What's Happenin'
Spellbound - Vol II Iss III
© September 1995


There hasn't been a lot of press for Iva and Icehouse lately. That will all change, starting in September, with the release of The Berlin Tapes EP! Iva will be doing more promotional work for the ballet and that will include magazine interviews and possible television appearances. There have been, however, a few printed ads for Berlin in various newspapers. The Legends of Rock Exhibit left surprising little press in its wake. Opening in Melbourne, there were only two small photos of Iva printed, both in the Herald Sun on May 23rd and May 26th. The exhibit passed through Brisbane, seemingly without notice, and there was a small mention in Drum Media for its arrival in Sydney. This article features a photo of Iva, although he is not named.

So the fans will have to keep an eye out in the very near future to see what is put down in black and white about Iva and Icehouse.


These past months have been quiet for Icehouse but that will all change very soon! In late September, fans will be able to hear the first tracks from the music for Berlin! An EP will be released in Australia and will contain four songs. The first is a song that will be featured in the ballet, titled "Heaven." Originally a Talking Heads song from 1977, Iva and his "merry band of musicians" have put their own slant on it.

The second track is also an older song, originally recorded by The Cure. Its title is "At Night" and, much like many of the songs Iva has chosen to use for Berlin, is one of The Cure's more obscure songs. The final two tracks are what Iva terms "incidental music" from the ballet: "Pas de Trois" and "Giant and Child Fugue." The Giant and the Child are key figures in the ballet.

The album itself will be out in October. Iva, of course, plays on the album along with Max Lambert on keyboards, David Chapman on guitar, Paul Wheeler on percussion, Steve Bull on bass, and Adrian Wallis of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra on cello.

While Iva wouldn't reveal song titles quite yet (beyond what will be on the EP), he did tell us from which artists he's chosen to borrow songs for the album. He described them as being songs from the following artists: early Roxy Music, mid-period David Bowie from his least successful album, XTC, Psychedelic Furs, Public Image ("…if you can believe it!"), Simple Minds, Killing Joke, Frank Sinatra, and Velvet Underground.

The Velvet Underground song has an interesting story attached to it. Iva told us that anybody can record anyone else's song and said, for example, that anybody could record "Hey Little Girl" and there wouldn't be anything he could do about it. But, to put a song in a stage production is a different matter and Iva didn't realize this until after he had already written the Velvet Underground song into the ballet. He found there are a whole set of rights that have to be issued and so he had to contact Lou Reed himself, as the composer of the song, for these rights. Iva, with the help of Keith Welsh, tried several times for permission to use this song in Berlin, and was refused each time. Keith and Iva then decided to bypass all of the "middlemen" who were presenting their request to Lou Reed and sent a cassette of Iva's version of the song directly to Mr. Reed and his management. The response was a fax from Lou Reed stating that Iva's version of this song was one of the most brilliant covers of any of his songs that he had ever heard! Needless to say, Iva was very pleased with this response! However, although we will all have the pleasure of hearing this track for ourselves on The Berlin Tapes, Lou has not yet given a "yea" or "nay" as to whether Iva can actually use the song in the stage production of Berlin. We will have to wait to see what comes through from Lou…

Another interesting part of the making of The Berlin Tapes is what Iva has done to create almost new songs out of old. He told us that for the Velvet Underground song, he combined it with a Gregorian chant from the 15th century! This chant, with the music written by Gregorio Allegri, is a psalm called the Miserere, and has a history of its own. A very powerful piece of music with a profound effect on those listening to it, it was for a period of time kept under lock and key by the Catholic Church to be used only on special occasions. Happening upon such an occasion, Mozart (who was in Italy studying choral music) wrote out the score from memory, and thus Allegri's version of the Miserere became available to the public. Centuries later, this famous piece of music finds its way into a Velvet Underground song via the creative hand and mind of Iva Davies! Other songs with similar treatments are the Bowie song which includes portions of a piano piece called "La Cathédrale Engloutie" - The Sunken Cathedral - by the French classical composer Claude Debussy, and the Frank Sinatra song which is blended with selected portions of another Lou Reed song called "Berlin."

After hearing of all the time, effort, and creativity Iva has put into the music for Berlin, we know everyone will be looking forward to hearing it even more! We think Iva summed it up best when he said The Berlin Tapes were "more an artwork, not a chartwork."

Live Performances

Berlin will be staged at the Opera House Drama Theatre from November 17th to December 23rd. There are tentative plans for the ballet to travel to Melbourne and over to New Zealand. There has also been some talk about bringing the ballet to Brisbane, and as a one-off performance Berlin may travel to Atlanta, Georgia in June or July of next year. This staging of Berlin would be a presentation to a special audience in relation to the 1996 Summer Olympics. Again, the only shows confirmed are the Sydney shows.

As to who will be performing the music for Berlin live, the line-up is taking form but is not yet set. It looks to be as follows: Iva, Max Lambert (keyboards), Paul Wheeler (drums), Steve Bull (bass), Adrian Wallis (cello), and either David Chapman or Paul Gildea (acoustic guitar), depending mostly on the show's location.

