In Conversation with… Sabian Wilde

Marketing Lecturer. Writer. Music Bod. Claims to have coined 'Perthonality'

Archive for the ‘Memories’ Category

The power of a good headline… Booty fever

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On Thursday, 29 September 2005, I managed to become the number one Google search result for ‘Booty Fever’, bypassing hundreds of adult-ass-oriented sites with the following story, written for the now defunct…

Robot sparks Robinson Crusoe booty fever

Booty seeking robot...

Booty seeking robot, Arturito...

CHILE-based Wagner Technologies ignited a fierce fight for gold after the company claimed it had discovered an 18th century treasure-trove of buried pirate booty worth $US10 billion using a metal-detecting robot named after the movie Star Wars’ R2-D2.

The claims of hidden treasure are being given credence because the robot, Arturito, is something of a local celebrity, credited with discovering a large weapons cache belonging to a right-wing militant colony in southern Chile.

Arturito also discovered the remains of businessman Francisco Yuraszeck, who went missing in 2004. In both investigations officials called in the Wagner Technologies robot after being unable to solve the cases by traditional investigative techniques.

Arturito is equipped with advanced sonar technology able to scan the atomic composition of materials such as water, metals and petroleum buried up to 50m underground.

Wagner claims its crime-solving robot has discovered the missing treasure buried by Spanish navigator Juan Esteban Ubilla y Echeverria on an island off the Chilean coast in 1715. The treasure was believed to be found by British sailor Cornelius Webb, who proceeded to bury it elsewhere on the same island.

The island is also famous as the place Scottish sailor Alexander Selkirk was marooned for five years in 1704, inspiring Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe novel. The island was officially named Robinson Crusoe Island in 1966.

Wagner’s claims of discovering the missing treasure has sparked a battle for rights to the treasure, with participants including the Chilean Government and the 600 residents of Robinson Crusoe Island.

Wagner has refused to divulge any details on the location of the discovery until it is assured of a 50% stake in the treasure. Because Arturito uses sonar techniques, no digging has taken place at this stage.

The island itself is part of a World Biosphere Reserve due to its unique flora and fauna.


From the Archives… Eskimo Joe: Be vewwy vewwy quiet; It’s WAMI season (2002)

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No song this week while a few issues get sorted out… so enjoy this blast from the past.

Kavyan Temperley (with Bruce from

Kavyan Temperley (with Bruce from

The Final Hoo-Ha
Kiss My WAMi 2002


By Sabian Wilde

Eskimo Joe
’s involvement with Kiss My WAMis is pretty much as old as the band itself, and like the festival, the band has progressively moved on to bigger and better things each year.

“I guess it’d have started for us in around ’98. We kind of had this habit of releasing our CDs in late July, just before the Kiss My WAMis start, so we seemed to ride the WAMi wave each year – except we’ve blown it for the last two years,” says Temperley, laughing.

Given the success that the Joe have enjoyed in the intervening years, Temperley has a different perspective on the WAMis, one that is surprisingly positive. “I don’t know that it means as much to us as it does over east,” he said.

“You go over there and people are like, ‘Wow! You’ve won a WAMi!’ and you’re like, ‘It’s a chocolate cake, dude.’ Over here it’s like, ‘Cool, it’s the WAMis, let’s get drunk and check out some gigs.’ I think it’s good that people get excited about it, but it’s really more of a national interest type of thing, it gives them a good reason to come over and check it out,” he says.

“The fact that we’re so isolated and bands like us and Jebediah have stayed in WA, and you’ve got bands like Halogen, Cartman and The Fergusons as your really big up-and-comers, WA has created a scene that you can’t find anywhere else. No-one else has a scene – there’s no ‘New South Wales scene’, no ‘Victorian scene’.”

The strength and diversity of the ‘WA scene’ will certainly be represented in full force for the Closing Party even, where Eskimo Joe will be joined by Lash, Effigy, Sodastream, ASG, Purrvert and newcomers Josivac for a night that promised to one one hell of a musical experience —  and of course, a lot of chocolate cake.

