Spellbound's Interview with David Chapman, 20 September 1993

The task set before us was how to follow up our extensive interview with Iva. Get his kindergarten teacher on the line? Ring up the conductor he walked out on lo these many years ago? No... the camera pans slowly to the right as the spotlight centers on the black velvet curtains. A hand slowly parts the folds and... he emerges. Ladies and Gentlemen, we bring you David Chapman, the Crazy Genius! (Had we included the entire "laugh track," this interview would appear twice as long! Just read it with a lot of fun in mind, and you'll get it!)

Many Icehouse fans out there wanted to know just who David Chapman is. So, we started our interview with him by taking David back to the beginning, allowing him to experience bagpipes and Flowers all over again...

Spellbound: Why don't you give us some background about David Chapman as a child.

David: Oh, God...David Chapman is a child! What do you want to know?

Spellbound: Where were you born?

David: I was born in Sydney, to two rather unusual parents, and a brother and sister and a cat and a dog and a swimming pool.

Spellbound: Were you born in the swimming pool?

David: I'm not entirely sure. My mother wasn't very hippie-ish, so I don't think so. She's not into water births, not in those days anyway. My sister's a bit more like that. She's a regular hippie. She lives in Byron Bay, which is kind of like the hippie capital of Australia.

Spellbound: Did you have any musical training as a child?

David: Yeah, I learnt the piano when I was about 11, I think, for a couple of years, but I really hated that. My brother played in a rock 'n' roll band and I quite liked the idea of playing bass. So I thought I would attempt to take up the bass guitar, which I learnt for a couple of years.

Spellbound: Are there any particular bassists that have been your idols?

David: Loads! Actually, I'm just reading about one of them now, a guy called Roger Waters, who was the lead songwriter for Pink Floyd, which is one of my fave bands of all time. Especially the early stuff with this guy called Syd Barrett. He was the first guitar player in the band -- he was like the crazy genius, you know, much like myself.

Spellbound: Is that how you title yourself?

David: I'm kidding, of course...

Spellbound: "Crazy genius," we like that...

David: Most people call me crazy, though.

Spellbound: You were taught the piano and hated it, so in your teens you got into playing bass.

David: Yeah, and that wasn't much fun because you can't be a rock 'n' roll star playing bass, you know, you can't strut your funky thing as such. Not that I have a funky thing to strut, but it doesn't look as cool as your Marc Bolans or whatever, with their whopping great guitars up the front.

Spellbound: Well, actually we're big fans of bass players. We think bass players are sadly neglected.

David: They are indeed, I agree. (Laughs) Yeah, I was about 13 or 14 then and I was playing in a band that had a guitar player, me on bass, and this rather atrocious drummer. The guitar player was actually worse than the drummer -- he was totally appalling. I figured I could do a better job than him, so I took up the guitar.

Spellbound: So, how many bands have you been in?

David: Oooh, thousands... I don't know. Quite a few. You sort of tend to do that when you're a teenager. You play in lots of little school bands and stuff. When I left school I had a band with quite a few people you should know, actually. Keith Welsh was the first bass player, and a guy called Bill Hickenberg, who is a seriously underrated Australian drummer, who was replaced by Paul...

Spellbound: Paul who?

David: ...Wheeler.

Spellbound: Don't think we know him...

David: No, you wouldn't want to really... and Glen Krawczyk. He's just moved to Queensland, actually -- I spoke to him the other day. He'd sort of disappeared for awhile. The way of all old hippies, they sort of head north from Sydney and keep going, you know, and you never hear from them again.

Spellbound: Glen's an old hippie?

David: I think we all are at heart.

Spellbound: So basically you spent your teen years playing with these thousands of bands and making multitudes of money, we're sure...

David: No, not at all. Doing dreadfully badly, actually. In fact, Rod Willis came and saw us play once and remarked at how incredibly boring we were. We played these 30 minute songs that nobody understood except us. So we weren't very public. It wasn't very dancey, and it wasn't very rock 'n' roll. It was just kind of plonking, plodding sort of meanderings.

Spellbound: What other bands have influenced you? Pink Floyd obviously is one.

