What's Happenin'
Spellbound - Vol I Iss IV
© April 1994

Here's what's happenin' -


There was a second wave of press coverage for Icehouse, stemming from the big push behind "Big Wheel" the single and Icehouse's impending tour. The industry was still buzzing about Big Wheel's interactive disk and the fact that Iva had severed ties with most of the "Mr. Bigs" involved with his career. His own label, studio, and fresh, exciting ideas coming across on Big Wheel… perhaps the normally conservative image with which the industry labeled Iva had suffered its own 6.8 shaker! Let's review some of the press and see with how much force the Big Wheel rolled…

Drum Media, February 8th: "First his record company was presented with the surprisingly strong new album they weren't expecting, Big Wheel, and now Iva Davies has decided to take that album out on the road for the tour no one had expected. Now that's rock anarchy for you!"

Drum Media, March 1, by Les White: "With a discography now dating back 14 years, Icehouse have been responsible for some of the most expressive music to emanate from these shores. But as well as being expressive, exotic, and expansive - it's also been bloody expensive, too. This last point was one that Davies was determined to address in the making of Big Wheel." And on the subject of the floppy disk: "Upon the initial release of Big Wheel, together with the CD, many of us were presented with a standard floppy disk that functioned as something of a hi-tech press release for the album."

The Daily Telegraph Mirror, March 3, by Kathy McCabe: "After legal wrangles and general disillusionment with the music industry, Davies was ready to quit the music business. But inspiration intervened and with Icehouse members drummer Paul Wheeler, keyboardist Simon Lloyd, and new cohort, guitarist David Chapman, a new album and independent record company were born. Davies - on his first major tour for a couple of years - indicates Big Wheel had taken his music full circle, marking a return to the punk and glam influences which characterized the debut Flowers album Icehouse released in 1980."

Rave, February 23-March 1, by John Mullen: "Big Wheel is a return to a more overdriven Icehouse in both imagery and sound, and is definitely a galaxy away from their Man Of Colours period. At times the album grinds with the intensity and heat of metal on metal, at others, it is ethereal and hallucinogenic. It's obvious that the style Nazis and industry dictators frustrate Davies at times but generally he is too immersed in his music, or the surf, to be bothered. These days Iva strikes you as a man committed to his craft but with a passionate calmness, not the spiky ebullience of his Flowers days."

Iva also had a 20 question interview printed in the Australian February issue of Playboy… yes, we said Playboy! Stuart Hitchings, the interviewer, asked Iva some fairly good questions concerning Big Wheel but let us reprint for you our favourite. Well, actually, it was the answer that we quite liked!
Playboy: "In 1988, when Man Of Colours was at its peak, you said, 'I don't have any illusions that if I stopped tomorrow within two years I'd be totally forgotten.' Is it going to be hard to re-establish yourself after such a long lay-off?"
Davies: "It always is, though I've since discovered that some people don't forget, that Icehouse has a core of very loyal fans. In America, for instance, there have emerged two completely independent fan clubs which have a worldwide network taking in the most peculiar places. I have letters from people who bought bootlegged albums in Poland on the black market. It's really quite bizarre and you don't have any appreciation as to how far your music's gone until you discover something like this. But whether we'll ever have another record like Man Of Colours in terms of sales is another matter."

So, having just finished reading that, does it make you feel proud to be one of those who never forget?

That is just a sampling of what has recently been put down in black and white about Icehouse.


While the single "Big Wheel" is still out there and being played by various radio stations, there is a new Icehouse single on the horizon! Drum roll please… hey all you "Invisible People!" Get out there and be counted! For those of you feeling helpless to face the world's ills, feeling like you just don't count, Icehouse are providing you with an anthem with which you can bolster your courage and resolve! We haven't a release date yet for this dose of high energy, reggae flavoured boost but, as soon as we do, you'll receive the information with an assignment. It's pretty simple. How do Invisible People stand up and be counted? By ringing radio stations and requesting it as soon as it's out! Then run down to your record shop and buy a few copies! Don't forget!

Live Performances

... a.k.a. Big Wheel tour! We hope you all received the bulletin we sent out regarding the tour which included a listing of dates. The South Australia dates were later changed a bit, and the boys did not venture to Perth as was tentatively planned. Here's a rundown of just what those Icemen were up to!

Iva and Paul Wheeler participated in a bush fire benefit on January 22. It was held at the Palm Beach RSL, and had various bands participating including 1927 and Girl Overboard. Iva and Paul were part of an all-star band which also included Ian Moss of Cold Chisel and Paul Christie of The Party Boys. Ian said they called themselves The Composites and their "album" would be called Compost! They did various songs such as "Bow River," "Tucker's Daughter," and the ever popular "Jean Genie." The band also performed "We Can Get Together" and "Nothing Too Serious." It was a great night enthusiastically supported by the audience. One young lady decided to join the band onstage and proceeded to "boogie on down." She then took a puff off of Paul Christies' ciggie and then was escorted off stage by Ian. Anything for charity!