“They’re pretty hardcore chocolate cakes,” says Temperley. “You can only really eat one cake among a couple of people, so there’s always one cake that ends up going mouldy if you’re one of those lucky bands that wins more than a couple of awards. We won three one year, and my brother (Trilby Temperley, ARG) accepted the cake for us and we never even saw it. He used to be really skinny – he’s huge now.”

Many of the nominees in the categories have already been recognised by their inclusion of the Kiss My WAMi compilation, a comprehensive industry ‘sampler’ sent to radio stations across the nation, highlighting our local talent. The impact of this sampler is often underrated here in Perth, because most of the good work it does is interstate.

“That first CD on the new WAMi compilation is awesome,” says Temperley. “It’s the best WAMi CD I’ve ever heard. The Halogen song is unbelievable and the Sleepy Jackson song is really good and our song on it is…kind of crap…I joke, I joke!”

Needless to say, the sampler often acts as an introduction card for many acts who later on release their own albums and find that interstate radio stations are more than happy to pick up their work.  This can easily be seen by the success of both out independents and major label acts, both recognised by the album and EP categories of the WAMi awards. Just as important is the fact that although there are major label entries in these categories, it’s by no means a guarantee to win.

“I know,” agrees Temperley. “It’s interesting, but I’d say it’s just the first time we’ve had major label releases to put in that category. I mean, Jebediah used to be the only one, but the thing is that you have people like Halogen and Cartman, who aren’t signed to a major label but are doing equally as good in terms of getting radio airplay. I would count that as being just as important, because in the end it really comes down to radio.”

So, as you can see, there are many forms of success and recognition, whether it be cake, compilation or gig – the Kiss My WAMis just make it bigger, better and more fun. Temperley couldn’t agree more, “It’ll be awesome to play the final show – a hoo-ha!”

Written by Xab

Wednesday, August 5, 2009 at 3:45 pm

IN CONVERSATION WITH… Clumsy: What I Have Is Gold II

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AUDIO (Courtesy of RTRFM): Click HERE to listen to me approach a cover of Halogen, Clumsy, clumsily.

Last night’s gig went swimmingly… very happy to be amongst it again.

For the record, my setlist was as follows:

Autopilot: What You’ve Got Pt. I & II
Red Jezebel: Find Our Way Back Home
Fourth Floor Collapse: Primary School
Halogen: Clumsy

Highlights (of the rest of the evening) include my first chance to see a young singer/songwriter called Timothy Nelson, appearing around the traps with The Infidels. What a great voice, and some neat chops on keys and guitar.

Jake Snell went even more retro than me, with Header, Ammonia and Flanders — luckily, I had decided not to play Anky Fremp — how embarrassment would that have been… would have been worse than me turning up in the same outfit as Abbe May.

Also noteworthy, Ms May — one of the only people who didn’t appear to have pneumonia (rocking or otherwise), according to my guestlist —  played a cover of Eskimo Joe’s Liar that inspired a strange reaction from the audience… finger-snaps are percussive, yet these seemed imbued with sarcasm as expressive as the lady’s voice.

Apparently there’s a desk recording that will be available in the near future…

In the meantime, here’s a desk recording of my RTRFM appearance yesterday on Breakfast With Barr, covering Halogen.

Clumsy’s an odd looking word, really when you look at it. Is there a word for ‘visual onomatopœia’?


And of course, rescpect to Tania, who has been keeping the flag flying at the Hydey up to this sad point.

Eternal thanks also to Hayley Beth for giving me the spot (get up and fight, kiddo)  and to Nick Taylor, for loaning a guitar worth more than my life and far beyond my ability to play with any sense of justice.

Thanks also to Steve and Hugh, who turned up too late to hear me murder their song. Sweet kids.

What’s next?

