Thursday, July 9, 2009

Salisbury, Brisbane, 1991

Band: Mona Lisa Overdrive
Members: Gary (v), Id (k), Robbie (b), Ross (d), Carl (g)

The room was a purpose built rehearsal room in Ross's parent's house.

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The room was dark and cramped. Perfect for generating a large sound with only small PA and amplification system.

The Reptile House that I had seen a week before were no more, they had changed into Mona Lisa Overdrive, and the guitarist Matthew had left the band. So I was told.

Robbie had done all the negotiating with me at the venue and over the phone up to now, I had known him as a friend of Lorenzo's at Griffith Uni. Robbie seemed to be the leader of the band and had very strong ideas about where and what the band should be playing. One thing is for sure, Robbie appeared very determined, and eventually his determination would score him the bass position in the Sydney band, The Died Pretty.

We jammed on a couple of old Dementia 13 songs like Mr Driftwood, as I believe Mr Id wrote the music to them. I thought that the guys might like a new song, so I had written a riff during the week and gave it a go. They seemed to like it, particularly Ross, the style seemed to agree with his drumming, and there were times even in the first rehearsal that he let us know that he thought the some of the other songs were pedestrian.

Then Matthew showed up. He hadn't left the band. Well, at least he didn't think he had left the band.

Awkward position to be in.

Figuring it had nothing to do with me, I just launched into another song.

I think Robbie gave him the news later that the band had a new guitarist.

Not long after that I become friends with Matthew, I bumped into him often at Ross's apartment at the Pink Palace in Spring Hill, he was a good guy and didn't seem to mind that he wasn't in the band anymore. Although I do suspect he was the one that slipped me a magic mushroom cocktail at a party at the Palace once.

There were a few gigs with this lineup, but we put on a particularly shambolic performance when we supported Concrete Blonde at Griffith University. The band communication was shattered as we were on a stage the size of a football field instead of the usual postage stamp. After the show we went backstage, to hang with the 'crete, and I was somewhat disappointed as I had neither envisaged an international rock band with a table of fruit as a rider, nor the sight of Paul Thompson from Roxy Music wearing a bumbag. Gary, the MLO singer, was catatonic, and when we were handed our payment for the show, he blurt out a series of expletives and tore up the check in some symbolic gesture.

Robbie handled all finance from then on.

Here's a few tracks from MLO's 6 track tape, Earthly Delights. Backing vocals on Rivers and Morella courtesy of Ann Della.

MLO covering Syd Barrett's Lucifer Sam. A most bizarre arrangement by Robbie, but it kind-of works.

MLO Rivers This song gave Mr Id the opportunity to wig out. I lifted the leitmotif for guitar in the end direct from a recording I had heard performed by Stewart from Reptile House.

MLO Morella This is the only song where I have ever used an e-bow. Ross excels on the triplet of cymbal pings and Mr Id's strings in the middle-eight is the wonkiest keyboard sound I've heard since While My Guitar Gently Weeps. It would have been entirely intentional by Mr Id, I'm sure.

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