It’s Bigger Than Texas


It’s always good to look back on something worthwhile because it reminds you that things that are worthwhile often take a bit of effort.

Since 2006 I’ve been staging annual music concerts. I’ve called them The Waikaretu Performing Arts Festival because they began at my little farm in Waikaretu.

These annual parties/concerts have been going on now since my old band mates from the late 70’s Dave Arrowsmith and Warren Cate and I dusted off some of our old punk rock songs, put a small vocal PA on the front deck at Waikaretu and used bedside lamps to light the way so we didn’t fall over each other.

Every year they get a little bigger, and a lot better.

The original vocal PA is now the drummer’s monitor system and there is a full concert PA for the front of house with a seperate foldback system, power amps fed by a stereo crossover unit and all pointing back to a 24 track Allan & Heath GL2200 24 track mixer complete with effects rack.

It’s all old school stuff. Big, heavy and bulletproof.

The bedside lamps sit up on the mixing desk now and lighting up the soundstage is a full Par64 can DMX stage lighting rig.

But the hardware isn’t really what it’s all about. That just makes the magic seen and heard.

What these concerts have always been about is a bloody great party.

And what makes the them bloody great is the people who participate in them.

Without exception everyone who participates, whether it’s the crew who set the stage up before a note is played, or do the dump run on the Monday with the empties and the rubbish bags, contributes to the success of the event.

Whether they’re up on the stage pimping the songs, or in the audience line dancing amongst the pogo dancers, or standing at the gate checking those turning up are on the guest list – these are the people who make things so good.

So we did it again last weekend.

The Waikaretu farm has changed hands and I now live in Whakatane which has a vibrant music scene and a regular Open Mic Night down at the local. So my new friends join my old friends and we set up the PA and the lights again, this time in Whakatane’s premier event venue The Top Shelf at Detour, and cranked the songs.

The evening kicked off with a pre-loading session for the entertainers at our house where the musicians and artists met each other, some for the first time, others to reacquaint and catch up. After a good feed the mini bus arrived and ferried us in to the venue.

Sound man Ian Hunia had arrived previous and had everything switched on and pumping for DJ/MC Mojo Buzz aka Kevin Williams to get the party started.

Lutz Sauer, Moone, The Shaggs

Local singer/guitarist Lutz Sauer got the festival underway with his guitar and backing tracks and a nice selection of songs that went down a treat for everyone. Lutz opened for last year’s festival as well and has promised to come back again next time.

Next up was The Shaggs from Whangerei, with Jimmy Rogers on vocals and guitar and partner Susie Rogers on the drums. They play familiar songs in their own style and are now committed regulars to the concert.

Solo act Jupiter Jones followed them and this saw Jeremy Jones playing original compositions to his own backing tracks then a short tribute to Prince. Jeremy has performed once before at Waikaretu and it was a treat to have him back again.

Fiona Cosgrove, The Fuzztards, Harley & the Rocket III

Next up came local legend Fiona Cosgrove who wasted no time in getting the dance floor full and kept it full for 45 minutes of kick ass rock and raunch. Fiona also played at last year’s festivities at Te Teko.

Things got loud when concert regulars Harley & the Rocket III showed what it means to be a rock and roll band from Auckland. Twin guitar, bass and drums and a selection of classic rock anthems that kept people on their feet and working up a thirst that the venue manager was happy to quench.

The final act was played out by The Fuzztards, Whakatane’s oldest punk rocker’s band.

By 1.00 am we were packing up and loading up the mini buses to head back to our place for the after party.

It was a quiet day Sunday.

Concert Review – David Bowie, Wellington Feb 14 2004

Another recycled article from the old Exposures Online Website archives originally published 15th March 2004


On February 14th 2004 David Bowie played a concert at The Cake Tin in Wellington as part of his Reality Tour.

I went.

The support act was Brook Fraser who’s old man used to play for the All Blacks so she gets a leg in to the big time.

She’s probably OK, but as any support act will tell you, you don’t get the full PA, you don’t get the lights and you don’t get the anything more than polite applause.

9.00 pm, it’s starts persisting down – the storm that flooded the bottom half of the North Island had begun.