Well, let me just say: Bob gave rock’n’roll to ya…


Something special

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This Tuesday, I’m honoured to have the opportunity to perform live at the Hyde Park Hotel for What I Have is Gold II, a night dedicated to the incredible songs that have come out of Perth over the last couple of decades.

For Facebookers, the info is here:

In essence, it will be local artists playing covers of local artists and it promises to be a good night for punters.

For me, it’s the opportunity to demonstrate something I never felt I was able to adequately express in all my years of music journalism — exactly how much I love music and how deeply I respect the talent of the hundreds of songwriters that by and large, most people will never hear of or about.

In recent years, Perth has been more successful than usual with its ‘shout it from the rooftops’ approach of publicising it’s local musicians, but the real local music devotee (regardless of where they come from) must come to terms with the fact that the vast majority of their favourite tunes will fade into near obsolescent obscurity the moment that the band in question calls it a day.

Local stations such as RTRFM, which pride themselves on unearthing new talent, play a massively important role in the promotion of new artists/bands: this necessarily means that once a band has folded, the impetus or excuse to play the ‘best song of last year’ is exponentially undermined with each new artist that requires their assistance… and that’s as it should be, for the most part.

But on Tuesday night — possibly (at least rumoured to be) the last night of live local music at the public bar ‘fuck no, we don’t have a stage‘  institution that has been the Hydey front bar — I’ll be taking the opportunity to pay homage to some of my favourite bands and songs of yesteryear… (with one notable exception).

It’ll also be my first non-comedy solo show in 6 years.  It’ll be my privilege to play, and a pleasure to see you there if you’re able.

Me as the angsty, mysterious artist... Early morning in a barn being renovated in rural France (outside Poitiers). Cool as fuck, moi.

Me as the angsty, mysterious artist... Early morning in a barn being renovated in rural France (outside Poitiers). Cool as fuck, moi.


Gamer’s Anonymous – The Parisite Response

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Geez, the internet is great… I’ve been outed as an addict.

A Gamer Addict… By my friend the Parisite.

He has this to say on Gamers Anonymous [to which I don’t belong – in fact, we merely speculate at its existence].

Are the twelve steps something like: ↑, ↑, →, ←, □, ○, x, L1, R2, ↑+□, R2+x, ↓ …?
— The Parisite

Ah… chuckles…

I hope he tells his gaming problem story on his blog soon.
— The Parisite

Well, probably not in detail – it’s kind of embarrassing. Not to mention that I get the ‘urge’ just thinking about it. I’m not fussy… in times of desperation, once I noticed that Windows Solitaire numbers each ‘random’ hand, I started to play them sequentially and got to 200+ before I stopped.

I first realised I was an addict while playing ‘The Sims’. I was congratulating myself on teaching my avatar to get up, go to work, pay the rent and maintain a relationship, when I realised I was late for work.

Two days late.

And I hadn’t paid the rent either.

So how did it begin?

I still remember playing one of the early arcade games ‘Maniak’ (?) in the downstairs room at Papa’s in Fremantle – where the illicit gambling is alleged to have taken place.

Yep, it was a den of vice, waiting for me to fall in. Figuratively, that is, I do remember being able to negotiate the stairs without incident. I was hooked.

My family never had much money, but somehow Mum scraped enough together for a second-hand Vic 20, but it wasn’t too long before I’d disappear to go to friend’s houses to play C64, then Amiga or even the Sinclair ZX Spectrum (ah…. Elite!).

Years later, Timezone opened across the road from Papa’s. I was a high-school drop-out by 16, at which point the manager offered me a job, on the basis that I was there all the time anyway.

Skill puts the cost/minute ratio in the gamer’s favour, and I had already started to get hooked on pinball games as they didn’t ever ‘end’, making it possible to play a single game for up to 45 minutes or so, all the time racking up free games…

I took the job, thus radically reducing the amount of time I had to spend playing games – a fourteen hour shift every two days meant that while I thought I was getting every second day off, it was more like working all day, sleeping for a day and going back to work…

This may have contributed to my surly disposition towards customers, but it was just as likely to be the frequent death-threats I’d get from bogans somewhat outraged by the fact that a geeky kid like me had the keys to all the games in the place.

