Listened Daniel Johns’ songs that made him from ABC Radio

Silverchair to The Dissociatives, symphony orchestras to electronic production, Daniel Johns’ musical journey has been broad. One of Australia’s great songwriters shares the five songs that made him, and reveals what a super fan he himself is with his favourite bands.

Deep Purple – “Black Night”
Big Black – “Bad Penny”
Nirvana – “Scentless Apprentice”
Bjork – “Joga”
James Blake – “Unluck”

Listened Dylan Lewis’ iconic songs from the 90s from ABC Radio

If you were a teenager watching TV in the 90’s, then Recovery was like church. Every Saturday morning no matter what, you’d flop on the couch and watch this ramshackle live music TV show; three hours long, with characters like the Enforcer lurking about, shaky handheld camera shooting, and all hosted by an eyebrow ring bearing firecracker, called Dylan Lewis. It was the kind of loose TV we hadn’t seen since Countdown, and that was a show our parents watched anyway. This was ours. And it showed the bands we loved, putting on some of the wildest performances we’d ever seen. Recovery was one of the best surprise gigs Dylan Lewis ever got, and it changed the trajectory of his life. Over the course of this Take 5, you’ll be overtaken by the infectious joy of this iconic host, as he pulls back the curtain on a singular time in Australian music television.

Beastie Boys – ‘Professor Booty’

Kate Bush – ‘Lily’

Regurgitator – ‘F.S.O.’

Mr. Bungle – ‘Goodbye Sober Day’

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion – ‘2 Kindsa Love/Flavor’ {Live on Recovery, 1997}

I like the use of ‘joy’ in describing this podcast with Dylan Lewis. As always, a little bit zany, but also very thoughtful. Love his recount of how even with his rash resume he got the job to host Recovery.
Listened Tame Impala’s songs that would surprise from ABC Radio

Way back in 2010, a little band from Perth had just released their debut album Innerspeaker. It would get attention worldwide, and win the J Award for Australian Album of the Year. Two months shy of that gong, Kevin Parker and Jay Watson came in to Take 5 with Zan and share five songs that we might be surprised to find in their record collection. Kev’s love of pop music is well known today, but at the time these choices got quite the reaction when they came in to co-host, and giggle, with Zan. Justin Timberlake – “Rock Your Body” The Presidents of The United States of America – “Peaches” S.O.A.P. – “This Is How We Party” Boris – “Heavy Friends” Mark Ronson and the Business Intl. – “Bang Bang Bang” (feat. Q-Tip and MNDR)

Listened Tom Waits on finding his voice: ‘I don’t really think there is anything genuinely new under the sun’ from Double J

Tom Waits opens up about the mystery of songwriting and the melting pot of influences he draws from.

Zan Rowe speaks with Tom Waits about the songs that inspired his album ‘Bad As Me’. It is one of those interviews that carries you away and leaves you seeing the world in a different light. Some of the notable thoughts were music as captured air:

Tunes are in the air … writing them down is like letter air out of a balloon and then naming it.

Songs living within us after we hear then:

Songs kind of live within you once you hear them, there is nothing new, we are all just doing bad impersonations of each other.

Life as planting seeds:

That’s really what we hope for … plant a few seeds and then we go. We are all just drawing in the dirt with a stick.

Songs in songs and voices in voices:

I think inside every song there are other songs. But I also think, inside your voice, there are other voices that you have yet to discover and that’s kind of why you are here.

Completeness of recorded music:

Until a song’s recorded it isn’t really finished. Regardless of what your plan is, the song itself has a plan of its own. You need to be sensitive to that. Sometimes you need to get out of the way. You need to know when to duck.

After listening for a second time, I was left thinking about the episode with Damian Cowell and how the truth was not what was important, instead it was about a world seen with fresh eyes.

Listened Warren Ellis’ songs in the key of Waz from ABC Radio

Warren Ellis’ music has been the soundtrack to my adult life. I remember when I first heard Dirty Three, they were like nothing else around; an instrumental band with a violinist who played like Hendrix, and epic songs that tore at the very fibre of your being. I listened to their albums and like many others put my own meaning into those wordless songs. In the mid 90’s we started seeing him more in the Bad Seeds. He found a friend and collaborator in Nick Cave, they would form Grinderman together and compose beautiful soundtracks for film and television. Warren Ellis doesn’t sit still. He also rarely looks back.. for him, creative life is about propelling forward, solving the mystery of song that awaits in his next project. When Dirty Three announced they’d be performing their debut album in full, I knew I wanted Waz to Take 5. He’s always been the most entertaining part of Nick Cave doco’s, and his fiery spirit on stage is magnetic; I wanted to get close to that, see what made him tick. What I witnessed, was an entirely different Warren Ellis. In a pin drop quiet room, he took us from his childhood in Ballarat, to the streets of Europe, finding his voice in Melbourne and then leaving it all behind to become the man he is today. Songs in the key of Waz. From the maestro himself.