David: Oh, Bowie! Big Bowie fan, big Mick Ronson fan; I've spent years trying to get Mick Ronson's guitar sound! All the heavy metal bands -- Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple -- all that sort of stuff. I always like good songwriters, people who could really write a good lyric, like Roger Waters, or Lennon, or Bowie, or even the seriously underrated, my hero, Bob Geldof. I love Bob Geldof.

Spellbound: Can you catalog for us what instruments you play?

David: Oh, I don't know, guitar and keyboards, really. Actually, I spend a lot of my time programming, so I tend to do a lot of the stuff that I do on computer through keyboards.

Spellbound: So, you don't have any sort of skeletons in the closet, you know, like Iva has his bagpipes...

David: No, nothing like that. I think at one stage I was going to play the bagpipes. I went to a school that was heavily into Scottish music and they had a pipe band and all that sort of thing. But it was just such a whining, horrible noise that I couldn't really bring myself to do it. Especially since my main memory of bagpipes is sitting in detention room at 8 o'clock at night when everyone else had gone home, and I'm still sitting in the school, listening to these damned bagpipe players echoing off in the distance. So the bagpipes have a bad sort of reminiscence...

Spellbound: We won't talk about them any more...

David: Yeah, it's very disturbing...

Spellbound: We don't want any tragic flashbacks here...

David: Exactly...

Spellbound: We heard a nasty rumor that you were a Flowers fan...

David: Yeah, I was, actually. I really liked it when Keith was in the band. I thought they were fantastic. You know, Iva was sort of very cool and unapproachable, but Keith was quite a remarkable thing to behold in those days. Probably still is; I don't see him anymore, but he used to be a fantastic sort of whirling dervish -- he was great!

Spellbound: We've seen some clips...

David: I don't know if they do him justice; you really sort of had to be there, I think, because he really was quite remarkable. Some friends of mine in school went and saw a band called The Angels one night, and they said The Angels were OK but the support band was incredible, you know, "You should see this bass player, he's a complete lunatic," so I had to go and see them. We were all seriously underage at the time, so we had to sneak into pubs to see them. But they were great because they played all the sort of music that we liked too. In those days it was kind of unusual because most bands were doing New Wave stuff. But Flowers had sort of stepped back ten years and were doing Lou Reed and Bowie and Iggy Pop and stuff like that. You know, all our sort of heroes. It was great to see them and they did it so well. I think they were called the sort of jukebox and they were! They sounded just like you put a damned record on. They were very clever.

Spellbound: So that was really what attracted you to the band then -- the fact that they were doing Bowie and Iggy Pop...

David: Yeah, exactly. And I quite liked the first album. I thought that was quite good too. Frankly, I always thought it sounded better live than it did on record. It was a good album and the songs were fantastic, but the production sort of let it down a bit for me. Primitive Man was equally as good considering what Iva had to contend with, especially over here. It was like they were sort of hailed as the new gods of Australian pop music, and I think it would have been a hard act to follow, to come up with even a semi-decent second album. And it was a very good second album. After that, I sort of lost touch with them. I really didn't take much notice of them up until a couple of years ago.

For our next leg of the journey, we sat David down in the middle of his career, shone a bright light on him, and asked for the truth. But, no matter how we pressed and prodded, the man wouldn't crack.

Spellbound: What were you doing during this out of touch period?

David: Oh, I don't know, working and writing music for various things. I did some TV shows, like "Beyond 2000." I think you have "Beyond Tomorrow?"

Spellbound: Actually we do see "Beyond 2000" here, but the shows are about three years old by the time we see them.

David: Well, that's OK because it's about 50 years old when we do them! It's hardly beyond 2000; it's more like beyond the 1700s really. If you ever watch it, it's like they're not really discussing anything that's 20 years ahead of its time. It's all stuff that's available now or has been for many years. It's all very boring, really...

Spellbound: There was a mention that you wrote commercial jingles for a living?

David: We don't do a lot of jingles as such; we do a lot of post production music or effects. We call it "sound design." You know, you try and make unusual sounds fit into ordinary visuals to give them a bit more impact. It's a big business over in Hollywood. If you watch something like Jurassic Park -- they had to make up those sounds. They really didn't know what a dinosaur sounds like so they sort of invent something. You know, it could be a chicken being strangled and played backwards at half-speed. There you have it -- there's the sound of a dinosaur apparently! It's that sort of thing, though.