I won’t tell you why I was fired, but I will say that the manager’s daughter had this tattooed on her ankle.

Classy place, classy company.

Next stop – servicing arcade games for an independent opeartor, and eventually building juke-boxes and other amusement machines… this is at about the time PCs started to become more common, but seeing as I was pseudo-homeless for the next year or so, I had neither the money nor anywhere to put one.

On the other hand, I did learn to play guitar. A real one.

I’m learning Rock Band now.

I ended up working with the independent operator, using the sideshow alley stalls he ran at the Royal Show (WA), the Ecka (Brisbane), Moomba (Victoria), Luna Park (Sydney and Melbourne) to travel the country a bit, but mostly based out of Melbourne, where I ended up running one of his juke-box hire companies, where I convinced him he really needed internet.

Next step – completely addicted to ‘Sanity’s Edge’ – a text based MUD (Multi User Dungeon) with a cyberpunk theme. People I met only as words on a screen, some of whom I am still acquainted with today. [Fuck me, it’s relaunched. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Just when I had learned to have a real job/life/wife. FUCK!]

Do they introduce themselves using their handle/avatar, “I’m Draganslya44 and I’m a game addict”?
— The Parisite

They’re not all that self-reflexive, but it’s kind of true.

During the height first extended period of my addiction, I had many friends whom I knew only by their ‘nicks’ (who says ‘handle’, anyway?). I was friendly for years with a guy I only knew as ‘Bug’, whom I had ‘killed’ because he was true to his name… he was bugging the buggin’ bejesus out of me when he joined up as a ‘noob’.

In Sanity’s Edge, ‘death’ meant being saved at the last minute by paramedics, who would then rob you and throw you out of a moving ambulance into the centre of town. Moments after I killed this annoying newcomer, a voice came over the (text-based) radio…

Now I am small and have no pants.
— ‘Bug’

In a world that pre-dated massively over-hyped pieces of video software that ask you stare at the shallow gryrations of a half-dressed elven women avatars being made to dance by their presumably less desirable overlords, a statement such as ‘Now I am small and have no pants’ simply meant that the guy had a good sense of humour and knew how to take a joke.

I don’t even know how to explain Bug’s friend ‘Hadley’ except to say that it looks like growing up in Canberra fucks you up… in a kind of amusing way. Put it this way, I just tried to track down Hadley and he’s left this up on a forum as his supposed website address… It’s like he doesn’t want me to find him. On the other hand, my signature file on that forum contains the following Fight Club parody, which is strangely appropriate to this discussion.

You are not your magic fireball,
You are not your fancy costume.

The crudely animated MUDs soon followed, which is about when women who had liked MIRC started to play games too. Shortly after this, cybersex started to become commonplace, although I didn’t realise this for some time… I’d be happily hacking some computer-generated foe to pieces, quipping for my life when I realised that the rest of the party was being suspiciously quiet. This is because gamers can use ‘scripts’ which tell their character what to do so they can gain experience while simply ‘chatting’ on ‘intimate modes’.

No, I don’t cyber. I have counselled lonely would-be cybers but that’s a whole other post, which will probably be called, ‘It sure is dark in this dungeon… wanna cyber?’. Nope. My character would be out the front, killing and joking, with an entire party set to automatically ‘follow’ and ‘assist’.

The internet is a waste of time, and that’s exactly what’s right about it
— William Gibson

I should also point out that these games were fun and more importantly, absolutely FREE.

Anyway… as some of you may know, I ended up being a pop culture reviewer for X-Press Magazine, where I suggested I write a computer game review section, which was transitioned into an X-Press offshoot magazine, ZebraPerth.