There’s no big screen, but there’s a huge stage backdrop that is an enormous LCD screen and it’s awesome. It’s dark now, it’s raining, we all know the bands about to start playing and then we hear the opening notes of Rebel Rebel.

The spotlight comes on and there he is. 56 years old and he’s still got that voice.

He gets a couple of newer songs in early, New Killer Star and Reality I think they were, then it’s Fame, the song he co-wrote with John Lennon.

“Here’s one from the great ’80’s band the Pixies’ he tells and plays Cactus.

It’s about this stage where I realise we are in for something special. Bowie’s doing covers.

“Is it too early for a singalong” he asks next. I turn to the missus and say “All The Young Dudes, it has to be”

I’m right of course

China Girl is followed by the Low instrumental A New career In A New Town with the MainMan on harmonica.

My set list notes from here gets harder to read, but there was a song about Uncle Floyd then the female bass player, Gail Ann Dorsey, takes the Freddie Mercury part on Under Pressure (brilliantly I might add).

More illegible scribble I’m afraid, but I know that Bowie has decided to stand out in the rain, “If you can put up with it, so can I’ he says.

Ahhh, love or hate the guy, he’s always known who pays the bills this bloke.

Another cover, the Velvet Underground’s White Light White Heat which Bowie has been playing live now for almost longer than Lou Reed.

Ashes To Ashes from Lodger is followed by I’m Afraid Of Americans, from Heathen, then it’s Heroes, which he dedicates to us who are soaking wet or freezing cold, depending on how much you paid for the ticket.

A quick exit, then the encore. Don’t even have to look at my notes. All from the Ziggy Stardust album, Five Years, Suffragette City and Ziggy Stardust.

Exit stage left, lights come on. Goodnight ladies.

The concert was made that much more special by including the likes of Mike Garson on keyboards, and Earl Slick on guitar, both of whom have been with Bowie on previous albums and tours.

I’ve been buying Bowie’s records (pretty well all of them) since 1972 when I found The Man Who Sold The World, and this was the first time I’ve ever seen the guy live.

I’ve played in more than a dozen bands and every single one has played cover versions of his songs live in pubs and clubs and I’ve even recorded my own versions of a some of his songs for my own listening pleasure (translation – they are pretty bad) so yes, I am a fan.

And yes, I am very biased when it comes to the Jean Genie.

However, Bowie rocked my world in 1972 and he’s still rocking it today.

As such I’ll let him have the last word…

I laughed and shook his hand, and made my way back home
I searched for form and land, for years and years I roamed
I gazed a gazely stare at all the millions here
We must have died along, a long long time ago

Who knows? not me
We never lost control
You’re face to face
With the Man who Sold the World

Ex-punk makes surfing on turf an art

Ex-punk makes surfing on turf an art

2002-05-03 03:03:07

Exposures has been nominated in the Racing and Breeding Magazine Internet awards. The following article was published in the Sunday Star Times, April 8th, 2001

Dave Stewart’s been breaking the rules since he was a teenage punk rocker – waxing his hair bright yellow long before gel became de rigueur. You won’t find the Aucklander prancing around the stage any more with New Zealand’s first punk rock band Anti Music, but he’s still banging the keyboards. Only today, he does it from the confines of his ten by eight spare room, and the keyboards, while silent, are helping him make a noise all around the world. Stewart’s instrument of choice is the computer, four of them to be exact, and bit by byte he’s establishing himself as one of it’s leading exponents.

Last week, Stewart, 45, gained some long overdue recognition when named one of the finalists for a southern hemisphere Internet award. Expert’s chosen by racing’s largest Internet portal, Letitride, selected Stewart’s www.exposures.co.nz from nearly 1000 web sites on racing, breeding and horse sales. And on April 17 at a function in Sydney he’ll find out if his site is the winner for the best innovative use of technology. But, considering Stewart runs the site on his own, and is his spare time, and has few of the resources of his competitors, he already can claim a moral victory.