Radio and Television

There have been ads running for Berlin, mostly on television. Things will pick up for the band with the release of The Berlin Tapes EP. Iva has told us that there may be appearances on shows such as "Hey Hey, It's Saturday" and "Burke's Backyard." We advise our Australian subscribers to keep their eyes open and ears closely tuned to these and similar programs in the coming months.

Iva did find himself performing the role of tour guide for a segment of "Good Morning Australia" in regards to the opening of the Legends of Rock Exhibit on May 23rd.


All future Icehouse releases will once again bear the stamp of the Massive Recording Company. The license with EMI lapsed and Iva felt that Massive had the better capabilities to handle a project such as Berlin and The Berlin Tapes, more so than EMI. Massive may also put some effort into making the existing Icehouse catalog available in a new form.

Another event of note was MTV's recent special called "It Came From The '80s." The program mainly dealt with remembering the videos of the '80s and featured interviews with the people involved, one of whom was Russell Mulcahy. He spoke of making videos and the concepts behind some of the images. He admitted some of them had no meaning at all and cited examples such as "fabric blowing in the wind, water splashing in slow motion, or a horse wandering through the fog for no reason whatsoever." Each image he recalled was accompanied by a video clip of that image, the last being a white horse walking through the fog to the tune of "Icehouse."

The Boys

Simon Lloyd has been working on some multimedia projects for various people, including the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney. Stemming from his previous work with them for the Real Wild Child Exhibit last year, the museum has given Simon other projects to work on. No details were given, however, but Simon is working hard at this and keeping very busy.

Paul Wheeler has been touring with Max Sharam. Max just supported Chris Isaak as he toured around Australia. Max will continue on 'til the middle of September. However, Paul may have to leave Max's tour to begin work again with the Shock Poets. Their single is due to be released at the end of August, on the Village Roadshow label. The single is titled "Never Should Have Bothered You." The album is due out in the first part of September. However, the possibility of the band touring is still up in the air so Paul is unsure when the Shock Poets will hit the road. Berlin is another priority on Paul's busy schedule and he is looking forward to performing in the production.

Stephen Morgan is still working in the Melbourne area with his band White Shooga. The band are working on new songs to perform. He has also "gone back to school." Steve is working in RBX Studios to train himself to become an engineer/producer. He has done some engineering of demos for a few young Melbourne bands, passing on his experience in the recording studio while learning at the same time. Steve is working on the side with White Shooga's vocalist, Nicky Bennett, writing songs and perhaps producing them for her as well. He has also been writing some songs with Paul Gildea and Natalie Carne. Natalie has been to Nashville and Steve says she is a great country singer. Steve, Paul, and Natalie were previously in a country band together, with the working title of Lazy Susan, which was put together for the purpose of getting some of the country songs floating around in their heads out of their systems! Of course, Steve is very excited about his footy team, Essendon, doing so well. The Bombers look good to be in the finals and Steve plans on being there to scream them on to victory!

Paul Gildea's news can be found within his interview in this issue. Like Steve, Paul can also be found at the footy ovals, cheering on his favorite team, Carlton. As we work on this issue of Spellbound, Carlton and Essendon are the #1 and #2 teams…

David Chapman is working very hard at being Managing Director Extraordinaire at Zig Zag Studios. Zig Zag mainly works in producing soundtracks for television programs. Recent clients for Zig Zag have been such shows as "Fifty Years of Australian Comedy" and "Missing Pieces." David has his track, called "Something Fishy In Your Pasta," on Simon Leadley's album. There is no release date for this album as yet. David has also been working with Iva at Zig Zag on The Berlin Tapes. David's review of the new single is that "it's really pretty." David is also working on his own pieces of music, which he is quite happy with and may look into getting that put together for the future. Judas, we are happy to report, is fully recovered from her operation and is in good health!

Besides working almost day and night on The Berlin Tapes, Iva Davies somehow created that 25th hour in a 24 hour day to work on other things. On May 22nd, Iva & Tonia travelled to Melbourne for the opening of the Legends of Rock Exhibition the following day. Iva appeared on stage and spoke of many things pertaining to the history of his career and the upcoming production of Berlin. Iva said he had fun but didn't linger in Melbourne due to the fact that this was Tonia & Iva's first time away from Brynn.

Iva heard from Rob Hirst concerning the track on which he played oboe for the next Ghostwriters PL. Rob is in New York missing the album and left a message for Iva saying that the track turned out really well. Rob is trying to make sure that the track will be on the album but no release date is available.

In June, Iva took an up-and-coming band, Stoneyard, under his wing. Although he had to put them on hold for a while, he does intend to resume work on their music. He has worked on two songs with the band but is in mid-production with them. Iva believes he may be able to finish these songs in October. He describes the band as "a young, three piece grunge band with some good songs. They would probably be classed as conservative grunge rather than extreme."

Iva did take time off one Friday morning in late August and dedicated that time to his family. Iva, Tonia, and Mr. & Mrs. Davies took Brynn on her first visit to the zoo. It was a lovely time for the whole family.

The rest of the year is shaping up to be a very exciting time for Icehouse fans!

…and that's what's happenin'!