Saturday, 9 November 2013

#27. Dog Poo Summer – The Extreme Sprinklers

Harry Fahey: drums.
Brendan Hoffmann: keys.
Matt Neal: acoustic guitar, bass, keys.

Music by Matt Neal, Jade McLaren and Brendan Hoffmann.
Written on October 4, 2003.
Recorded at the Barker Residence, Warrnambool on October 4, 2003.
Produced, engineered and mixed by Harry Fahey and Matt Neal.

The week of recording known as Dion’s Week Of Debauchery proved to be a strangely momentous time for two bands – one on the way out and the other about to begin. Of course, none of us who took part in that fateful week in early 2004 (at least we think that’s when it took place) realised it at the time, probably because we too busy drinking, shooting hoops, and playing soccer on the Playstation.

We were supposed to be recording and making music. Dion’s folks were away for the week so 21st Century Ox had taken over their house and turned it into a studio/rehearsal space with the aim of putting together additional tracks that would go on our ill-fated unfinished second album The Last Sane Man On Earth. Some recording was done – we demoed about a dozen tunes, jammed on a couple more, and put together about three proper recordings. But it seemed like Ox wasn’t quite functioning, or we were more keen to party than work.

Either way, Ox was on the way out, just as we were hitting our creative peak. And on the rise was The Extreme Sprinklers.

We'd already started working on our "rockin' out" poses. PIC: Dylan Buzolich.

I had invited Jade McLaren down from Melbourne for Dion’s Week Of Debauchery. We’d become friends while doing a writing course together at TAFE in ’99-’00 and in the months leading up to Dion’s Week Of Debauchery we’d written a few songs together. The idea was that during the downtime between working on 21st Century Ox stuff, Jade and I could write more music. These were the beginnings of The Extreme Sprinklers, which would some day morph into The 80 Aces.

There are only three (I think) Extreme Sprinklers recordings that came out of that week of recording, and Dog Poo Summer is the least interesting of them (sorry). It’s kind of a crossover between Ox and the ES – all the music is performed by Ox members, but it was intended to be something Jade and I wrote lyrics for so Jade could sing it.

Like this, but with more restraint.

Ox guitarist Brendan Hoffmann, Jade and myself jammed on this with keyboards and acoustic guitars, got Harry to lay down a beat, we chucked the bass, keys and acoustic on it, and then… nothing.

Jade and I discussed lyrics and it was my bright idea to turn this wonderfully upbeat and happy piece of music into a song about dog shit. I found something incredibly hilarious about the idea of such a pretty piece of music being about something so repellent. We actually wrote some words around this dog shit theme, with a peppy little melody and all.

Later on, Jade told me it was a stupid idea to write a song about dog shit. He was dead right. We vowed to write a new set of lyrics. We didn’t. There was some talk of putting it on a summer-themed EP Jade and I had planned to do, and writing some summery lyrics for it, but that didn’t happen either.

"Doc, dog shit isn't as funny as you think it is."

“I reckon we tried to write words for it several times but always failed,” Jade recalls.
“We should have turned it into the theme for a fictional children's television show!”

Jade’s absolutely right - that’s exactly what it sounds like.


Speaking of theme songs, here’s a bonus track for you to make up for my recent laziness. This tune is one Jade and I threw together for a podcast we never finished that was intended to coincide with the final columns of The Doctor & The Colonel column in The Standard. We turned the last few columns into a radio play, recorded the voices, but never found time to edit it together. The theme song was pretty cool though:

Jade McLaren: vocals.
Matt Neal: bass, guitar, programming, backing vocals.

Music and lyrics by Jade McLaren and Matt Neal.
Written and recorded September, 2011.
Recorded at the Hai Bin, Warrnambool.
Produced and mixed by Matt Neal.

That pickscrape is a straight rip-off of the theme song for Buffy The Vampire Slayer. My apologies to Nerfherder. And that may be Kyle McLaren from The 80 Aces on bass guitar, I can’t remember.


Protecting from the Silver Ball,
Watching over Warrnambool.
The Colonel’s crazy and he likes to fight,
The Doctor is the other guy.

It’s the Doctor and Colonel Show!

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