Saturday, June 11, 2011

Def Leppard and me (Compu Global)


Before I could even play a single chord on the guitar, my oldest friend Craig Ireson and I came up with a band name, a list of songs and a breakdown of who would play what in the perfect lineup.

We were going to be called Cloak n' Dagger, I would learn guitar, he would sing and my friend (soon to be step brother) Michael would play keyboard. We figured that he could also be the drummer as the keyboard had built in beats. We were going to cover songs by Poison (Fallen Angel), Skid Row ('18 & Life'), Cinderella ('Bad Seamstress Blues')...you get the idea.

In my defence, I was twelve or thirteen years old, had a poster of Chuck Norris on my bedroom wall and lived in Rotorua.



We had few original song ideas as well, but the real ace up our sleeve was going to be Def Leppard's Hysteria. I absolutely loved that record.


CIAO performing in my basement 1993 or 1994

Cloak n' Dagger never actually did anything other than talk about being in a band. We drew album cover art and wrote detailed setlists for concerts we never performed. Craig and I went on to form CIAO (Craig Ireson's Alternative Orchestra) - a band that recorded well over 20 hours of improvised stuff & nonsense. Some of it was genius, most of it was just sheer obnoxious frivolity. But it set me off on learning how to play the guitar.

Def Leppard was a constant though. In those early days we ripped our jeans, put patches on denim jackets, lip-synched at the intermediate school talent quests (or was that GnR?). I remember in the late 1990s being at my old friend Nick Franich's house in Abel Tasman Street. We were both in our early 20s and had left Def Leppard behind for Radiohead and the usual 'alternative rock' fare. I was looking through his cassette tape collection and found Hysteria hidden underneath a pile of the more credible additions. After a moment of hesitation we self-consciously put it into the player. Just over an hour later we had finished listening to the entire album from start to finish - an air guitar sing-a-long - and a reminder again of how deeply embedded the guitar line from the title song was buried into my subconscious.



Without shame, I can say that that album and the song 'Hysteria' has never been far from my mind. The little repeating guitar line has creeped into my original compositions on so many occasions, I have decided to stop resisting it and celebrate it instead.

The song below is called 'Compu Global'. It was named by Nick Franich as I didn't know what to call it. We were playing together in Chopper at the time. If I recall correctly, I believe he got the inspiration for the song title from Homer Simpson. Anyway, there is no doubt in my mind on listening to this track that Def Leppard has their fingerprints all over it. Check out my derivative guitar line during the verse...

This first version is recorded live at the James Cabaret in 1999. Chopper was just starting to really gel as a band. This was the opening song of the set.

 

Compu Global (Performed by Chopper Live 1999)
(Words: Andrew Savage Music: Savage, Schulz, Franich & Wise)

This version of the song was recorded with Richard Wise and Jared Schulz in 2009. We never mixed it, but had fun reminiscing. Jared stepped in for Leon and I tried to play Nick's bits on the guitar. I couldn't...

The images are from a Chopper show at the Wellington Town Hall. 

 

Compu Global 
(Performed by Savage, J. Schulz and Wise in a practice room 2009)
(Words: Andrew Savage Music: Savage, Schulz, Franich & Wise)
If I had some time
I'd spend it on you
But I don't have the time
If I had the money
I'd spend it on you
But I don't have the money
No I don't
If I was afraid 
I'd be afraid of you
But I'm not afraid
If I had a voice
I'd sing only of you
But I don't have a voice
No I don't

2 comments:

  1. I have been waiting for this one to come to light and I know you must have been wrestling with this one Andy, verily as Jakob wrestled that angel. How do you explain the influence of a period which was so seminal in your development which on the face of it is merely schoolboy wank - merely cut and paste jest and pre-ball drop bravado.

    I think you have done what you can here by framing it in the context of the development of your songwriting, but more needs to be said about the only (Rotorua) band which mattered.

    CIAO were legendary then and legendary now. Its only the poor distribution skills of the management team which has stopped those 20 hours of tape being sent far and wide to spawn CIAO cults in Germany, Iceland and Minnesotta. But in Rotorua itself there are hidden shrines and synagogues to CIAO. Always modish in their own way the path which CIAO took from fantasy to mock politick to parody to satire charted the very process which a teenage boy, keen to rage but with a mum to please enacts the vicarious desire through the imagery of a cassette tape cover and a sterio turned to 10.

    Yes, Poison, GnR, Def Leppard were the genesis but the revelation was U2. That earnest voice, that cloying seriousness were ripe for the picking. Plus, lets be honest, if Adam Clayton can get a supermodel wife then there is hope for any teenage boy.

    For me as visionary lyricist and symbolic shaman of the Volcanic plateau keg party it was never about the music. That would be crass. It was all about the image, the cucumber stuffed jock strap striding like a colossus across the living rooms of Rotorua gentility- our audience jaws agape at the audacity, nay the very contra intuitive of teenage seemingly so hell bent on destroying their reputations by pedalling raw and unchecked knock offs of songs which noone cared about any more. Like Frank N Furter we wanted to Time Warp over and over again.

    The tapes will come to light, the blogs will be written- but never let it be said that that chapter has closed, I won’t let it. There are too many heartbroken girls back in Vegas who care to much about the glory days of CIAO – too much broken Tupperware to ever turn the page.

    Yours in the dream, the dream weaver general
    Craigy

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  2. Ahh, Craigy...CIAO was, and always will be the absolute key to all the good that ever came out of Rotorua. The naysayers can nay, but we know better...

    Keep weaving that dream...Andy Roo's guitar awaits the next album with glee.

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