Wednesday, 28 October 2015

#66. Last Song - 21st Century Ox

Dion Barker: bass 
Harry Fahey: drums 
Matt Hewson: saxophone 
Brendan Hoffmann: saxophone 
Matt Neal: guitar 

Music by Dion Barker, Harry Fahey, Matt Hewson, Brendan Hoffmann and Matt Neal. 
Written and recorded at the Barker residence, October 2-10, 2003. 
Produced by 21st Century Ox. 
Recorded and mixed live by Dave Wilson.

As mentioned in previous blogs, 21st Century Ox spent the first week of October 2003 supposedly recording songs to finish off our unreleased album but mostly we spent the time getting fucked-up and not finishing off our unreleased album. I think we almost finished three songs, plus we recorded a few live versions of things. Then there was plenty of jamming and drinking and playing FIFA on the Playstation. But on the whole it wasn’t as productive as I’d hoped.

To be fair, we were all to blame.
Picture: Dannii Hale.

I was obviously oblivious to the fact the band was slowly reaching the end of its useful life. I was still keen to try and push 21st Century Ox along and maybe get some new material happening. Everyone still seemed interested in music, but no one seemed really dedicated to working. But I pushed on, trying to drive some level of enthusiasm and achievement. I guess that made me the Paul of this Let It Be-style scenario.

While digging through some of the jam sessions that were recorded during “Dion’s Week Of Debauchery” I found this little artifact - evidence of my attempts to keep the band creating. It was just four chords that I brought in, but it turned out to be Ox’s final attempt at writing a song together. Since Matt Hewson had joined the band some time during 2001 we’d loved the fact we had two sax players in the group, and occasionally wrote material with the aim of Brendan Hoffmann putting down his guitar and picking up the sax to jam along with Hewy. The Axolotl is the best example (there was also a now-lost tune in 5/4 called The Psychiatrist, which was partially a poor man's rip-off of Take Five) but this little unformed nugget of a song was another attempt at the double sax attack.

This is the second and final take of what I have called Last Song. We’re just feeling our way through the changes and seeing what happens, but it’s kinda fitting as a final track for Ox. It’s slightly weird but kinda nice and sweet, with a hint of sadness. When I look back on the band’s four-year burst, that’s pretty much how I view it. 

PS. That’s Jade McLaren at the end saying it “needs more triangle”.

PPS. This is a really short blog so I’m going to throw in a bonus track - 21st Century Ox's cover of Norwegian Wood, which always sounded to us trying to be A Perfect Circle (on their first album) while trying to cover The Beatles. Sorry about the sound quality - this was mixed on the run by our good pal Dave Wilson, who was concentrating on the live sound, not the recording.

Dion Barker: bass 
Harry Fahey: drums 
Matt Hewson: saxophone 
Brendan Hoffmann: guitar, backing vocals 
Matt Neal: guitar, vocals

Written by Lennon/McCartney.
Recorded at the Henty Hotel, Portland, in November 2002.
Recorded and mixed live by Dave Wilson.

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