posted on June 13, 2012 at 11:27 pm

mile after mile burn after burn return

i first met donnette thayer in 1984 in san francisco on tour

4 years later despite both having someone else

we fell into an incredible glamourous decadent collaboration

and called it hex

in fact dt had put a bit of a hex on me

one day after catching up with her in san francisco

i woke up and realised i was totally hooked on this person

i could not think straight

my system had delivered some kind of endorphin hit

and it was screaming out for more

but she lived with a guy who was a lead singer

he was the main man in her group called game theory

who were an eccentric and quite wonderful band

who had absorbed some big star and were incredibly melodic

the songs had strange turns

dt was the other guitar player n sometime vocalist

game theory were doing pretty good they were doing ok in their scene

make no mistake their records had some brilliant bits

anyway i was touring america for almost a year straight

and calling dt for an hour during her lunchtime at the lab

she had a fucking degree in chemistry for christs sake

but eventually she flew out occasionally to where i was playing

and we entered a world of our own conspiring

in strange and luxurious and run down and nondescript hotel rooms

we began to hatch hex i guess

when donnette wasn’t around i stayed in my room and wrote music

i vividly remember certain hotels in certain cities

in tampa florida on a warm night

after the show

i plugged in my sequencer

and i composed the songs that would be on our album

all this pent up confused feeling i had

came out as this music which i diligently crafted into the night

the next day i’d ring her at lunch n play her stuff over the phone

i wrote the music to impress her

it was the best i could do

i was hearing a new sound in my head

electro pop music that would feel like romantic acid

incorporating lots of reverb and howling guitars

incorporating the sampling of voices and re-playing them back in

incorporating weird sad beautiful lyrics

and here was donnette thayer

in some parallel universe she could have been a pop star

to me she was like one of those heroines in forties n fifties movies

she contained many opposites and was of a feline bent

and she oscillated between the sacred and profane

she could be urbane american or goddamn cowgirl from denver

she seemed dedicated to me like an apostle or something

and yet she was tough cynical and resilient

the fact that someone like her thought i was so great impressed me

it was 1988

my life was now in a whirlwind

after a long slog to crack it

we are touring the states incessantly

only interrupted by brief stabs at europe

then back in the usa

so i put a lot of work into the record

as i get insulated from this real world out here

into a strange bubble oh boy

at the end of 1988 dt and i go to nyc where we record hex

we were staying in my managers apt uptown somewhere

it was winter and dark and snowing

at night we worked during peoples off hours

donnette and i worked on the lyrics together

theres some real good things here …some great words

it all kinda started to coalesce for me

i added the guitars and basses and percussion

i played around with different recording tricks and techniques

i think the singing on here is pretty good

it was exactly what was needed

some of the songs on this record suddenly burst through the clouds

and hit ecstatic plateaus

we were influenced by absolutely no one here

this was instant hex

as a labour of love i had conspired these songs

guided by my intuitive instinct for pop

and my intrinsic desire to transcend

the music and the words we summoned out of the ether

because something told us to do it

we bickered a bit and sometimes she rebelled against my meglomania

but she endlessly concentrated on working

she was ready for experimentation

and she usually sang quite in tune

and she could suddenly get very shrill very fast

like cilla black could

go from soft velvety to passionate and edgy in no time

usually i liked this tho dt sometimes had a tendency to overdo it

but mostly i was able to get these great performances as you hear here…

when margot smith heard the last song on hex

she insisted on doing it on the spot

so you will hear it on her album touch

anyway it got some good reviews but generally it sank without much notice

i don’t know why

in 1988 this was quite a futuristic record

the final piece in the hex puzzle was engineer bryce goggin

we met him in new york and he mixed it for nothing

he not only mixed it

but he contributed greatly to the albums sonic wallop

by replacing some of my dodgy sounds with some very cool ones

and then he mixed it and nailed it in a crystal dreamy innovative way

i will always believe this record was a masterpiece

it was just too good to be understood then

the few people who came across it were amazed at the songs herein

we were searching for euphoria

sometimes we goddamn almost find it

vast haloes is a different story

hex was written in a fevered dream a honeymoon period

i had been reborn a star and i had dt as my disciple

if you’ve seen judy davis playing william burroughs wife in naked lunch

you can kinda get the idea of how donnette was

languid sleepy tired sometimes

funny the more tired she looked the more i liked it

she looked good tired i don’t know why