And that was pretty much the beginning of the end…

I had achieved Gamer Addict nirvana… Years before Tripod wrote Gonna Make You Happy Tonight, I actually said something like:

I’ll be in later baby, I have to finish this level…
No I won’t come now.  IT’S MY JOB!!!!
I don’t tell YOU how to do YOUR job!

Under the guise of ‘reviewing’ I had free games coming in from developers which I argued I was morally obliged to finish before I reviewed them. Unlike some music reviewers, I liked to watch the whole gig before making comments. Same with my movie reviews… And if the game says it offered 60 hours of continuous gameplay, I owed it to my readers to make sure that was true.

That’s what I told my girlfriends and that’s what I told myself. Even after the girlfriends left.

My wife was the most significant of these girlfriends, and she will quite happily tell you that at various stages of the last ten years, my addiction to computer gaming has threatened to kill our relationship.

In November 2007, I killed my computer by chainsmoking for two weeks playing World of Warcraft next to a PC without its sides on while my wife worked on an extended campaign. The motherboard is apparently coated in tobacco resin and cannot be fixed.

Which brings me to one of the Parisite’s other observations:

Do they need to stay away from pretty much any electronic device because that would be an enabler?
— The Parisite

I no longer own a PC.

I no longer own a PS2, and I never bought a PS3 or an X-Box.

I’m glad I never bought a Dreamcast, and I’m sorry for those who did.

My phone only has one game on it. I have finished it probably 100 times.

I still play free online games when my wife isn’t around.

I’m not proud.

But I’m happily married, I pay my rent and I get to work on time.

Except for when I’m trying to blog in the morning.

It’s for the readers…

Believe me?


MOO MOO Renewed

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This is an interview I wrote for one of my favourite bands of (and for) all time… CINEMA PRAGUE.


With the long-awaited launch of Cinema Prague’s Snakes Alive at the Railway Hotel in North Fremantle on Friday, January 30, guitarist George Kailis spoke to Sabian Wilde about reanimating some powerful beasts from the vault.

“I think in our whole career, it’s probably the most gutsy thing we’ve done,” Kailis says of the decision to release Snakes Alive, recorded 12 years ago with original bassist Rex ‘Hossi’ Horan, playing the launch with a reconfigured Prague line up of Kailis, ‘Time’ Lowe and 2008 WAMI-award winning bassist Roy Martinez (Dave Mann Collective).

“In our absence, our cult status had grown – it was really bizarre, and very humbling – it made me really proud, that people should think of us in that way. To come back and put this stuff out there, and possibly fuck it all up – to potentially destroy the whole thing… we could have quite easily not done anything and become an urban myth of the Perth music scene,” Kailis says.

However, rare but sold-out shows in recent years have brought fans out of the woodwork and back into the fold, creating a larger audience than ever, as tight and diverse as the music Prague have created and explored over the years.

“That’s the amazing thing,” says Mr K. “We existed for such a long time, and we moved through quite a few scenes. When we started off we were in the hardcore scene, and then the Freo funk/rock scene, and we collected a lot of fans, and it was great that they all came to the Capitol show. A lot of the young’uns wouldn’t have seen us in a licensed venue back in the day, so they must have been from the [nineties] all-ages scene, it was really cool to see them come.”

“To put it all on the line… it could have been a disaster or, as I hope it has turned out, that we are what people remembered. For the people who had never heard us, but had heard of us, there was potential for people thinking, ‘Well, they’re not that good’. The risk of blowing that whole myth was pretty gutsy.”

The other challenge is presenting the new line up but for the older and geographically divided Praguesters (Hossi is in the UK and Kailis now lives in Melbourne) reuniting the recent line-up with Martinez was the only practical option.

“We had to decide whether to release the album without performances or just bite the bullet and test some new ground,” he says. “Rex was a big part of the band. In a lot of people’s opinion – and mine – he was the front-man and he had a fantastic charisma on stage. Replacing that third of the band was always going to be met with controversy.”

