RSVPed Attending Damian Cowell’s Disco Machine – Xmas Show

They’ve been locked away for two years like a shrivelled up inflatable Santa in a cupboard – but now they’re BACK! Damian Cowell – the master of insatiably catchy wrongness – and his party animal Disco Machine are ready to bring you Disco Christmas – a non stop bell-wiggling, floor-shaking festive dance party, featuring the snake-hipped boogaloo moves of the great Tony Martin – you’ve never seen him like this on Have You Been Paying Attention! With highlights from his mind-blowing animated graphic novel web series Only The Shit You Love, plus some Christmas classics as only he can reinvent them, Damian Cowell his Disco Machine and Tony Martin will help you forget the world, forget yourself, and have the best night out in, well, two years! Come in Disco Christmas fancy dress and win a prize! If you’ve been to a Disco Christmas, you’ll know how good this is – limited tickets so this will sell out. Don’t miss it!

A part of me wonders how much of my joy from seeing Damien Cowell’s Disco Machine live was going to my first post-COVID gig (actually my first gig since seeing Smashing Pumpkins in 2012), but whatever it was, the night left an undeniable mark.

I love the surprise of hearing an unknown artist. I had no idea what to expect from Twinkle Digitz, Will Hindmarsh’s one man show, the support act for the night. When I purchased my ticket, there was no mention of a support act so there was no pre-gig Googling. Twinkle Digitz mixture of samples, voice and live instrumentation felt reminiscent of many busking gigs I have seen, such as Reuben Stone. Just can’t imagine hearing Shit Eatin’ Grin in the middle of Bourke Street Mall. One of the things that I like about the set was how even though he used program beats and samples, there was something loose about it all that made me feel that every performance was most definitely unique.

In regards to the Disco Machine, this was my first time seeing them live. Although I had heard all the albums, watched the documentary Disco ex Machina and captured a few clips online, I was still unsure what to expect. Although the set started with a crack at Christmas, for me it started with (Here Comes the) Disco Machine. When the song dropped I was hooked. I remember having a similar experience seeing Radiohead circa 2003 and having the same apprehension until they started belting out the drums for There There. It also hit home why virtual performances can not replace the physical experience of being there.

The band played a mixture of new and old tracks, including Get Yer Dag On and My Horn Plays La Cucaracha. One of the things that I was intrigued by was Tony Martin’s role. Although he took a few songs to come out, once on stage he was a central part of proceedings. I really enjoyed what Martin brought to some of the songs, such as the back and forwards between he and Cowell in All DC Wants For Christmas.

My only disappointment with the concert was how soon it felt it was over. However, I don’t think I realised how exhausting such an intense performance actually is.

One of the strange things about the gig was how It felt like close nit community, a ‘reunion party of close friends’ maybe. It kind of felt like everyone knew everyone, but then again maybe that is because I knew no one. It also still seems strange to be contemplating live music once again.

Listened ‘A little bit of artifice is good’: Damian Cowell on performing without a mask from ABC Radio

Even years after pulling off the mask as part of TISM, Damian Cowell says he still looks to play a character whenever he performs.

“I certainly couldn’t be one of those sensitive singer-songwriter types that gets up on stage and bares their soul,” he said.

“I’d just be afraid that people would be bored.”

His newest work Only The S*** You Love, is an album, animation and YouTube series, developed as part of Damian Cowell’s Disco Machine.

Libbi Gorr speaks to Damian Cowell about his new project, Only the Shit You Love. It is fair to say that it is sometimes an awkward conversation with the two unsure of overstepping the boundary. I like the suggestion that it is an example of ‘inclusive offensiveness.’
As someone late to the Disco Machine, I enjoyed watching Disco ex Machina. It mixes live performances with various backstage snippets from their 2015 nation wide tour. Some highlights include Cowell discussing his indulgence in having two drummers:

Two drummers … like eating two Golden Gay times at once

Also his commentary on the push to have TISM represent Australia at Eurovision. It is kind of like Radiohead’s Meeting People is Easy, without all the depressing bits I guess.

Not sure why this has been released now and not in 2015, but as always with Damian Cowell, we will go with it. With the lack of any opportunity for actual live music at the moment, it is some light relief.

