Thursday, 27 February 2014

#36. Fire Away – The 80 Aces

Jarrod Hawker – drums
Matt Hewson – bass
Jade McLaren – vocals
Matt Neal – guitar

Lyrics by Jade McLaren and Matt Neal.
Music by Harry Fahey, Jarrod Hawker, Matt Hewson, Jade McLaren and Matt Neal.
Written 2006?
Recorded at Motherlode Studios/Noise Studios, 2007.
Produced and mixed by Tony Peel or Marcus Jennings.

EVER seen a movie called Hitman? No? Me neither. I think it’s based on a computer game and it stars Timothy Olyphant. I have no idea if it’s any good or not.

It’s relevance to this blog entry is that we did this recording of Fire Away for a competition to get on the soundtrack for Hitman. We didn’t win, but it was a good excuse to go into the studio and get a decent recording of what was one of The 80 Aces’ heavier tracks before it dropped off the setlist as we progressively got poppier.

Here’s drummer Jarrod Hawker:

“I thought this song was cool - I really liked it. Another rock song that we dropped in favour of some obscure hipster pop."

Hmmm. Whether deliberately or not, at some point the band seemed to drift closer to the apocryphal “Triple J sound”. Songs such as Fire Away didn’t make the cut. This may have been a conscious or subconscious decision, I don’t know. During the Facebook discussions in the lead up to this blog, singer Jade McLaren seemed to think that was his fault (perhaps jokingly, who knows?).

Me and Jade, playing some obscure hipster pop. PIC: Aaron Sawall, Warrnambool Standard.

As to whether it we recorded this at Motherlode Studios with Tony Peel or Noise Studios with Marcus Jennings … none of the band can remember (or rather two of us say it was Peely and two of us say it was Marcus). They’re effectively the same studio, but we don’t know if it was before or after it changed hands.

The 80 Aces singer Jade McLaren and I wrote this one with the idea of doing a song about war and religion and all the senseless violence going on in Iraq and Afghanistan at the time (about 2006 I think). Not sure who’s idea that was, but I assume that because we had a heavier song on our hands, we’d decided we needed some heavier lyrical material.

Playing some heavy lyrical material at The Loft in Warrnambool. Probably.

Here’s Jade:

“I think this was mostly Doc. I don't recall a great deal about writing it. I think we got half the words down and we weren't really that impressed with it. Then I think I may have written the chorus melody and words and just started singing them without band approval.

“I liked it. It definitely rocked hard. The chorus was fun and quirky to sing but always took a massive run up to sing.”

I find it really hard to write about these kinds of subjects without coming off as preachy, wanky, naïve or lame. We certainly don’t pull any punches lyrically here – the second verse in particular – and part of me likes the lyrics, and the other part thinks it’s preachy, wanky, naïve and lame.

But if I don't have to sing the damn lyrics, it doesn't matter. PIC: Dannii Hale.

Musically, there’s some big riffs in here, which I dig. There was a time when The 80 Aces rocked hard, and this was the beginning of that time – Hawk had recently joined the band on drums and this was the first proper recording we did with him (although we had jammed on it with Harry Fahey on drums just prior to him leaving the band). It’s certainly different to any other song in The 80 Aces back catalogue, and I’m not sure what this was influenced by musically, but it was great fun to play.

Pretty sure this was recorded live in one take, maybe two, with Jade doing a couple of vocal run-throughs before his voice blew out.

“Two takes sounds about right,” Jade recalled. “I think I may have blown out a mic.”

Dunno how that would have happened.


We spend most of our time
Avoiding a crossfire
We’re people all of the time
Who die

Fire away
Sticks stones and scissors again
Fire away
Save me ok

They both kill in God’s name
So no one is ever to blame
They’re probably one and the same
But they try

We’re people and all of us died
Stuck now on the other side
You’ll join us if you don’t decide
What’s right

Bonus track: Filtered Bond

Matt Neal: programming

Music by Matt Neal.
Written 1998/1999
Recorded at Mum and Dad’s house, Ballangeich.
Produced and mixed by Matt Neal.

Speaking of movies, I once did a faux James Bond theme when I was 18 or so. I was listening to a lot of Filter at the time and playing a lot of Goldeneye on the Nintendo 64, and the result is something like Filter doing a Bond theme, except it’s done on a shitty computer with bad samples and half the talent. It’s not very good, hence it being a bonus track.

No comments:

Post a Comment