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Music - Powderfinger interview

Tuesday, November 2, 2004

Keeping it together: Powderfinger eye a decade of living the music

By Juan-Carlo Tomas

What keeps a band together for 10 years? Living in Brisbane, says Powderfinger lead singer Bernard Fanning. That, and a good family life.

Excuse me? So much for a hard rock 'n' roll diet of beer, drugs and one night stands. As Powderfinger took to the stage at last month's ARIA Music Awards in Sydney, they looked as fresh as when they released their first LP, Parables for Wooden Ears, in 1994. There, surrounded by the industry's who's who, the band were described as an institution, a tag Fanning takes issue with.

"It's weird," he says, down the line from his Brisbane home. "We're still 21 in our minds, so to be institutionalised when you're 21 is kind of weird, but it's great. We get a lot of respect from people in Australia and it's awesome."

That's hardly surprising. From their follow-up album Double Allergic in 1996 to the smash-hit Internationalist two-years later, Powderfinger have always had a double-edged quality, tugging at heartstrings while downloading pure rock energy by the bucketful. Their current release, Vulture Street, takes this reinvention even further, adding a hard-nosed rock edge to their poignant lyrics.

"We kind of tapped more into that energetic rock thing and made it really different from our other albums," Fanning says. "We're pretty serious about writing songs, which I guess is more about the way we've matured as musicians."

Powderfinger found its roots in the early 1990s at Queensland University, where bass player John Collins, vocalist (now guitarist) Ian Haug and drummer Steve Bishop formed a band named after the Neil Young song 'Powderfinger'.

Haug met Fanning in an economics class in 1992, where they also met current drummer Jon Coghill. Guitarist Darren Middleton also joined that year and a year later they were signed to Polydor Records.

"We've kind of never been a band that's followed trends and fashions," Fanning says. "For us, it's the process of writing that keeps us going."

Their first EP, the self-titled Powderfinger, got a lukewarm reception, but their second, Transfusion, rocked to the top of the alternative charts, knocking off Nirvana's Heart Shaped Box. It was a sign of things to come.

"There'll always be people who just want to hear all the hits, while others are open to our new stuff," Fanning says of touring. "We try not to just rehash things."

Performing on and off over 10 years can suck a band dry. Fanning says balancing work and life and nourishing creativity have been their secrets.

"Whenever we perform in Australia, we kind of go on a national tour," he says. "We keep it fresh by doing a fair bit of rehearsal and try to change our songs around, structure our show in different ways, try to keep things different each time, not just for the fans, but ourselves. But we still kind of wing it a lot, it depends on the situation and what we're trying to do."

Which is one reason the Big Day Out, which Fanning dubs the Big Day Off, remains a highlight in his musical year.

"There's very little work to do," he reveals. "There's lots of people around and you hook with other bands you know and catch up."

They're also focusing on solo projects, with releases planned for next year as the band takes a break.

"Darren has a band called Drag and they're putting an album out next year," he says. "I'm also looking to release an album next year." But he's tight-lipped on the matter. "As a band we're thinking the public need a bit of a break from us!"

But the future looks bright, Fanning adds reassuringly. As seen at last month's ARIA Music Awards, the local scene is experiencing a rebirth among singer/songwriters, while bands like the John Butler Trio continue to push boundaries.

"Bands are becoming more willing to take a bit of a leap," Fanning says. "So ultimately we'd just like to keep going, keep building as a band and keep exploring where our music can go. We're not interested in any other aspect of the industry."

But will there be any room for a hard rock lifestyle? Band bonding?

Fanning laughs. "This may sound stupid, but there's a lot more to this industry than the celebrity crap that goes on now. We try to keep it real."

Hacker group threatens to expose Iggy Azalea's alleged sex tape over her feud with Azealia Banks MusicFIX Blog by Adam Bub Dec 21 2014 10:14AM

The Iggy Azalea/Azealia Banks feud just ramped up a notch and it's nastier than we could have ever expected.

Hacking collective Anonymous have demanded an apology from Iggy for "misappropriating black culture" or else they will release proof of the Aussie star's alleged sex tape in the next 48 hours.

Iggy is currently embroiled in a legal battle with her ex-boyfriend, rapper Jefe Wine, who allegedly tried to sell a tape of Iggy aged 18, according to TMZ.

Anonymous has now tried to use the tape as a bargaining chip in Iggy's battle with another US rapper, Azealia Banks.

Here's just a handful of Anonymous' tweets:

Anonymous' tweets against Iggy. Images: Twitter.

The latest round of Azalea v Azealia kicked off on Thursday with '212' rapper Banks breaking down in tears on New York radio station Hot 97 while slamming the music industry for rewarding white hip-hop artists over black artists.

"That Iggy Azalea s--- is not better than any f---ing black girl that's rapping today," Azealia said. "And when they give those awards out, the Grammys are supposed to be accolades for artistic excellence, you get what I mean? Iggy Azalea’s not excellent."

See the most controversial moments from Azealia's interview below:

Iggy responded to her rap nemesis with a strongly worded message on Twitter.

"Special msg for banks: There are many black artists succeeding in all genres. The reason you haven't is because of your piss poor attitude," Iggy wrote.

"Your inability to be responsible for your own mistakes, bullying others, the inability to be humble or self control. It's YOU! You created your own unfortunate situation by being a bigot and don't have the mental capacity to realise yet."

""Probably never will. Now! rant, Make it racial! make it political! Make it whatever but I guarantee it won't make you likable & THAT'S why ur crying on the radio."

"Enjoy continuing to bang your head against that metaphoric brick wall & Savor this attention. I'm the only way you get ANY. You're poisonous and I feel genuinely sorry for you because it's obvious at this point you are a MISERABLE, angry human being. Regards!"

Azealia Banks wasn't too pleased, to say the least. "Itchy Areola, you are so stupid and selfish to make any of this about yourself in particular," she hit back. "My tears had absolutely nothing to with you and everything to do with society and the media in general.

"You have absolutely no place to comment. Stay out of this one... But, iffy azuzu will not play victim and make this about her, I made some very valid points about things that are important to me."

We're not sure if Itchy Areola and Iffy Azuzu are an improvement on Azealia's last taunt at "Igloo Australia" earlier this month.

Azealia originally hit out at Iggy with claims she didn't care about black culture and in particular, the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, which have sparked mass protests in the US.

At the time, Iggy dismissed Azealia's attacks as "trolling" on social media.

Let's hope it doesn't get any uglier from here.

In pics: Celeb feuds in 2014

Floor twerking and spanking! Nicole Scherzinger dirty dances in racy 'Bang' music video MusicFIX Blog by Yasmin Vought Dec 16 2014 1:58PM

Nicole Scherzinger just released a super-sexy new music video featuring plenty of twerking, thrusting and spanking…and we're loving it.

Watch above to see the former Pussycat Dolls singer showing off her sweaty dance moves to her new single 'Bang'.

From the sultry tones of her voice to the star's ridiculously flexible floor twerking, this is one seriously hot vid.

But then again, her recent music vid for 'Your Love' was just as sexy.

See the 36-year-old writhing around on the sand in a white bikini in that clip below…

Then watch TheFIX's picks of the hottest celebrity Christmas vids…

The Flaming LipsHarvest FestivalAustralia adds another music and arts event to its inordinate list:Harvest - A Civilised Gathering.
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