He’s not still using that first ZX Spectrum PC he brought in 1980 but he cannot afford the grunt others enjoy. And if the judges were to look at the achievements in the last few years, which have set New Zealand on a pedestal for promoting racing on the Internet, he would win hands down.

Stewart developed and still maintain’s a dozen web sites, among them those of New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing (www.nzracing.co.nz), the Auckland Trotting Club (www.harnessracingauckland.co.nz) , and Cambridge Raceway (www.cambridgeraceway.co.nz). On these innovative sites, you can watch video replays of races and trials, and view photofinishes within 12 hours of the action. It was his early photo finish work on his own site, exposures, that had the galloping and harness racing code’s administrators beating on his door. But ironically, it was the punk rock link that led to his turning surfing on turf into an art form.

When Stewart saw audio first hit the Internet, with early news bulletins, and CEO’s welcome messages, he wondered, “why not music?” So he dug up the old punk rock songs he’d taped and converted them from tape to CD. “Then I worked out how to put the songs on the Internet using compressed audio.I’m sure I was the first musician here on the Internet. I was never going to get a record deal but this way people could at least listen to my songs. One or two of them were even quite good.” On Stewart’s accompanying chat site, “Planet Dexter, and experiment in cyber reality”, he successfully predicted what was to come – musos recording their own songs and distributing them on the net.

Stewart, who worked part time as a photo finish operator at the races, challenged the accepted boundaries too when the digital photofinish system arrived. Used to breaking the rules of photography, cooking chemicals up for instant post-race prints, he found a way to extract the image and them compress them by up to 98%. From there, Stewart reckoned he was limited only by his imagination so he quit his job as a paint shop manager and went for it. And when people told him video wouldn’t work on the Internet he proved them wrong too – posting races from Auckland’s 1999 Interdom Carnival on the net, then doing Moonee Valley’s series last year too “for free, just to prove it could be done”.

“That was a big job. I worked through the night so that people could get up the next day and watch the races. I had hits coming in from all over the world.” “But someone had to take the punt and convince people this wasn’t pie in the sky, that the Internet wasn’t just for teenagers to download MP3’s.” “It was then that I realised that in the Internet I pretty much had a TV station at my fingertips”.

Stewart sees a logical next step in the progression – live New Zealand racing on the Internet. “If the Auckland Trotting Club wants to beam races live on the Internet, they can do it tomorrow.” If Stewart can be part of making that happen, he’ll be there – “and hopefully someone will pay me,” he says. For, while Stewart is managing to pay the bills, a few extra thousand for that new computer gear would help.

But he’s confident all the work he’s done gratis will pay off eventually, not just for himself but for the racing industry which is presented with a huge growth market.

As he reassures his wife on his rare sorties outside the spare room – “I’m not doing this for ‘nothing’, I’m doing it for ‘free’. There’s a difference.”

Once Upon A Time…

Exposures OnlineA very, very long time ago, when the internet was very young, I started building websites.

That stuff is easy now but back in the mid 90’s it was all very new.

I still do some websites, mainly for close friends and clients I have been working with for nearly 2 decades.

And I have always had Exposures as a personal website.

Exposures has changed a lot over the years and now it’s just a simple blog. back in the day it was an important website for horse racing people. It got awards. And stuff.

I used to write a weekly column in the old sports paper The Friday Flash called ‘Nothing But Net’.

I’ve recently moved servers and transferred a bunch of websites and in the process had to go through some old backups.

And I found the backup for the old Exposures website.

Some of the stuff on there is very dated. Some isn’t. Some may even be of historical interest to some people.

So I’m going to go through it over time and recycle some of the best bits of those years.

Enjoy…

Rewiring the telecaster

It was time to install some pickups in an old telecaster…

 

Vale Lou Reed

When I was 15 I used to work in the weekends picking tomatoes to earn pocket money. A day in the hothouses earned me $5 so every two weeks I could get on a bus and travel from suburban Mangere into Auckland City and buy a new record.

I was just getting into buying records then. One of the first records I bought was David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust album.

Fuck.

Everything changed.

I went backwards through Bowie catalog to Hunky Dory and The Man Who Sold The World. Then I heard he produced an album by Mott The Hoople. I bought it.

Then he produced Transformer and I was introduced to Lou Reed.

I went back through Lou Reed’s catalog and discovered The Velvet Underground.

I bought a drum kit and formed a band.

Right from the start we did Lou Reed covers. I still do Lou Reed covers.

I have a concert at my farm every February. In 2011 my band was called Deja VU and Nico and we did only Lou Reed covers.

I think I have everything the he released, including the crap. That’s what you do when you are a fan. You even buy the crap.

I saw Lou Reed live in concert twice, in 1975 and in 1978. I took a cassette deck in to the ’75 show and still have the tape. I listened to it again yesterday.

This year’s father’s day I wrote a tribute to Lou Reed. He is the father of most of the songs I ever wrote. He was the one who gave me a voice and walked me through every step of the way. It’s simple. You play a chord, you say the line, you move down the page and you tell the story.

I knew he was sick, but I started to think he was never going to die.

But he died.

Age 71.

He leaves behind a body of work that is stunning in it’s depth and width.

I don’t have a favorite song or album or era. I just have a favorite artist.

Still.

Vale Lou Reed.

Lou Reed

Lou Reed

A Good Heart

Feargal Sharkey sang it

Songwriter: MARIA LOUISA MCKEE

I hear a lot of stories
I suppose they could be true
All about love
And what it can do to you

Highest risk of striking out
The risk of getting hurt
And still
I have so much to learn

I know, ’cause I think about it all the time
I know, that real love has quite a price

And a good heart, these days, is hard to find (a good heart)
True love, the lasting kind
A good heart, these days, is hard to find
So please be gentle with this heart of mine

My expectations may be high
I blame that on my youth
Soon enough, I’ll learned
The painful truth

I’ll face it like a fighter
Then boast of how I’ve grown
Anything is better
Than being alone

I know, ’cause I learn a little every day
I know, ’cause I listen when the experts say

That a good heart, these days, is hard to find (a good heart)
True love, the lasting kind
A good heart, these days, is hard to find
So please be gentle with this heart of mine

As I look back
On all my childhood dreams
My ideas of love
Weren’t as foolish as they seemed

If I don’t start looking now
I’ll be left behind
And a good heart these days
It’s hard to find

I know, it’s a dream I’m willing to defend
I know, it will all be worth it in the end

And a good heart, these days, is hard to find (a good heart)
True love, the lasting kind
A good heart, these days, is hard to find
So please be gentle with this heart of mine

And a good heart, these days, is hard to find (a good heart)
True love, the lasting kind
A good heart, these days, is hard to find
So please be gentle with this, with this heart (with this heart) of mine

A good heart
A good heart
A good heart
A good heart
A good heart
A good heart

Proud To Be A New Zealander?

Hang Ups

Hang Ups

Yesterday, as our parliament of ‘honorable’ representatives passed into law under urgency a bill which even conservative polls showed that over three quarters of the population had strong opposition to a colleague told me he was ‘ashamed to be a New Zealander today’.

I was pretty taken back by that remark.

This is the country that led the world in equal suffrage, and stood up to the might of the United States to make a principled stand on nuclear armed warships entering our ports.

When the French government were conducting atmospheric tests in the Pacific Islands and used their military to engage in acts of violence against New Zealanders with the courage to protest our government sent a naval frigate with a cabinet minister on board to protect our countrymen.

This is the country where a Labour government denied visas to a rugby team to play apartheid sport and when a National Government supported apartheid sport this is the country where over a million people stood up to be counted.

In fact on every important issue of principle over several generations New Zealanders have stood up and taken a decent stand and have demonstrated to the world that we are capable of thinking for ourselves and expressing our own point of view, even if it is at odds with others.

Sadly we have an administration that is not working in the interests of New Zealand but instead seems to be more loyal to the wishes of foreign governments and corporations.

The interests of the country and it’s citizens are ignored and the government regime acts as a lapdog for their overseas masters.

We have seen a lot of this around the world recently. You only have to turn on the news and see that the world is rebelling against despots and traitors in a way that must scare the pants off the rich and powerful.