The 2MMM Electric Sunset Boat Cruise, on February 10, was nothing short of magical! The setting was Sydney Harbour and the audience was treated to free food and drinks as the boat headed out. But food and drinks were not what they had dialed their fingers off trying to win! Icehouse soon came on and the boat began to really rock! The very appreciative audience sang and danced along with the following songs: "Cadillac," "We Can Get Together," "Big Wheel," "Great Southern Land," "Heroes," "Love In Motion," "Invisible People," "Walls," "Sister," "Crazy," "Cold Turkey," and "Jean Genie." The band sounded great, especially to those who hadn't heard them live from three to six years! Several fans joined Iva onstage at the encore, including one young lady who pinned a huge yellow smiley face on Iva's shirt! The harbour provided a beautiful setting for a fantastic night. Triple M and Coca-Cola sponsored the event. Triple M itself has done a great job supporting Iva, Icehouse, and Big Wheel.

The tour itself was fantastic, providing Icehouse fans old and new with a round sampling of their 14 years worth of hits! The tour started in Queensland on February 15 and ended on March 19 in South Australia. The boys did have a hard bout with the flu but tried their very best to give 100% while on stage. David Chapman was welcomed quite well by the fans and they really cheered him on during his guitar solos. Most of the shows followed the same song list, with a few exceptions here and there. For instance, the fans in Rockhampton were treated to "Heroes," whereas the show in Toowoomba included "Satellite." The majority of the shows started with ambient music a la "Cadillac" which then flowed into an intense version of "Icehouse." It would be a hard task to say what the highlight of the shows was. Was it Paul Gildea and David's guitar duet during "Invisible People?" Was it the way the band ripped into "Walls" and rocketed straight into "Sister"? Or was it the "strut-your-stuff" heavy rock/funk of "Jean Genie"? It was all of that plus the individual moments of fun, hilarity, and sheer musical brilliance this tour gave the fans. There were times when technical problems got in the way or the opening act wasn't exactly… umm… appreciated?! But this tour still achieved one major thing - it left every crowd at every show wanting more! Well, that just may be what we Icehouse fans well get - MORE!! There are rumours (tentative plans, whispers, writings on the Walls…) that Icehouse will roll the Big Wheel out again in June! So, mark June with a big red circle and if you have any plans then - holidays, parties, weddings - CANCEL THEM! Now don't forget…

One thing that we hope the band repeats if they hit the road in June is more acoustic sets like they did at the Warringah Mall on March 5. The boys set up stage on a bright, summery day in the midst of shoppers' heaven. The lunch time crowd stopped browsing through all those sales long enough to hear three "unplugged" songs by Icehouse. The set included "Big Wheel," "Great Southern Land," and (our favourite!) "Miss Divine." It sounded great and we hope the lads will try to make that a permanent fixture of future tours. After the show, Iva, Simon, David, and Paul Wheeler headed to the nearby record store where fans buying copies of Big Wheel could have the CD or cassette signed. They also received a great deal on their purchase as these copies of Big Wheel came with a bonus copy of Icehouse.

A final note on the tour… we heard that it was sometimes seen that Iva and Stephen, if ever running late to sound check, had a saving factor in their favour. They could always send their stage clothes on ahead to stand in for them 'til they arrived… but could the very colourful (and well worn) outfits sing?


Icehouse were on various radio stations these past months. Triple M, as mentioned before, sponsored the Electric Sunset Boat Cruise, although it was not broadcast. Triple M also had Icehouse on for a live performance of "Big Wheel" on March 4. Triple J went five better and had Icehouse performing "Live at the Wireless" on February 7. The boys played a short set consisting of "Cadillac," "Love In Motion," "Big Wheel," "Great Southern Land," "Heroes," and "Invisible People." It was a great tease for the fans looking forward to the approaching tour. Iva also worked with Triple J as they had a contest for up-and-coming bands. The call was put out to send demos to Triple J, Iva would listen to them, and then choose the winner. The prize was Iva's expertise as a producer! Iva had quite a few entries to listen to in between shows. His final choice came down to a Sydney band called Meanderthal. Their music was described as thrash/punk and Triple J had Iva and one of the Meanderthal's members, Derek, in the studio when the production work was done. From a somewhat distorted, unintelligible demo, Iva created something that was at least radio friendly. Iva said he partly chose this band because of their attitude… which they had in abundance! Spellbound's advice to these fellows would be, "Don't quit your day job!" But our Hero was gracious and proved who the professional in this situation truly was.