John Ellis – ‘Mis’ry is my Middle Name’


Johnny Cash – ‘Orange Blossom Special’


Beethoven – ‘Symphony 7 slow movement number 2 Allegretto’


Arleta – ‘Mia Fora Thymamai (I Remember a Time)’


Alice Coltrane / John Coltrane – ‘The Sun’

Warren Ellis reflects on the music that marked his journey. From a creative perspective, it provides an insight into the importance of keeping on going.

You can turn up and fail, but at least you turned up.

Ellis is one of those storytellers who captures you as a listener and really drags you in.

I came upon the Ellis episode via Zane Rowe’s Best of 2019 episode.

Listened TISM’s Damian Cowell’s songs from the 90s zeitgeist from ABC Radio

TISM were one of the biggest Australian bands of the 90’s. They were the godfathers of musical comedy, captains of satire and frankly, a band that when I listen to today, I’m still gobsmacked by. They hailed from Melbourne but played all over; masked men who would put on insane shows full of bizarre concepts and songs like “Defecate On My Face” and “Saturday Night Palsy”. TISM were the ultimate shit stirrers, and we loved it. Humphrey B Flaubert AKA Damian Cowell reminded us of why the 90’s helped a band like that flourish, and share five songs from the zeitgeist himself. From pop princesses to Brissie bands that have never played by the rules, it’s not only one of the funniest Take 5’s you’ll hear but a capture of a unique and wonderful time in Australian music. This is seriously, one for the ages.


Caligula – ‘The Bluff’


Kylie Minogue – ‘Did It Again’


Regurgitator – ‘Black Bugs’


Custard – ‘Nice Bird’


Fauves – ‘Easy (Easy)’

This is a fascinating reflection on the 90’s between Zane Rowe and Damian Cowell (aka Humphrey B. Flaubert) and how it allowed a band like TISM to thrive. Whether it be Custard, The Fauves and Regurgitator, Cowell spoke about the power and potential of the strangeness and disruption. Rather than sticking to the script, he argues that music should sometimes challenge us:

Use your power wisely … Treat them to an anchovy.

It is funny thinking back to the nineties in Croydon. Although not one of those students asking Mr Cowell if he was on the drug that killed River Phoenix, I will not forget his last lesson before leaving teaching when he brought in a video recording of TISM on Rage. By the time he had wheeled in the TV, we managed to catch a lengthy rambling between he and Ron ‘Hitler’ Barassi about nothing much, before announcing three tracks from the Ted Mulry Gang. The mask was definitely off.

Listened Tony Visconti’s enduring relationships from ABC Radio

Tony Visconti is a living legend. For more than 50 years he’s been behind some of the most iconic albums of our time.

His career began with T Rex, and later on he’d record with everyone from The Dandy Warhols, to Iggy Pop, The Damned to Angelique Kidjo. But his most enduring relationship was with David Bowie. They met in the late 60’s, both of them finding their way through music and the sounds, and people, they wanted to be. Visconti would produce Bowie’s most loved work of the 70’s; Young Americans, The Berlin Trilogy, and then Scary Monsters before the two took a break. He’d come back into the fold to help craft Bowie’s last four records, including his final act Blackstar.

I had the chance to spend time with Tony in Hamburg, so of course I asked him to Take 5. From the moment we met, he was an open book. You’ll hear it in our chat too, there’s a humility and groundedness to all Tony says, and he brings you into a world that, even if you’re not musically literate, you feel you belong. From Bolan to Bowie and a lifetime in between, dive into the extraordinary mind of Tony Visconti.

T. Rex – ‘Ride A White Swan ‘

Esperanza Spalding – ‘Judas’

Angelique Kidjo, Carlos Santana & Josh Groban – ‘Pearls’

Kristeen Young & David Bowie – ‘Saviour’

David Bowie – ‘Heroes’

What was interesting was Visconti’s discussion of the relationships. Associated with this is the role of being a fan. Also, what ‘technically’ works may not be the best outcome.
Listened Waleed Aly’s songs we should talk about from ABC Radio

Waleed Aly is the smartest guy in the room. Whether hosting The Project, writing editorials for major newspapers, or completing his PhD, it feels there’s nothing he’s not good at, and the Australian public agrees; he won the Gold Logie in 2016. We’re used to seeing Waleed dissect and make sense of the news every day, but sometimes you get a glimpse into his musical heart and you can see that it beats so strong. When I finally got Waleed to Take 5 I gave him the theme “Songs We Should Talk About”, a play on the title of his wonderful segment from The Project. Unsurprisingly, Waleed put a lot of thought into his songs… He sent me three separate lists of five songs (not to be changed in any way, but all telling a different story). The one we went with gifted such a rich conversation. Waleed is someone who can completely dissect a song cerebrally but also show how his connection to it changes given the emotion, and the time he’s hearing it. This conversation is something else. From Lily Allen to Public Enemy to Pink Floyd, this will make you believe in the broad and beautiful power of song.