Spellbound: So the rumor isn't true -- you haven't written any jingles.

David: No, we've done a lot of jingles, but we prefer to do something with a little bit more integrity.

Spellbound: If you named a jingle, would any of our Australian readers recognize...

David: No, I'm not going to do that. (laughs) Even Iva has no idea what I've done actually. I've never played him anything and he keeps asking me for a show reel or something. I keep them well hidden when he comes over.

Spellbound: Why is that? You know, Barry Manilow got his start that way...

David: That's true! I've always been a huge Barry Manilow fan, I really love that guy like a brother...

Although David stayed mum, something didn't quite jingle for us. So we eased him into a confession of sorts -- that of pilfered jackets and "borrowed" musical equipment.

Spellbound: We also hear that you bought Bob Kretschmer's guitar.

David: Yeah, that's purely coincidental. I did actually, yeah, it's sort of funny because it was just sitting at the music centre -- my local Turramurra Music Centre which you've no doubt heard of before. It's this sort of backwater musicians' hangout. All the freaks hang out there, I guess. Anyway, there's this guitar hanging on the wall which was just this completely demolished Stratocaster that looked like it had been hit by a truck several times, but I just couldn't resist it, you know. I mean, it looks fantastic. I think he bought it in America. It's a great looking guitar, but it plays really badly. It feels horrible but it looks fantastic. About three weeks after I bought it, somebody said that he wanted it back. He decided not to sell it after all, but it was a bit late by then, so I've still got it.

Spellbound: How much did you pay for it?

David: Six hundred Australian Dollars, which is incredibly cheap. You can't really buy a decent Stratocaster over here for under $2,000, so it was quite a sensational buy. Very happy with myself.

Spellbound: We suppose you never had Bob autograph it if he wanted it back...

David: No. Actually I don't think I've ever met Bob; I might have, I can't remember.

Spellbound: So did you coincidentally end up with any other Flowers or Icehouse memorabilia?

David: Not really. Over the years, I've had a few things. It was sort of weird because I was playing with Keith a lot and Keith lent me a lot of things that somehow I guess I never gave back. I don't know what's happened to them since, but I had a thing called a Salina String Machine which was this amazing contraption which is like a keyboard. It only really does one thing; it plays a rather appalling string sound that has got a sort of charm about it. In those days, it was the forefront of technology. It was quite a thing to behold. These days people just laugh at them. So that was a Flowers sort of thing. The track "Sister," that opens with a Salina. In fact, I think it was that same Salina. Other people around here have got bits of Iva's guitars and stuff like that. You know Guy Delandro's got one of Iva's old Les Pauls, a nice one too...I think he wants it back...

Spellbound: Again?

David: Yeah! It's a bit like that. We've all got each other's guitars and we all want them back.

Spellbound: Sort of like whoever it is that stole Iva's jacket at the Bicentennial concert.

David: Yeah, right, I'm not giving that back...

Spellbound: Oh, so that was you!

David: Now I've done it, haven't I...

Okay, so he paid for the guitar... but we got him to squeal about his partners in crime.

Spellbound: Why don't you tell us a bit about your relationship with Keith Welsh. That's pretty interesting and something we didn't know about. How did you meet him?

David: I met Keith up at the music centre. It's where everyone seems to meet each other up there. He wasn't playing with Flowers anymore, he'd just left. So it was kind of a case of he was looking for a band to play with and I had these rather peculiar songs. In fact, I don't think he liked the songs, I think he just liked the production, the way I put them together on the cassette. He suggested that we get together and do something with them. So it was Keith, and myself, and two other guys from the music centre who got together and played for years on this stuff and the band went through about fifty line-up changes. Keith and I were very close at that stage. We used to hang out together at Kings Cross a lot and sit there and drink a lot of coffee and lead what we thought was a pretty sort of arty lifestyle for many years. He was going out with Annalisse Morrow at the time, and I think he wanted me to help her write songs and stuff like that so it was the three of us that would sort of hang out together quite a lot.

