What's Happenin'
Spellbound - Vol II Iss IV
© February 1996


The press were fairly nice to Iva and the band concerning Berlin, with a few exceptions. There's one (or two) in every crowd… We will concentrate on those who had something legitimate to say pertaining to Berlin and, most importantly, Icehouse.

We collected various press clippings and will reprint what we felt were some of the best comments. Many of the articles recorded for all to read Graeme Murphy's praise of Iva's talents.
The Sun Herald - 22 October 1995: "Iva is very generous in terms of his writing," says Murphy, "because he gives you a sound canvas on which you can put your visual images."
Xtra! - 17 November 1995: "I thought the arrangements were so good, so unusual," Murphy says. "Bits of Debussy mixed in with David Bowie's 'Loving The Alien,' a bit of Gregorian chant mixed in with 'All Tomorrow's Parties.' That was what was appealing to me initially."
Drum Media - 21 November 1995: "There was something extraordinary about the mix of instruments," Murphy explains. "They still had a band feeling, but the way he'd mixed other musical idioms into the pieces, to me, was fascinating. Iva's voice also is, for me, incredibly evocative; there's something quite ethereal about Iva's voice, and that's why I've sort of externalised him from the work in a way - he's dressed in a very different feel and look to the other characters in the piece; the dancers don't really acknowledge him, but they are aware of him. There's a bit of a godlike feel about it, a bit of an external force feel about him in the work."
Who Weekly - 5 December 1995: "Davies," says Murphy, "knows exactly what he wants… I like to see him at work. I'm fascinated by his processes. The way he thinks about music is really very original."

Indeed, Mr. Murphy, indeed. And what did the "critics" say about Berlin and the music?
TV Week - 18 November 1995: "Not simple covers, most of the songs on this concept album have been cleverly reconstructed to be included as part of the soundtrack to the new Sydney Dance Company modern ballet called Berlin."
Drum Media - 21 November 1995: "An album of other writers' songs may seem an unlikely departure for a respected songwriter, but Iva initially conceived of doing it as an interim project to help him regroup after Icehouse's lengthy Big Wheel tour."
The Australian - 20 November 1995: "On the face of it, you wouldn't think that songs such as 'Loving The Alien,' 'Heaven,' or Sammy Cahn's 'All The Way' would have anything to do with the world of postwar Berlin; yet by some almost miraculous alchemy it all pulls together and takes this stage metaphor out of the specific past and into the realm of the observed present and projected future.
"To hear Allegri's 'Miserere' wrapping itself around The Velvet Underground's 'All Tomorrow's Parties' may seem disconcerting and artily arch, but to see the company performing it gyrating on the edge of the volcano that leads directly to their personal Gotterdammerung is to see genuine theatrical magic at work."
Who Weekly - 4 December 1995: "Ten years after Murphy and Davies worked together on Sydney Dance's successful Boxes, they've again created a spellbinder with Berlin, which opened on November 17 in Sydney to loud applause and which will tour in the new year."

We hope to pass on more quotes from the press but with the flavor of Kiwi in the next issue.


The next single to come from The Berlin Tapes also comes with a dose of frustration for the fans. What many fans have named the best song for both the album and the stage production, "Complicated Game" will become just that (at this stage) for fans to add to their collections. This single has no current plans to go to record shops and will only visit radio. If its itinerary should change and it should relent from the path it is on, we will let everyone ah, ah, ah, ah, know… Believing the strangest things, "Loving The Alien" will also be part of this tour de force. So ring those radio stations and ask them to play a "Complicated Game" for you!

Another release for Icehouse fans to get a hold of will be the extensive Icehouse - The Singles, A Sides, and Selected B Sides. This will be a three CD collection with the track listing as follows:

Disc #1
Can't Help Myself
We Can Get Together
Love In Motion
Send Somebody
Paradise Lost
All The Way
Great Southern Land
Hey Little Girl
Street Café
Over The Line
Taking The Town
Don't Believe Anymore
Dusty Pages
Stay Close Tonight

Disc #2
No Promises
Baby, You're So Strange
Mr. Big
Cross The Border
Too Late Now
Into The Wild
Electric Blue
My Obsession
Man Of Colours
Nothing Too Serious
Crazy (Midnight Mix)
Touch The Fire
Jimmy Dean

Disc #3
Big Fun
Miss Divine
Anything Is Possible
Where The River Meets The Sea
Knockin' 'em Down
Love In Motion (with Christina Amphlett)
Big Wheel
Invisible People
Pas De Trois

The release date for this set is still unknown and, as with Full Circle, will be released in Germany only. We were a bit disappointed (Iva…) that the more rare B-sides such as "Perfect Crime," "Just A Word," and "Over My Head" were not included. We are throwing it out to the subscribers to think of a nickname for this rather loooong album title…

It should be noted that The Berlin Tapes was released in New Zealand through Roadshow Music. We have been told that "Heaven" will be released to radio stations in New Zealand but not to retailers.