she really knew a lot about guitars and amps

she was a good guitarist too actually

she could actually play

but i was a tyrant

and the purity of hex depended me playing everything

that having been said donnette ran into a guy called jim mcgrath

he was a percussion master

and he played all over this record and added much colour and spice

he added organic energy too

now while hex had been very sparse electro and in some ways restrained

vast haloes took on other genres with varying results

vast haloes has a bigger sound in some ways

a few songs on here are pop masterpieces i have no doubt

recorded in la at various studios including a+m

its a record made on the way down

its high points are maybe higher

its low points a bit lower

over all its still a special record

i played it produced it co-mixed it

i controlled everything

sometimes i lost my judgement

sometimes i came up with fantastic lush stuff like aquamarine

imagine this

a room at the hollywood roosevelt in the dead of winter

dt had her own joint down the road

she wasn’t always there

alone in a wet cold alien winter

i looked out onto the empty blue pool and jacuzzi

smoking new strains of powerful ganja

i came up with this music

dt would come back we’d think up the vocals

we’d get another few days somewhere on the cheap

or as a favour to our manager mike lembo

he never realised hex was actually pretty good

it got a couple rave reviews in england too..but….

i stayed there for quite a while in that same room

there was no one on hollywood boulevard it seemed

slightly unhinged by my whole life

its successes and failures

and reacting badly to too many bad things

too bad i didn’t know then what i know now

still theres some stirring moments here

some unusual things some arcane and fabulous moments

after the first records austerity necessitated by time and technology

i crammed everything but the kitchen sink onto this record

in an effort to emulate todd rundgren a la wizard a true star

so theres stuff going on everywhere

sometimes its vulgar and comedic

sometimes its intricate and quite mysterious to me now

how did i ever dream some of this stuff up

yes there is some great transcendent pop music here

the birth of trip hop someone once said

during the making of the first hex one day donnette and i got food poisoning

and we both lay in bed hallucinating in a cold fever

one day i looked in the mirror

there i was gaunt dishevelled tired stoned unshaven

man i was every popstar i ever wanted to be rolled into one

my head was bursting with ideas for music

people in australia were beginning to twig i was drifting off

they would ring me and persuade me to come back

but i didn’t want to

i was in new york city

it was winter

i had a bit of money

it was cafes and restaurants and cabs to the studio

i bent all my focus on the first record

my life was suddenly impossible groovy and alien

i really was a bit of a popstar

we went to bars and we drank a bit and watched comedians

once in the middle of a deadcold winter night

a comedian stopped the show and pointed to dt and said

hey lady you got something going with this guy aint ya?

at christmas time instead of returning to australia

i went to donnettes mothers place in denver colorado

oh man!

a truly extraordinary time!

donnettes mother and boyfriend were quite youngish

they were extremely groovy and turned on hipster types

they made me more than welcome

they also laid on many many special refreshments

my christmas gift was a wonderful refreshment

her mother was an amazing character

madeleine stowe always reminded me of her mother

we used to go to the best mexican restaurants

and we’d drink beer and have a really cool time

these were no byron bay hippies

these were the real deal

travelling all over america

her mother was like a tough pretty funny classic american type

the type i had seen in the movies so much as a young kid

feisty women who chart their own course for reasons known only to them

donnettes  sister turned up too

she looked like donnette maybe not so tired

she kinda kept up a mostly good natured string of little jibes at me

i didn’t mind that much

it all seemed like a movie

my first american christmas

i’m in denver colorado

my record is in the charts here in the US

i’m staying in the suburbs of denver

its snowing and all that

sometimes i take a walk with her mother

she remains totally unimpressed by my stoned blather

its a thing i liked about her

we did lots of touristy things with the family

there was another half sister who only lived nocturnally

one did not see much of her

we went skiing we went to the hot water springs on freezing days

we hit the most authentic mexican places a lot

sometimes we would play some new board games at night

but the refreshments were there too

but the atmosphere was very relaxed and warm

it really was like being in a film

eventually of course

rightly or wrongly

i was compelled to return to australia

hex was done

i had no pretext whatsoever to tarry

the brief golden age of hex was already over

the first record represents that on every level

the second record represents hexes glorious fall

on every level

you can download either of these records now from this site

see details on the left about bandcamp





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