Spellbound: What was the name of the band that had the fifty line up changes?

David: Then? Oh, we were called Motives M.O.

Spellbound: OK. We thought it had to be one of the bands he's mentioned... We haven't heard the music, but Keith has told us about the band.

David: Oh, Keith did? I'm surprised he remembered. He probably told you about this tyrannical lead singer/guitar player -- well, that was me.

Spellbound: So how did you meet Mr. Wheeler, the same place?

David: Sort of. The other guitar player in the band was kind of like the catalyst. He was quite clever at organizing the band and getting new players. We had an incredible number of line up changes. We must have had about 30 bass players, and 600 drummers. Well, literally there must have been 20 drummers we went through. We just couldn't find anyone after the first guy Bill left to sort of replace him, he was such a great drummer. We went through everyone that we knew and everyone that we didn't know and still no one could play the songs properly. Then Tony, who was the other guitar player, quietly suggested that a friend of his little brother played the drums and maybe he'd be OK. So I had visions of this little kid turning up and sort of mincing around on a drum kit and funnily enough, that's exactly what happened! This little kid turns up in his brown corduroy Bogarts and a miller's shirt and short bank haircut. And I just looked at him and thought this is a joke; really there's no way this guy's gonna cut it. He just sort of set up behind his kit and said, "Well what are we gonna do?" And we said, "Well, this is the song," and we started playing it and he was brilliant. You know, the guy was absolutely fantastic. I just stood there while he was playing, with tears of laughter rolling down my face -- I'd never seen anything like it, and it was Paul, you know. Ever since then, the rest is history I suppose.

Spellbound: That's a great story...

David: It was incredible because he just didn't look right. I mean in those days he was so shy. He's still fairly shy really, but he was particularly shy then and he seemed very unsure of himself except when he was playing. The minute he counted the song in this monster took over. He's quite incredible.

Spellbound: Yeah, we admire Pauly...

David: You've had the experience...

Spellbound: We've had the experience of having ceiling tiles fall down because of Paul's drumming.

David: That's our Pauly.

Spellbound: Sweet, sweet guy.

David: Yeah, he is and he's a very good friend too. He's taken over from Keith really, it's Paul and I now who hang out in coffee shops and attempt to be Bohemian or something like that.

Spellbound: Do you wear berets or anything like that?

David: No, not yet, although Paul constantly refers to me as a wanker. He thinks that I should be wearing berets, eating bagels, and that sort of thing...

Spellbound: And smoking clove cigarettes... So how did you meet Iva?

David: Well, actually he doesn't remember this, but I actually met him in about 1980 or something when a girlfriend of mine and I bought him a drink at a stage door tavern after a gig. I was about 18 and I was thrilled to even talk to this guy that played guitar on a stage; you know, I was very sort of rapt. He doesn't remember that and I suppose another ten years went by... he'd played with so many members of my band -- stolen so many people that I'd played with -- that it seemed inevitable that we'd meet sooner or later.

Spellbound: And was it instant love?

David: Actually, Iva's really kind of businesslike in his own way. I mean we got together for the sole purpose of writing songs, and that was the reason, you know. The first day we got together to write a song which turned out to be the song "Big Wheel" which is coming out on the new album. I don't think we actually said two words to each other. He sort of turned up at the door at a friend's place whose studio we were borrowing and we never said much to each other, really. We just sat there for days on end sort of peering into a computer screen and plunking away on a keyboard. We didn't really say much to each other. It wasn't unfriendly, it was just very businesslike, and I think that's how Iva likes to work, which is quite good really. You get a lot done.

Spellbound: Has it remained that way or are you a bit social now?

David: Iva likes his privacy and I respect that; I'm a bit the same way really. No, it's quite social now. Whenever we do talk it's usually about one o'clock in the morning on the telephone. We just tend to sort of rave at each other when we feel like it.

Spellbound: Sometimes one o'clock in the morning is when you have your best thoughts.

David: It is for me, certainly.

Spellbound: Well, in twenty-five words or less, what's it like working with Mr. Davies?