Lily Allen – ‘Smile’

Public Enemy – ‘911 Is a Joke’

Queen – ‘The March of the Black Queen’

Billy Joel – ‘Allentown’

Pink Floyd – ‘The Great Gig in the Sky’

Waleed Aly shares five songs we should talk about with Zan Rowe. Deep and eclectic as ever. I cannot believe how many projects he is a part of and had no idea of his musical roots associated with Robot Child.
Listened Peter Hook’s unknown pleasures from ABC Radio

Peter Hook is an architect of modern music. As bass player and founding member of Joy Division and New Order, his melodic high playing style changed the game. Hooky’s bands influenced countless other artists from all across the musical map. From the branches of post punk and electronic music, these two groups changed the game for all of us. Plenty of bands lifted from that blueprint too: Radiohead, Interpol, Arcade Fire, the list goes on. But what are the songs that are unknown pleasures for Peter Hook? The sparks of inspiration that led him in new direction, the music he swooned to as a fan? From The Sex Pistols to Sigue Sigue Sputnik, The Temptations to The Velvets, Hooky wound back through an extraordinary life. And shared a hell of a lot of stories. Wind back to the root of a huge family tree, with this wonderful conversation about discovering your place.

Sex Pistols – ‘Anarchy In The UK’

Lykke Li – ‘I Follow Rivers’

The Temptations – ‘Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)’

Sigue Sigue Sputnik – ‘Love Missile F1-11’

The Velvet Underground – ‘Venus In Furs’

Zane Rowe talks with Peter Hook, the bassist for Joy Division and New Order. Hook shares stories about his punk origins, the role of technology on the music of New Order, early inspirations provided by Motown, how he came about his hi bass playing style and the influence of Velvet Underground on music. In closing the discussion, Hook shares his ethos,

Everything I have done, whether it has been terrible or wonderful, has made me the person I am.

Listened The Streets Take 5 with songs of then and now from ABC Radio

In the early 00’s The Streets burst onto the scene. Original Pirate Material was like nothing else around. Combining garage beats with everyday stories from a geezer we could all relate to. Mike Skinner wanted to literally push things forward, taking the garage genre in a new direction and using his lyrics to talk about what was really going on inside the hearts and minds of people in the clubs. It struck a chord, and The Streets got a lot of attention. Over five albums Mike Skinner would tour Australia a whole lot, always playing festivals and always drawing a huge crowd. Then in 2011 he called it a day, releasing his final album and doing his final shows as The Streets. Music stayed in his life though. He threw himself into producing, directing, and most notably DJ-ing, behind the decks instead of out front on stage. Across his five songs choices we get a snapshot of a kid writing raps in his notebook in a hostel in Sydney. As well as the man today who is older, wiser, more grounded but with plenty of stories to tell. From Johnny Cash to Grim Sickers to Daft Punk, this is The Streets, Taking 5 with Zan Rowe and playing us his songs from then and now. Johnny Cash – ‘A Boy Named Sue’ Snoop Dogg – ‘Serial Killa (ft. The D.O.C., Tha Dogg Pound and RBX)’ Grim Sickers – ‘Open the Till (ft. Ghetts and Mike Skinner)’ Daniel Bedingfield – ‘Gotta Get Through This’ Daft Punk – ‘Human After All / Together / One More Time / Music Sounds Better With You’ (from Alive 2007)

Listened Mark Ronson’s songs of pop perfection from ABC Radio

Where do you begin with Mark Ronson? 7 Grammys, an Oscar, and so many hit records over 15 years of writing and producing music. He may not sing, but he’s topped the charts in every other way; crafting ‘Uptown Funk’, co-writing ‘Shallow’ with Lady Gaga, and collaborating with musicians from right across the genre map. Ever since that debut album back in 2003, I’ve been a fan. The way he scooped up hip-hop, soul, and funk into perfect pop packages grabbed my attention and kept it. Over the years Mark and I have crossed paths a few times but he’s never done a Take 5. And the opportunity to get inside the musical mind of Mark Ronson is something I’ve been hankering to do for a long time. From OutKast to The Smiths, King Princess to Kacey Musgraves to Prince, hear one of the world’s great producers explore how their songs define pop perfection for him. King Princess – ‘1950’ The Smiths – ‘Stop Me if You Think You’ve Heard This One Before’ Outkast – ‘Ms. Jackson’ Kacey Musgraves – ‘Slow Burn Prince – ‘Pop Life’ 

Mark Ronson gives insight into what defines a perfect pop tune. For Ronson, the best pop songs have a tinge of melancholy, with the push pull of melody and sadness. This reminds me of his discussion of music collection for Crate Diggers. The thing I love most about listening to Ronson speak about music is his breadth of knowledge and experience.

Marginalia

All these old songs are like your kids … They all get you to where you are at.

What can I bring to amplify this person’s superpower.

via Virginia Trioli