We are hitting the road back to Vic again in October supporting the release of our new double album (Not) Stranded. Joining us will be comrades Black Bats, Penny Ikinger, Super-X & Fat Dog.
Road To Damascus (Journey To Bunya) is out now Feat Karl S. Wiliams and produced by J.B. Paterson.I have a new album on the way.
It's called Journey to Bunya.
It's probably the most ambitious song i've ever written. I stayed up all night writing it the night before the recording session with @jbpaterson I was living upstairs at the Royal Mail Hotel in Goodna at the time; a beautiful historic old colonial pub near Ipswich. Sometimes I stay there and I pay my rent by playing on a Friday for the bikies, degenerates, working class heroes and topless barmaids.
Biden had just taken office, I had learned that one of the first things he did was bomb Syria. I was angry. I wont say it's an anti-war song but there's a bit of that in there.
At the end of the day it's just another love song.
I played everything on the record except piano, which was played by my hero and dear friend @karlswilliams - a remarkable, poet, songwriter and bluesman in his own right. It is produced by another hero of mine @jbpaterson. You can listen and download it now from bandcamp. But it will be available on all streaming lizard platforms from August 12. Come and see us at the mighty @thebeardedladywestend supporting the indestructible @bricklayers_band on August 19. LISTEN NOW
RHYECE O'NEILL BAND
OUT MAY 2022
[Pt I Before the Flood]
Hume Highway Revisited 05:29
I'll Be Your (Rear View) Mirror 03:31
Ramblin' Man 06:38
Nancy Wake Blues 04:45
Bruce Highway Revisited 06:14
Mediocrity Blues 05:26
Love In The Slightest 05:21
[Pt II After the Flood]
Diamantina River Blues 12:20
Angel (From Dja Dja Wurrung) 06:42
The Red Room 01:27
PTSD Blues 04:28
(Not) Stranded 05:47
Sycamore Tree 04:49
Sunday Mornin' (Meth Cook) Comin' Down 04:0
Produced by Rhyece O’Neill
& Matthew Campbell
Written & Arranged by Rhyece O'Neill
Part I - ‘Before The Flood’ mixed by Rhyece O’Neill
Part II - ‘After The Flood’ mixed by Milan Cimfe, Sono Records, Prague, Czech Republic
Engineered by Nell Forster @ Studio Moon Room, Meanjin, Australia
‘Ramblin' Man’ written by Hank Williams
‘The Red Room’, aka ’The Pink Room’ written by Angelo Badalamenti & David Lynch
‘Sycamore Tree’ written by Penny Ikinger
Artwork by Zulekha Lakeka, London, England.
Photo of Rhyece, Sonny & Jessie the Valiant at Grassy Hill Cooktown by Jonny @ Jamesco
Mastered by Adam Karlik, Sono Records, Prague, Czech Republic
Matthew Campbell - Drums/Bass/Backing Vocals (on Pt I & II)
Christian Driscoll - Lead Guitar (on Pt II)
Brooklyn Fryer - Backing Vocals (on Pt I)
Edward Thomas - Bass (on Pt II)
Caleb Widener - Bass (on Pt I)
Karl S. Williams - Hammond/Piano (on Pt I)
Liam Wilkerson - Bass (on Pt I)
David Cadoret - Double Bass (on Pt II)
Rhyece O’Neill - Vox/Guitar/Harmonica (on Pt I & II)
‘I don’t work in a highly technical way—we just throw the band in the room. To me it has to do with ambience and everybody plays at once. It’s not “drummer on Monday” and “bass player on Tuesday.” The Stones have always recorded in the same room [at the same time]. It’s the only way I will record. That’s the only way to make a good rock’n’roll record—eyeball to eyeball and making the moves on the spot.’
- Keith Richards
‘Any time you play your horn, it helps you. If you get down, you can help yourself even in a rock 'n' roll band.’