David: It's a great experience! Iva's quite a craftsman. He doesn't approach songwriting like most people. He approaches it like a craft, as opposed to something that has to be done. I think a lot of bands tend to sort of churn out songs and hope that they come together -- thank you to production, or thank you to the producer or something, whereas Iva doesn't leave anything to chance. He will make sure that it's a constructed and workable thing before he'll go any further with it. I might add that there were things that we were working on at the time that Paul and I were very happy with, that we felt could have been really good things. But Iva just didn't think it came up to scratch for one reason or another and it was thrown by the wayside. In that way, he has a lot of integrity. He'll only ever put out a product that he thinks is up to his standard. That's a great thing to work with; I think I'm a lot more lax than that. I have an attitude a lot of the time which is, "Oh, well, that'll do," so it was a good discipline.

Spellbound: Maybe you and Paul can take those things and make them into something all your own.

David: I don't know. Paul and I played him some stuff that the three of us did that he'd forgotten about, and in retrospect I think he quite liked them. So maybe they'll turn up somewhere else next time. There's one song on the album called "Stolen Guitar"...

Spellbound: ...and I want it back!

David: "You Have My Stolen Guitar, Please Give It Back," is the full title... we started that off as a very quiet sort of ballad. In fact it was going to be what we called the relief on the album. It was going to be like the chance for people to sort of go, *whew!* Paul and I thought it was great, and anyone we played the demo to just loved it. They all thought it was a really good thing, but Iva thought it was terribly schmaltzy. He didn't really think that it had any sort of soul about it which was a shame, I think. Anyway, it ended up being this song called "Stolen Guitar," which is a complete rewrite. Ultimately I think he did the right thing; he took something that was one thing that he wasn't happy with and turned it into something else that's actually a very good thing. But I'd like to see the original turn up somewhere one day, I think that was a good thing too.

Spellbound: Maybe as a B-side.

David: That'd be nice, I'll try and convince him of that. He never liked the other one, though, so I don't know if he'll go with that.

Spellbound: Maybe we should write him a letter...

David: Yeah, get the fan club together and harass him.

Spellbound: We'll get a petition together -- "We want Stolen Guitars!"

David: Exactly!

After realizing the calibre of criminal we had on our hands (one part crazy, one part genius -- a volatile mix), there was only one thing to do. Have him locked up in the Big House!

Spellbound: This is the biggest question we're getting from all the subscribers who are wondering who is David Chapman. They want to know: Are you now in Icehouse?

David: I don't know. Not really -- I mean Icehouse really is Iva. It always has been, and I guess in a sense, yes, I suppose, but that's not to say I'm replacing anybody or anything like that. It all depends, I mean in a sense when Paul and Iva and I wrote the last album apart from one song which Simon Lloyd co-wrote with Paul and Iva, I guess in that sense, yes, I am, but if the band were going to tour or something like that, I think...well we haven't really talked about it so I couldn't really answer it.

Spellbound: That was going to be the next question: If you knew if you would tour if they were to hit the road.

David: Possibly. There's probably enough room for another guitar player, insofar as the songs on this album are very sort of guitar orientated. I think you'd probably need about three guitars to play it! At least, I'd imagine. You know, you could get by without three guitar players but I don't know, it's sort of up to Iva. I don't know if he wants us to tour or not. I think he'll wait and see how the album goes.

Spellbound: When we spoke to him he seemed to be leaning towards "not"...

David: Well, it's hard to say, I mean sometimes he makes noises like he will and sometimes he makes noises like he won't. The single's only just come out so we're seeing how that goes.

Spellbound: Going back to the album, how much input did you have in the process of writing it?

David: I don't know, I think...a bit.

Spellbound: If your name is on every single song but one, that does not qualify as "a bit."

David: Well, it does qualify as a bit. I mean, it's like it varied from song to song. Most of the songs were pretty much put together from an original idea by Iva, we just worked it out together. I don't think you can really sort of break it down to a percentage. You'd have to go through it song by song. Paul could sit with you and say, "Well, I did that bit, and Dave did that bit, and Iva did all these bits," you'd have to ask Iva. We all have very different opinions on who did what, I think. I mean, it changes all the time. When David Lord came into the picture he did a bit of reshuffling too.

Spellbound: How did the writing process go? Can you lead us through a typical day of writing?

