Preview samples from 15 track LP "Still Broke & Not Quite Sane" crudely recorded and mixed on home equipment for zero dollars with no microphone, Victoria and Western Australia, July 2011 - July 2012.
"I was broke, yeah, and not quite sane... I'm still broke and not quite sane, but the former has changed somehow." - Hunter S. Thompson, Boulder, Colorado, 1977.
1. Bulwer Street Waltz
2. Deadline Blues
3. Just In Case
5. Float [Flogging Molly cover]
6. Quart In Session (B-Side mix) [NOFX cover]**
7. The State Of Western Australia
8. Instagram Song
9. Working Class Hero [John Lennon cover]
**exclusive, straightforward non-album mix.
Despite its humble origins "Still Broke & Not Quite Sane" is nonetheless a fully-realised album that brings together disparate influences and sounds, then juxtaposes and combines them into a multi-layered 42-minute epic.
This recording was never intended as a collection of demos. Indeed, my key original songs were not even attempted until five months into the project.
Instead, it began as a pair of soundscapes which drew heavily on the influence of Plastic Ono Band, the Beatles' "Revolution 9" and Lennon's early-1970 concept of "Instant!"
The first piece to be recorded was "The State Of Western Australia" - which had started out as a conventional songwriting demo for Project Mayhem, but the song was going nowhere and the riff had already been met with disapproval in the band room... I cannot explain how the resulting 25-second chunk of madness came about, but it was recorded, mixed, had artwork applied and was live on YouTube before dawn.
The next, "Don't Mention The War" was its polar opposite: a 7:51 monster based around a MacBook Pro text-to-speech synthesis reading of an article from my polemic political blog "Boom Town Rocks", laid within an ocean of mandolins all running at the wrong speed, an undercurrent of down-tuned vuvuzelas, and literally the pots and pans in my kitchen. This insanity is yet to be released.
Next came "Working Class Hero" - a John Lennon song I had learned when I was 16 years old, but had not played since. Here the format for the rest of the record was created, with multiple panned-out guitars, double tracked vocals and distinctive introductions created with offcuts and false starts. The imperfect walls of sound. The easter eggs.
And there are plenty of those. I was the engineer and the artist simultaneously. These tracks were never mixed separately. Even the most straightforward of them was created as a 'piece' - an experience - not simply as a demo or as me-playing-a-song.
It was always more "McCartney" (1970), than "Bob Dylan" (1962). And it was nothing much to do with Benny Mayhem (Solo) performing live, either. It was instead a humble new beginning, an artist with nothing to lose enjoying the total freedom of renewal.
So, this record is not for everybody. It's full of adult themes and whack shit. If you are waiting for a straight-forward rendering of my live work and strictly original material, you will probably be confused by this madness. But a lot of work went into it.
It's fun. It's where I was at. And it's mine. I definitely look forward to sharing it with you, once I am able to master the sound to its full potential. Cheers.
-Benny / Isle of Man / 1 December 2013