- John Coletrane
‘Lord have mercy! Lord save me from the mighty flood!’
- John Lee Hooker
Part I - ‘Before The Flood’
Part I of this double album entitled (Not) Stranded was recorded live over two days in late April 2021 at Studio Moon Room in Brisbane.
The morning of the session the band had no idea what was going to be played, nor did I.
As Nell had her coffee and morning cigarette I consulted my diary to see what poetry I had written drunk or high on my travels in the far north. Most of the words were written in my swag on the beach in the Daintree or in the township of Bajool - at the pub or in my mate Pete’s steam train Caboose, just south of Rockhampton. A couple of the song lyrics were written in haste at the studio in between takes.
Most of the music was improvised and composed as the tape was rolling.
It's testament to the professionalism of the band, it's really my attempt at a fucked up Jazz record more than anything.
I had the week prior read a book about how John Coletrane approached recording sessions, especially the Ole’ session, a big inspiration for this record. Coletrane would make up the music the day of the session and trust the band to step up and play their asses off. I trusted this band to do the same. There was no pre-production, it really was written in the studio as the tape was rolling. Coletrane’s method inspired me to take a similar approach. I had the hottest band in Brisbane - Karl S. Williams on piano, Matthew Campbell on drums & Caleb Widener on bass with a cameo from longtime collaborator Liam Wilkerson who was in town for our Wake in Fright show at the SWIFF International Film Festival. Brooklyn Fryer dropped in with a bag or two and nailed some BV’s in an overdub session after the fact.
We never did more than two or three takes of anything. The other anomaly about Part I of this album is that it was recorded sober, we started at 10 in the morning and knocked off by 8 both days.
Pretty much every album I've ever done Ive been high on something, not this one.
After the first song we recorded, the first and only take - pure improvisation with me playing Nathan Glen’s recently built 12 string electric, it sounded fantastic through my old 68 Fender Twin. ‘Hume Highway Revisited’ was our first attempt, after a couple of false starts we nailed it in one take.
I commented to Caleb - ‘I know what this album is to be now, It’s a road movie. A road trip from the Kurnai hills in Gippsland all the way to Cooktown on Guugu Yimidhirr country on the Cape York Peninsula.’
‘Fuck yeah that’s a good idea’ Caleb replied enthusiastically.
Thus we hit the road.
Part II - ‘After the Flood’
Was a very different affair. The session began late in the afternoon sometime in September 2020.
Matthew Campbell, Edward Thomas & myself were two or three days old when we called Nell Forster at two in the morning with an idea. Matthew Campbell had insisted we take the drums and all our gear to the studio and set it up ‘just to see what happens’. We had planned to go in and do overdubs for a country album I had done back in Melbourne with Liam Wilkerson & Jimmy McGarry - we didn’t need all that equipment yet Matthew was adamant.
After Nell had told us to get fucked and ‘I’ll see you tomorrow arvo’ the idea had fermented into ‘fuck the country album - let’s make a balls to the wall rock n’ roll record.’ This was solely Matt Campbell’s doing.
It was his plan all along. He wasn’t interested in doing tambourine overdubs on a fucking country album that was 98% complete.
Matthew became my main collaborator aesthetically on this project. He steered the band into a heavy rock n’ roll/blues direction. He too had been studying the recently released Miles Davis ‘The Lost Quartet & Quintet’ sessions. Two of the the most atomic Jazz records ever made. Matthew produced this record with me, his influence on proceedings was crucial.
One rehearsal Christian Driscoll didn’t show up due to a pressing social engagement so we sacked him on bass and recruited Edward Thomas. The effect was monumental. Edward is one of the finest musicians I have ever played with, we now had a powerful rhythm section, I was free to roam the fretboard and sing without reservation. There is something very powerful about a three piece - the sacred triangle. Christian would end up playing brilliant lead guitar on a few of songs on Part II in an overdub session a few weeks after the main recording.