David: A typical day of writing: I'd wake up and sit in the bath for an hour or two. By then I would have really woken up. And then Paul would ring me from the station, so I'd go and pick him up, and we'd drive down to Iva's place which never failed to amaze me. I mean Iva's got a fantastic place really. A 180 degree panoramic view of the North and South coast and a studio that he's built on top of his garage so we'd sort of sit there and stare at the view for another couple of hours and make a couple of cups of coffee and light some incense, and...

Spellbound: And watch him vacuum...

David: him vacuum and clean up for a while which was always entertaining. And then I suppose we'd listen to what we did the day before, or whatever... It was quite relaxed and quite slow and we'd just take our time over things. I suppose each song took about maybe two weeks to write, quite slow really. I mean, I think I was quite slow really. I tend to want to ponder over things. Iva likes to put things down and say that's it and run on to the next thing. He likes to move quite quickly, whereas I like to think about things for a long time before I do anything about it. So, I guess you'd say that he was really pulling the whole project along and I was like this anchor that didn't want to be pulled along very much.

Spellbound: Dragging through the depths...

David: Dragging through the slime at the bottom, that was me.

Spellbound: We do have to ask you... was that a bubble bath you were taking for two hours?

David: No, I tried a bubble bath. A girlfriend of mine gave me some bubble bath to try, but I don't really like bubble bath much. But thanks for asking.

Spellbound: OK, well, guess we won't send you any for Christmas, then.

David: Well, the reason I didn't like it was because it really didn't bubble. No, it was quite disappointing. I started off by putting the recommended dosage of the capful in and that was a bit of a joke, so I ended up pouring the whole bottle in one day just to see what would happen and nothing really happened.

Spellbound: We'll have to find some guaranteed bubble for you.

David: Non-detergent based would be very nice, thank you.

We then got David to talk about the plan... the inspiration... he led us around and around and we began to see the big picture.

Spellbound: While you guys were writing Big Wheel, you and Paul and Iva, what were your influences at that time?

David: We listened to Heroes by David Bowie a lot, and we listened to Lust For Life by Iggy Pop, and another album of his called The Idiot, both of which he co-wrote with David Bowie. They just have a particular sort of sound about them that we all liked. Have you heard them?

Spellbound: Actually, Iva mentioned The Idiot and Lust For Life while we were interviewing him and he suggested we go out and buy The Idiot which we did. So that one we've heard.

David: And you hated it?

Spellbound: No, we thought it sounded very Bowie-ish actually.

David: It is -- it's kind of got a Berlin feel about it. You know, it's very dark stuff and I don't think that's what this album sounds like. I think this album is actually very up in its own way, but I think we tried to make it as down as possible. I don't know, we were just in that kind of frame of mind. It's come out sounding very good; to me it sounds very up and quite happy, which is funny because the stuff we were listening to definitely wasn't.

Spellbound: That's very interesting because Iva described it as bleak.

David: It's funny because if you'd asked me that same question two months ago I would have said the same thing as Iva. But since having reappraised it... I didn't even listen to it for the first couple of weeks after we finished it. I just couldn't bring myself to listen to it, you know. We'd spent a year on it and I was sick to death of the whole thing. But two weeks later it sort of reared its ugly head again and I thought it sounded rather good. Yeah, I'm quite pleased with it really.

Spellbound: Great! What instruments do you play on the album?

David: We sort of swapped all the guitar duties, we both played rhythm and lead guitars. Iva played all the basses except for one of the keyboard basses that I did. And I played a bit of mandolin, and some keyboards, and sang a bit. Not only that, but I did all the tambourines, I might point out.

Spellbound: So is the mandolin the "instrument in the closet," right next to Iva's bagpipes?

David: My brother plays a lot of mandolin, and I like the mandolin a lot. Not in the traditional sense, but more like in a rock and roll sense. People like Jimmy Page use them very nicely, a great effect on Led Zepplin songs.

Spellbound: So that's all the instruments you played -- surprised to hear that Iva played all the bass.

David: Actually he's a great bass player; because he's not a bass player, he tends to play things that most bass players wouldn't play. I don't quite know why, but that seems to be the way it works. Bass players who are traditionally trained tend to play in traditional modes, whereas guitar players are a bit more wild.