Replied to St. Vincent & U2 Both Felt Compelled To Cover “Stairway To Heaven” (

For whatever reason, both St. Vincent and U2 posted covers of Led Zeppelin’s so-iconic-it’s-cliché “Stairway To Heaven” yesterday. It’s like the inverse of that scene from Wayne’s World where Mike Meyers is forbidden from playing the song’s intro riff in a guitar shop — just an abundance of “Stairway,” more “Stairway” than anyone needs.

Is it just me or are both U2 and St. Vincent been listening to the Arseless Chaps lately with their cover of the ‘definitive’ version of Stairway to Heaven?

Listened Archival Revival from Damian Cowell’s Podcast Machine

New host Kate Kingsmill pulls out one of the more weird and wonderful live performances from the RRR vaults…TISM at The Laundry in Nov 2001!

The Melbourne legends had just released their 5th album De RigueurMortis at the time. Kate also catches up with Damian Cowell aka Humphrey B. Flaubert as he shares some reflections on the performance and the band’s long history with Triple R.

Kate Kingsmill speaks with Damian Cowell about TISM’s 2001 RRR performance at The Laundry. The conversation leads to many tangents, although is always mindful of getting too ‘Glenn A Baker’ about the past. Cowell describes TISM as, “a bunch of adolescent boys thinking what does this switch do.” He also mentions his current multi-media project about his feet and the prospect of ever performing again.

I was wondering where Damian Cowell was at. Was kind of hoping for some sort of concocted online offering he might have created to fill in the time or some sort of Song Exploder style expose of the mystery behind the masks. But this will do.

Listened ‎Damian Cowell’s Podcast Machine: Message from DC June 17 on Apple Podcasts from Apple Podcasts

His master’s voice

Damian Cowell reflects on the passing of Chris Cornell from Soundgarden. Cowell discusses how the aircon was turned off at the 1993 Big Day Out because Cornell had a cold.

Cowell also reflects upon grunge music in general, which then ends up in a discussion of 70’s rock. He then discusses the way in which front men seem to swap bands like the AFL draft. He wonders why he didn’t front Savage Garden considering where that band might have gone if he had done so.

Listened Kids Love Balloons – Episode 33: Damian Cowell by The Song NerdThe Song Nerd from

OK so I couldn’t resist using a TISM reference in my intro, despite the language being filthy, and now I’m caught somewhere in between “that’s a great dad joke” or “why did you swear like that, you buffoon?”. TISM was one of Australia’s most iconic and entertaining bands and when a song title such as “I might be a …” exists, the opportunity to use it contextually was too rare to resist.

Nevertheless. Former member Damian Cowell popped around to my place and we had a great yarn for a couple of hours. He’s now focused on Damian Cowell’s Disco Machine – a new album to be released February 20 and subsequent shows which seem basically unmissable. Just by reading the band name you can sense the sheer fun this project exudes.

It’s about “giving in to the simple joys of my own twisted version of fun dance music”. The album is titled Get Yer Dag On. The gist is: What a shit world we’re living in – let’s boogie!

So we discuss the musical influences of the project, the pleasures of choreography, how his career developed over the years and as it happens, plenty of life lessons pop up. He airs concern that we ventured in to “some sort of self-help” thing and if that element is there, I don’t mind too much. Hahaha this nugget of wisdom does spring from the chat so thanks Damian for the inspiration and comfort:

We can all garner some hope. DAILY DISAPPOINTMENT is beneficial and make you a richer, fuller person. Try things and fail. Feel emotionally vulnerable and experience suffering. It all helps in the long run, keeps us grounded, teaches us lessons, and as long as we keep recognising this we can stay on top and not let the disappointment defeat us.

Damian Cowell speaks with Chris Holland about chemicals, nostalgia, his love of Rod Stewart, playing music that is fun not cool and trying to be more Damian Cowell and less TISM. Cowell also shares how Henry Rollins ended up being on Get Yer Dag On. As always, a case of chance.
Listened ‎Damian Cowell’s Podcast Machine: Arseless Chaps Episode 1 on Apple Podcasts from Apple Podcasts

‎Show Damian Cowell’s Podcast Machine, Ep Arseless Chaps Episode 1 – 23 Dec 2015

Damian Cowell teamed up with Tony Martin on RRR as the Arseless Chaps during the 2015/16 summer break. The highlight in the four week slot was Cowell’s playing of various tracks at the wrong speed and shortening of longer tracks, including Stairway to Heaven in Episode 4.