The only thing that is bigger than their hatred of ordinary people is their fear of them. And for good reason.

So I’m not ashamed to be a New Zealander because we have a government that works against us and sells us out to some foreign power.

I’m just looking forward to the day when they get what’s coming to them for their treason.

There is one thing you can never do and this is to give up on the people, especially the New Zealand people.

We have too proud a history of doing the right thing to let these scumbags get away with what they are doing to this great  country.

John Key might think that we are the kind of people that would ‘run for the hills’ when attacked, but you’d have to ignore history to believe it.

Speaking of running for the hills when attacked…

“Not Another Love Song”

I work at racetracks, up on the roof with the TV camera guys. Between races we talk a bit.

Down in the Waikato B.O.P region a few of the team are pretty musical and a couple the crew play in bands. John Strange is one such camera operator and he’s a bit of a heavy metal legend in fact.

The other day, after the last race at Te Rapa, at 5.22 to be exact, John, James and I had a bit of a conversation about how we were going to spend a Saturday evening.

I said I would probably go home and write another song for my next album (tentatively titled Featherston Street).

John looked at me in that heavy metal look and said ‘not another a love song?’

I said it might be.

“The last thing this world needs is another fu$#ing love song’ he said.

My initial reply was “That’s going to be the title”

Here is my full reply…

The Lunatics Have Taken Over The Asylum

Remember public service restructuring?

We needed it because the public sector was inefficient and the private sector was super efficient. It was the mantra of the 80’s

Public enterprise = bad – private enterprise = good

The facts, as usual, were different. Some private enterprise whizz kids turned out to be criminals and went to jail in the 80’s. Dodgy investments and lost savings.

I worked for the Railways in the 80’s when the public owned it. The public actually built up the railways system and used it as a tool of national development for a few generations. But something went wrong in our thinking. Apparently we Railwaymen and women were in fact useless and all needed to be sacked. But we still needed a railways, so private enterprise bought it. They completely stuffed it up in about 5 years and the taxpayer bailed them out. A couple of times.

We knew this would happen. We even warned people of it. But the public had bought into the myth of the lazy good for nothing railway bludger. And the public got well and truly shafted.

It wasn’t just the railways that got wrecked by this kind if thinking… every public service that could be opened up to private enterprise had the vultures come in for a feed.

The slogan was always “efficiency”.

“It’s more efficient if it’s run as a private enterprise”

Except it wasn’t true. It was a lie. It was a lie told by people who wanted to make a profit providing those services.

With regard to the railways the multinational corporations wanted to scrap the freight limit so that instead of carrying goods by rail they could be carried by 18 wheelers. We had to rebuild our roading network to accommodate this demand. People are still paying for that at the pump.

Sadly when it comes to transporting heavy goods road is the most inefficient method of doing it, but that efficiency argument lost it’s favor when there were profits to be made by private enterprise. Apparently using the taxpayer to subsidize a rail system was bad, but subsidizing road transport was good.

This has been duplicated everywhere there is a dollar to be made. Vultures have moved in to every aspect of the infrastructure of our economy and are milking billions of dollars that used to be spent on services and are now being spent on huge corporate salaries and bonuses.

Take a look at something as essential as mental health. Big corporations are now providing care services for people in need. The big institutions are gone and community care is practiced. The administration takes a huge amount of the money and the staff are left with the crumbs. Somewhere in between that is the patient. While the top heavy administration finds ways to make bigger profits the staff are left to deal with the problems of underfunded caregiving.

It’s not that there isn’t enough money.

We get told all the time that ‘the country can’t afford’ this or that. But the country can afford hundreds of corporate executives in the infrastructure earning a million dollars plus a year before bonuses.

Pennies for the troubled minds of people who find the craziness of this modern world a little too much to take in and make sense of, but millions for a bloke in a suit getting blood from a spreadsheet.

Back in the olden days people had to work really hard to make a million dollars a year. Have you got any idea how many banks you would have to rob to steal that much money?

Thankfully nowadays there is a restrustured infrastructure, less regulation and bank robbery is left to petty crooks.

The gravy train departs from Platform 1 in 10 minutes. Tickets by invite only.