Live Performances

Berlin closed the Sydney season on 23 December 1995 to a packed house! All around, everyone feels it was a success with audiences going away with more on their minds than a pleasant experience. The band that performed the music for Berlin during the Sydney run was: Iva Davies, Max Lambert (piano), Adrian Wallis (cello), Rachel Valentine (cello at selected performances), David Chapman (guitar), Steve Bull (bass guitar), and Paul Wheeler (drums). The following songs were taken from The Berlin Tapes to be performed live: "All The Way," "Heaven," "Sister Europe," "Really Good Time," "Loving The Alien," "Complicated Game," and "All Tomorrow's Parties."

Berlin then travelled over to Auckland, New Zealand to play at the Aotea Centre from the 24th thru the 27th of January. We have heard that ticket sales went through the roof and, again, the boys entertained a packed house every night! This time around, the band was Iva Davies, Max Lambert, Adrian Wallis, and Steve Morgan.

Next on the Berlin agenda is Canberra. The show is slated to be performed at the Canberra Theatre from the 21st thru the 24th of February.
After that A.C.T., Berlin will travel to Melbourne for a stint at the Comedy Theatre. The dates for this run are the 29th of February thru the 9th of March. Other sites, such as Adelaide and Brisbane, have been mentioned in negotiations, as well as an appearance at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. No dates have been confirmed at this time.

Radio and Television

There is not much to report here as of yet. Various radio stations have taken it upon themselves to play not only "Heaven" but "All The Way" and "All Tomorrow's Parties."
Again, we are awaiting news from New Zealand on the media appearances Iva and the band may have made there. We are sure that things will pick up again in Australia on the media front for Icehouse once Berlin begins its jaunt around to various cities.

The Boys

Simon Lloyd has gone to England! He is working in the field of computers - perhaps his true calling! - and his plans to return to Australia are unknown. If Simon should work with Iva and Icehouse in the future, we will let everyone know.

Paul Wheeler was the percussionist for the Sydney run of Berlin. He enjoyed the show and had a great time doing something a bit different. Indelibly printed on Paul's memory is opening night when Paul had a very unique experience! This is what he told us:

"We all had to take a bow. The Sydney Dance Company come out and they all stand in a line and take a bow. Then we come out and stand in front of them and take a bow. Then Graeme Murphy, Iva, and Max Lambert stood forward and took one. Then they stood back and we all took one together. Then the next thing the lights went out and then back on. There I was standing on the stage. The rest of the band had walked off and I'm there with the Sydney Dance Company behind me. So I didn't know what to do. I'm just looking around… so I just took a bow. Then I just ran off. So that was a good opening night!"

Paul is learning how to "tickle the ivories!"

He is now on tour with the Shock Poets, promoting both their new single "Should Have Never Bothered You," and album Bait. Due to his commitment to this tour, Paul was unable to go to New Zealand. If he should rejoin the Berlin Band, we shall gladly inform everyone.

Stephen Morgan has been playing about town with his band, White Shooga. He's also been working with a fellow by the name of Pete Cupples. Teaching bass is on his schedule, as well as working in the studio with some up-and-coming bands.

Most recently, Steve was playing bass in the Berlin show in New Zealand. We are waiting to hear who will be in the band for the Canberra/Melbourne shows.

Steve and his wife Caroline have recently moved to a larger home and were planning on a week's holiday to Queensland.

Paul Gildea has been very busy! Pencilled in Paul's schedule has been performing and recording demos with Daryl Braithwaite. Paul had never worked with Daryl before but came close to it once. A month before Paul's son, Oliver, was born, Daryl asked Paul to join his band for a twelve week tour. Paul had to turn down the offer due to the imminent arrival of Oliver.

Fans of Mr. Gildea may have also seen him on the telly with Rick Price. He is also one half of an acoustic duo with a friend. Melbourne area fans should keep their eyes and ears peeled for Paul as he says he's been playing four to six nights a week. Paul may join the Berlin Band should the show hit Melbourne. We hope to see this eventuate so that fans can enjoy Paul's wonderful talent on the guitar once again!

David Chapman was the guitarist for the Sydney run of Berlin. He enjoyed it, particularly the "vibe" the Opera House exudes. One of his fondest memories of Berlin was Paul Wheeler's opening night solo bow with the Dance Company! David explained that when the lights go off, it is "pitch black" on stage. To leave the stage, the guys would group together and walk off. Somehow Paul got left behind and David reckons he had never laughed so hard seeing Paul up there alone with the Sydney Dance Company, taking a bow to thunderous applause!

