The Bad!Slam!No!Biscuit! poetry slam at the Phoenix is Canberra’s most popular regular art thing of any kind and their 20-minute feature slot has been a real boon to some of my more specific music ventures. Last nights’ Bad!Slam! was a particular hoot, as my friend Reuben Ingall and I launched our split single Nick Delatovic/Reuben Ingall’s Jeff Buckley’s Hallelujah. It was a fitting launch venue as the whole premise was hatched in the Phoenix to start with.
It was a Monday night and the legendary Magic Rob Universe has just taken the stage. The inimitable Magic Rob introduced their first song by saying ‘this one’s called Led Zeppelin’s Rock’n’Roll’. They of course launched into a cover of Rock’n’Roll, but I turned to Reuben in the moment and said that I wished they’d written a song about Led Zeppelin’s Rock’n’Roll and named it Led Zeppelin’s Rock ‘n’ Roll. It took about three minutes for our conversation to escalate into an agreement to both write a song called Jeff Buckley’s Hallelujah and release it as a double A-side.
Reuben is one of the best sound artists and music-makers I know but he’s less known for doing narrative lyrics, so I was completely blown away by the sheer classic songcraft of his track. He really jumped into this with both feet, and his sweetly sardonic tale of being at the mercy of a daggy-but-devastating funeral slideshow milks more genuine feeling than our starting premise could have ever suggested. His song is the best of the two, God-dammit.
My track is about a sad-sack music snob who’s just been dumped and is ill-advisedly trying to drown his sorrows at the same pub his ex and he used to go. As he gives into drunkeness and despair the cliched jukebox playlist starts to pull him in against his better judgement, and he becomes dimly aware of the raw spiritual power that horrendously overplayed songs can hold over a group of struggling strangers at 2.30am. The lyrics are very music-nerdy and it’s has nowhere near the weight of Reuben’s effort, but it’s become one of my favorite songs that I’ve ever written.
Aside from Reuben this was a great excuse to work with some of my favorite musicians. Our band had Reubs on guitar, my Missing Lincolns FamBro Chris Glesson, Finger Your Friends bandleader Emma MacManus on bass, Cathy Petocz on backing vocals and Matt ‘Jesus of Ainslie’ Lustri on guitar. Nick McCorriston produced it and nailed the dashed-off garage vibe by recording us in an actual garage.
As our Bad!Slam! slot was 20 minutes we padded out our set with a cover of my favorite track by my friend and ultra-prolific SongBorg Fuzzsucker. Youse should all check out his whole deal: