Studio work: Jqmes Williamson and Deniz Tek. Franklin Avery photo.
It’s a back to basics, guitar album but “Two To One”, the joint effort from James Williamson (Iggy & the Stooges) and Deniz Tek (Radio Birdman), had a complicated gestation that birthed a record in the nick of time.
Commissioned by Los Angeles label Cleopatra Records a year out from its planned release, most of its 11 songs were worked up in face-to-face sessions in Hawaii, where Tek now lives and Williamson spends half his year at his vacation home.
After Williamson went back to his home in San Francisco, the songs were refined via file sharing before Tek flew to the mainland in December last year for rehearsals and a recording session for the basic tracks at Studio D in Sausalito, California.
Sessions for vocal tracking and guitar overdubs followed on both sides of the Pacific. The record was mixed and about to be mastered when the first ripples of the COVID-19 pandemic became a global tidal wave.
After collaborations for singles with Petra Haden (“Blues Jumped The Rabbit”), Lisa Kakuala (“I Love My Tutu”) and Maia (“Sickkk”) in the last six months, ex-Iggy & the Stooges guitarist James Williamson is poised to release an acoustic EP with Radio Birdman’s Deniz Tek.
“Acoustic KO” is being released digitally and as a vinyl EP on March 31. The track listing is “I Need Somebody”, “Penetration”, “Night Theme” and “No Sense Of Crime” and you shouldn’t need to be told that the first two come from “Raw Power” and the others from the Williamson-Pop “Kill City” album. Tek provides vocals and guitar on three cuts and Williamson contributes guitar (naturally) but expect acoustic drums, guest singers and an orchestra in there too.
Many people have tried to make a Radio Birdman documentary. For a variety of reasons, only one has succeeded.
And it would have been so easy for Jonathan Sequeira to fuck it up.
Don’t worry. He hasn’t. Not by any stretch of the imagination.
“Descent Into The Maelstrom” was screened to a select audience of band members, followers, media and other hangers-on in Sydney last night. The venue was the Chauvel Cinema, deep inside – ironically enough – Paddington Town Hall, the scene of the definitive Radio Birdman line-up’s last Australian stand.
Rob Younger at The Factory Theatre. Shona Ross photo.
Radio Birdman + Mick Medew & The Mesmerisers + East Coast Low Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle, NSW Friday, June 21, 2019 Radio Birdman + Mick Medew & The Mesmerisers + The Dark Clouds Factory Theatre, Marrickville, NSW Saturday, June 22, 2019 The Aints! + Colonel Kramer & The Eamon Dilworth One Man Brass Ensemble Factory Theatre, Marrickville, NSW Friday, June 28, 2019 Your own legacy is a hard act to follow. This is a tale of two bands.
On one hand you have Radio Birdman, a thoroughly re-tooled and different beast to its previous incarnations and still carrying a substantial reputation. They’re a prime reason why The I-94 Bar exists.
On the other, you have The Aints!, who are led by foundation Saints member Ed Kuepper and armed with a setlist partly planted in that band’s past, with the balance comprising songs that were written for the old band but never recorded.
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