Other than Berlin, David is involved with building onto his studio, Zig Zag. David also created three different themes for the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Company) News. Two of the themes have Adrian Wallis on cello and another (which David termed "the nicest but the least played") has an oboe portion played by Iva. Paul Wheeler plays drums and filing cabinet on the ABC theme most often played. David says Paul is a "fantastic filing cabinet player!"

David was full of praise for the job Louise Stovin-Bradford has done working for Iva and Icehouse. He said her work was "fantastic" and we would have to agree!

Iva Davies has recently been likened to an angel, a godlike presence, an ethereal being, and other such heavenly adjectives. Berlin has entertained the audience, caused them to ponder the meaning of the ballet, and has been a spectacular showcase for Iva's talents. It has also served as a reminder to the Australian music industry and even to some of Icehouse's fans that there is a very good reason why Iva's career spans over two decades and why Icehouse have the biggest selling album by a group in Australia.

Did Iva enjoy Berlin? He did and was pleased by the fact that during the Sydney run the crowds grew larger, rather than smaller! One particular night the crowd seemed to be "stacked with everyone's friends" and at the curtain call everyone on stage was showered with flowers.

Iva also told us about one night when there was a mishap with two of the dancers but, as professionals must do, the show went on. "Lea Francis has a sort of fight, a pas de deux, with Carl Plaisted and it actually is sort of a rape scene while I'm singing 'Really Good Time.' It was a kind of sarcastic commentary on it. There's lots of belting and mock kicking and punching. On one particular night their timing was a bit out for one reason or another and Carl actually connected with a kick. We thought he'd broken Lea's nose. Anyway, there's blood everywhere and they continued on. I couldn't work out why nobody was watching me anymore! Nobody was watching me while I was singing and I was going, 'What's going on here?' It was because Lea was carrying on with blood everywhere and it transpired later that she connected later, by accident, in the same piece with her fist and broke one of Carl's teeth! It was a nasty little three and a half minutes."

Iva cited "Complicated Game" as a favorite part of the evening for him. It should be noted that Iva performed some of these shows while ill. He was visited with an attack of vertigo that he could not shake, despite tests, doctors, and various suggestions. The lighting, which can get very hot for those on stage, was adjusted to help ease his situation but the dizziness persisted. The Sydney run ended with no reason discovered as to why Iva was suffering from this odd ailment. More "bizarre tests" (as he termed them) are due for him in February. We are waiting to see how he went in New Zealand.

Iva also felt the album was received well and was quietly proud of it. Glenn A. Baker, a leading Australian music historian, named The Berlin Tapes as "the best album of 1995."

As for the complete Berlin soundtrack being put together and released, Iva says he may still speak with Laurie Dunn about it. However, he isn't completely convinced that there is a market for such a release. There are still no plans for a video release.

So what is next for Iva? He told us he may write some theatre music with Max Lambert. Max has been asked to write music for a new play and Iva may be involved in that.

Mr. Multi-Talented is also working on wrapping up the production of the album for the band formerly known as Stoneyard. They have changed their name to something (Cradle Space?) Iva isn't quite convinced by and he said he may "lobby" to have them change it again! (Hey! We hear the name "Prince" is available!) He may also do some guitar work and backing vocals for this album.

There is no news yet on a release date for Simon Leadley's album (featuring tracks by Iva and David Chapman). We'll keep trying to get more information about this CD.

A new Icehouse studio album… is it in the works? No… Iva told us he's not too "keen" to undertake such a huge project at the moment and would rather work with Max on the theatre music. Creating The Berlin Tapes has shown Iva that he "enjoys making beautiful music." He said the next album won't be "another Big Wheel" (vaguely disdainful tone of voice here) but rather something more with the sound and flavor of The Berlin Tapes.

Christmas for Iva and his family was spent at home. He was asked if he got anything good for Christmas and his response was that he got a few "strange things." A barbeque cover was one of his examples but we thought that wasn't so strange as we'd heard Mr. Davies is actually an excellent grillist. He debunked this rumor, saying he is "a total non-cook and proud of it." Brynn received her first Barbie and was thrilled by it! Iva says, "There's something about those things. They must put chemicals or something in them." The trip to Fiji did not happen.

So the fans in Australia will have to pray Berlin comes to their town, Americans will have to pray Berlin comes to the Olympics, and the Europeans will have to pray that the Singles collection heightens European interest in Icehouse! These prayers are certain to break the sky in two…

…and that's what's happenin'!