The spirit and music of the original trio is literally ‘live’ and well on Snakes Alive, recorded in just two days at Poons Head in 1997, featuring crowd favourites such as Boogie, Rose Sun P and the best song about linen ever written, Clean Sheets.

Despite playing a starring role in the 90s soundtrack for assorted thrashers, trippers, hippies, freaks and ferals, Kailis is happy that a ‘sensibility outside the mainstream’ has ultimately served the band well, making Snakes Alive as suited to 2009 as it was a decade ago.

“I don’t think our sound has aged too badly. We were never trendy, I guess,” he laughs.

“I have to get excited. If I write a song and it doesn’t keep me up for days, trying to find the perfect end to the melody or whatever, it’s a boring song – you start at point A, go to point B and then the song ends. I like the songs that surprise even me – when even I don’t know where it’s going and it takes a while to feel it.”

Of course, ‘feel’ is a big part of what the Prague experience has always been – there’s a structure and unique logic to it all, but one you have to feel your way through to. In much the same way, Kailis says that although Prague wasn’t actively looking for a new bass player, he intuitively felt Martinez would be a good fit – even though Martinez had never seen Cinema Prague play live.

“We sent [Martinez] all the CDs including Snakes Alive. I wrote charts for all the songs for him, but I had just finished doing my third year of architecture and I was on this trip of doing music as diagrams… I’d give Roy these concepts with pictures and stickers and funny fonts,” he laughs. “I don’t know what he thought of all that, but he interpreted them really well.”

Kailis says Cinema Prague is fiercely proud of Snakes Alive, an album that stands the test of time while being truly representative of the 1997 live band sound, but there are new joys to be had in going back to that material again for the live shows.

“I feel like a historian, but with the ability to change history a little bit,” he says. “Maybe we didn’t quite nail the songwriting back then, so with the live shows, there’s been an opportunity to change the songs. I must say they’re a little more streamlined now and a little less egotistical. We were always keen to show off, but we’ve toned that part of our performance down now.”

“We were very supportive of Rex’s skills back in the day, and now it feels like Tim and I are doing a lot more playing on the night… There’s definitely a different internal dynamic now – in some ways it’s a lot more fun – it has balanced the band out little,” he says.

As far as new material, Kailis says it all depends on how his life is travelling, which explains why he was relatively quiet in the years between the recording and release of Snakes Alive.

“Music, for me, is an artefact of when there’s something in me that feels unbalanced and to balance that, I have to play music. While I was at uni, settled down, with everything planned out for the next five years – Time was tied up with study too – I just didn’t feel as unbalanced as when we started, I guess, I don’t know why.”

With regard to the future, Kailis says that there may be more to come: “We’ve actually still got enough material for another couple of albums – songs that were never recorded – there’s no shortage of material. Because I’m in Melbourne now it’s very hard to rehearse, so it’s good to have a back catalogue we can dip into – including The Big Dish – our 30 minute rock opera about a caveman, inspired by Spinal Tap and band like Yes and Jethro Tull…”


Written by Xab

Saturday, January 31, 2009 at 10:06 pm


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I’ve been contemplating genre-cide
Cause I haven’t won a WAMI in a while
On the periphery of the local music industry
But the WAM song contest has taken out my category

Yes my genre is gone, now I can’t even enter
They threw out that class like an unwanted placenta
It was my time
To win a WAMi with a comedy couplet rhyme

I keep the memory of my WAMis close to my heart
Would have kept the prizes but the cakes, they tend to rot
I used to judge that comp, I used to be an arbiter of style
Listened to 300 tapes and would rarely crack a smile

But now my genre is gone, thought I had a chance this year
Cause Tim Minchin and Andrew Horabin, well, they don’t even live here
It was my time
To win a WAMi with a comedy couplet rhyme

So I guess the timing of this song tells you a little bit more about me
Which is more in keeping with the original version of this song
Well, not the Nick Cave version, this is the one by the Screaming Jets
The timing of this song is based on the other guys’ success which tells you

I got no spine….
But I can whine…