Spellbound: Where did you get the title Big Wheel? What does it mean? Or does it mean anything?

David: Oh, it's Iva's title, which is actually the title of the first song that he and I wrote together, which is called "Big Wheel." It's based on Paul Wheeler -- we just call him big Wheeler most of the time... (big laughter here!!!!!!!!!!!)

Spellbound: OK, David, do you want to try again now? Can we have definition number two please?

David: Big Wheel actually relates to, well, I mean again you'd have to ask Iva. It's his title. But my interpretation is that it relates to the word "revolution" and the many connotations and ambiguities of the word "revolution." Not necessarily being an uprising or a change of society but also just your everyday sort of revolution. The sun going up and going down and everything that goes around comes around -- all kinds of quotes and cliches that ultimately relate to a big wheel.

Spellbound: So in that way it's also related to Full Circle.

David: Exactly. Iva's sort of obsessed with Big Wheels at the moment -- circular things, yeah.

Spellbound: Does Paul know about that?

David: We don't want to discuss the, uh, interrelationships of the band...

Spellbound: Well, of course not, we can see why...What's your prediction for Big Wheel? How well do you think the album will do?

David: It could do anything. It's such a departure from other Icehouse albums, I don't know if people will be surprised by it or not. I think it's very "now," very "happening" -- I think it will do quite well. I mean I'd like it to, anyway, I think it deserves to. Having heard a lot of other things that are happening at the moment, it seems to fit into that sort of -- well, coincidentally, I might add, a lot of bands are putting out a lot of stuff that sounds like Sixties revival stuff-cum-Nineties style production. You know, like Lenny Kravitz, or a lot of stuff that's happening over here. Bands like Crowded House are doing the same thing. As it turns out we're doing the same thing when we've been doing our album. So, it's not like anyone got together and said, "Hey, let's all put out these albums that sound like this or that." It just seems to have just sort of worked out that way.

Spellbound: Maybe it was something in the water...

David: Yeah, it could have been...

Spellbound: A virus... So, what do you think you'll be doing in the future?

David: I have a business partner actually who's overseas at the moment. He'll be back in about a month and I'll probably get back into doing a bit more commercial work, I suppose. We're looking at setting up a small studio next year as well and I spoke to Iva yesterday and he said something about doing some promotional things. We've done some film clips; I think he wants to go off and play acoustic guitars in record stores and sign autographs and that sort of thing.

Spellbound: So, we're going to have "Icehouse Unplugged"?

David: It sounds like that, doesn't it? I don't think so; I can't imagine this album "unplugged" as such. It's too raunchy!

As we expected, in the end, it was just all sheer madness.

Spellbound: Were there any zany moments that stand out in your memory? Something that was just so crazy and you laughed for hours about it?

David: Yeah, there is one thing actually -- there's the beginning of a song called "Sam The Man" which when you hear it you'll know what I'm talking about. What was happening was actually a very tense moment -- I can't recall why it was tense, we'd all had a major disagreement about something. Paul and Iva and I were standing around a microphone in the studio and we had to sing these backing vocals that start up the song. It's like an, "Oo, oo, oo" sort of thing in high pitched falsetto, and Iva's counting us through it with his hand while we're singing it, and it was a very tense and serious moment trying to get this take together. He was shaking his hand up and down in time with the music to keep us in time, and the lighter that was in his hand slipped out of his hand and smashed onto the floor, making an incredible amount of noise which completely destroyed the take we were doing. So we all just burst out into tears of laughter and that's actually been left on the record! It's actually quite funny to listen to now. If you listen very carefully you can hear the lighter hitting the floor -- in perfect time, I might point out...

Spellbound: Well, of course...

David: Iva Davies as percussionist...

Well, David's committed now. His crimes are obvious and, after hearing the evidence (you can all hear the testimony released on 25 October 1993), we are handing down a life sentence... in the Icehouse!

David, it really was great fun to talk with you and get to know you a bit. Thanks for your time, information, and fantastic sense of humor! Also, a big thanks to Louise Stovin-Bradford for setting all of this up for us!

© 1993 Spellbound

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