’s simply a matter of choosing colour over grey. Think back to the 70’s. Clothes were colourful. Music was colourful. People’s lives were colourful. We also had a more even distribution of wealth across the world.