Icehouse have really been working hard pushing "Big Wheel" the single, as can be seen by the television appearances they've made in 1994. February 13 saw the band performing on Take 40, introduced by American rap act Salt 'n' Pepa. They next hit the TV airwaves on March 12, ripping out "Big Wheel" for the Hey Hey It's Saturday audience. (Is it really true that the big pink bird and the other equally empty-headed fellow, Red Symons, are liked?! Pardon us, but our American minds are baffled…) Icehouse then performed "Big Wheel" and "Great Southern Land" on Live and Sweaty, March 25. They gave a great performance although the director of the show could have used perhaps a few lessons in camera direction! It was great seeing the boys on the telly and we're hoping to see more of them when "Invisible People" is released.


Icehouse are now definitely a part of Rock 'n' Roll History! Opening April 1 and continuing for 18 months is the Wild Child Exhibit at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney. Included at this showcase of rock 'n' roll memorabilia are three items of Icehouse interest: The Man Of Colours Jacket (the other one still hangs in the Sydney Hard Rock Café - yes, there are two jackets!), the Australia-shaped disc of "Crazy," and a mixing board set up by Simon Leadley from Trackdown Studios. Visitors to the exhibit can sit down at the board and play Recording Engineer by mixing their own version of "Great Southern Land"! Check it out if you're in town!


Well, for the moment, we are all holding our breaths for the release date of "Invisible People" which will also include a video release. The single will also feature "Driving Me Backwards." Plus there's the matter of a POSSIBLE tour in June…

The Boys

What's happenin' with Simon Lloyd? Oh, this and that… "that" is all we could get out of the computer whiz/saxophonist… and your Madonna records always were a pain…

Steve Morgan is suffering from PMS - Pre-Marital Syndrome! Steve and long-time girlfriend Caroline are going off to Europe to tie the knot and thus end the legend of the "Love God!" Mr. Morgan is also keeping busy by passing on his talents on the bass to aspiring new musicians. Since the tour ended, Steve has been doing various gigs around Melbourne but is unable to commit to anything long-term due to his wedding plans. Steve enjoyed the recent tour, feeling it had a more relaxed atmosphere and that everyone performed well. Since it looks like Steve and Caroline will be leaving in June, Icehouse fans can look for a band line-up change (again…) if the boys hit the road the same month. The new Mr. and Mrs. Morgan will return late July or early August. On behalf of everyone at Spellbound, we wish Caroline and Steve a happy wedding and warm congratulations!!

Paul Wheeler has been seen about Sydney playing with Vincent Stone. He also recently did some session work with an advertising company who used the old Romantics' song "What I Like About You" for the Western Australia Tourist Commission. Paul was happy to get back out on the road again and felt good about playing for the fans. He looks forward to doing it all again real soon! Paul, along with the rest of the band, had a photo shoot on the set of Live And Sweaty. We're looking forward to seeing those!

Paul Gildea is keeping busy, having joined up with the nine piece band fronted by Debra Byrne. Paul has performed with Debra on several television shows such as Hey Hey It's Saturday, The Midday Show, The Today Show, Jimeoin, and Ernie and Denise. He was also part of the band for the Sydney and Melbourne launches of Debra's album. He does not actually perform on the album. Paul, too, is sharing his musical talents by working with AusMusic, creating a curriculum book and video that teaches the student how to play the electric guitar. Paul really had a great time on the last tour and is looking forward to the next time Icehouse play. He also feels that, despite their sad beginning, Carlton is looking good for the rest of the AFL season.

David Chapman went back to work at his own studio, Zig Zag Lane, with his partner, Derek. They provide background music for promotional items airing on SBS and ABC, among other things. David was also nominated to edit the video for "Invisible People" and, after four nights of giving it his creative all, David turned in the finished product. The verdict from EMI was that they "loved it." We're sure it was hip, hot, and happenin'! He was then chosen once again for the choosing of which shots of the band from the Live And Sweaty photo shoot would be used as promotional tools. David's first time out with Icehouse was a good experience for him. He particularly remembers the funny moments such as the time he was at the keyboards in Shellharbour and they fell to the floor! As they lay there flashing and sparking, roadies rushing to get them back up again, the show went on and no one in the audience noticed. There was also the time in Frankston when he ran full force into Iva, unable to stop himself from doing so. Until the band go out again, David will be playing chess while watching the leaking roof drip…

Iva Davies was only home for a week before going overseas to Fiji. During that week was when he produced the track for Meanderthal. He felt the tour was fairly successful and did exactly as he expected it to do. Tonia and Brynn joined Iva in Fiji a week after he left and they will all return to Sydney sometime in May. After that, we would expect that Iva and the boys will resume promoting Big Wheel and the new single "Invisible People." Did somebody say "tour again"?!

And that's what's happenin'!