As fate would have it in the months leading up to the session I had written a bunch of songs on Christan father’s old nylon acoustic. It’s what I call a ‘songwriting guitar’ the spirit was strong with this dusty old acoustic and out poured most of the songs that comprise Part II of this album.
Not every guitar is meant for writing songs.
(Not) Stranded, the title song for the album was written the week Mike Noga & Justin Townes Earle died. Their death’s had a pretty big effect on me, they are both around the same age as me, both died due to addiction and the trials of being a touring musician, both went too young.
I drank whiskey, balled my eyes out and wrote (Not) Stranded in homage to The Saints and these two lost songwriters as I was now residing in Brisbane. I had escaped Melbourne at the beginning of the pandemic, I felt the opposite of Stranded and yet I was Stranded far from home - I had just returned from two months on the road into far North Queensland, an adventure of a lifetime.
Thus I returned to Brisbane full of ideas and stories from the road.
Diamantina River Blues is based on the Red Gum song ‘The Diamantina Drover’.
Part II ‘After The Flood’ was recorded live in one night. But unlike Part I, I had the songs already.
It was a powerful session, it was the first time Nell had recorded a band live all in the one small room with bass and guitar amps in there too, it was a huge cacophony of a sound.
Somehow she nailed it, its sounds fantastic - most engineers would have shat themselves trying to do what Nell did.
There is a tension here, we were at the end, approaching delirium. The band imploded acrimoniously shortly after the recording of Part I. Partly to our heavy drug use, partly to my at times shitty behaviour.
Death was all around us, the world was in lockdown - all we could do was get high and play like our life depended on it. It was a very strange and heady time.
All the words were written on the road, about the road - for the road.
This record is a road movie best ingested at high speed on a remote highway somewhere late at night with only road trains and dexamphetamine for company.
It is tuned to the key of a Hemi 6.
Hit the road - I’ll be your (Rear View) Mirror.
The car transcended time; thus it erased me like the new skin of a future Taipan.
Rhyece O’Neill, Bundjalung Country Feb 1, 2022
Rhyece O'Neill is a songwriter, poet & novelist born on Kurnai country in South Gippsland, Victoria, Australia. He grew up on the banks of the Murray River on Yorta Yorta country in North-East Victoria. Currently he roams the Australian outback in a 79' Valiant with his best mate the 'Black Crow Kelpie' Sonny.
A prolific writer he occasionally writes for the underground Brisbane punk zine, The Stew.
O’Neill has played pubs, festivals and bars in the outback and cities all over Australia and Europe. 2019 saw the release of his third solo album ‘Los Diablos’ which was recorded live to tape in Bohemia, Czech Republic with legendary engineer Milan Cimfe who’s work credits extend to Bowie, Lou Reed and Kris Kristofferson.
In early 2020 upon receiving a vision in the Mullundung hills in Gippsland O’Neill packed his life in his car and headed out of his native Victoria to escape the lockdown. Since then he has traversed the entire east coast of Australia from his home in South Gippsland to the windy shores of Cooktown in far North Queensland. Upon returning to Brisbane he formed a new band as his band mates were stranded in Melbourne.
With this new Queensland based outfit he has since recorded a new double album called (Not) Stranded.
A raw, visceral and violent blues lament recorded live at studio Moon Room in Brisbane. On the desk was long time collaborator and renowned Australian engineer Nell Forster.
In the past year he has also collaborated with songwriter & producer J.B. Paterson on an album of rebel songs about Indigenous Busharangers called Journey To Bunya.
He is currently writing songs for an album with Colorado songwriter George Cessna.
Mike Noga - (The Drones) 6 FT Hick Tex Perkins The Brian Jonestown Massacre (US) Spencer P Jones Dallas Frasca
Kim Salmon (The Scientists and Beasts Of Bourbon)
Beasts Of Bourbon Hanni El Khatib (US)
White Denim (US)