What's Happenin'
Spellbound - Vol IV Iss I
© April 1998


When you pick up a magazine or newspaper and see the name "Iva Davies," you expect the article to speak of his latest project. Music project, that is. But Sue Lowe of the Sydney Morning Herald had different ideas. She featured Iva in an article about ""intelligent homes" and the technology that will smarten them up. Her December '97 article reads:

One would-be smart home owner is the Icehouse singer Iva Davies - although he denies any strong technical leaning (not very convincingly judging by a technology-packed recording studio perched above his garage).

Davies is planning to add a second storey to his Northern Beaches home, but due to a height restriction won't have either a roof cavity or a between-floor cavity to allow cables to be laid in the future.

"Whatever goes in now, will be what goes in for the future," he said.

As part of the renovation, Davies expects to spend about $30,000 replacing the existing dedicated but 'clunky' security, irrigation and intercom systems with a single network, and add computer networking through the house and between house and studio.

"The kids - now four and one-and-a-half - will eventually need their own computers and separate phone lines so that they don't tie up the family line or assistant's phone line, while they're mucking around on the Web or whatever," Davies predicted.

After much painful research and lots of "cowboys plucking figures out of the air," Davies also looked at the Clipsal Minder system.

"What these people are claiming is that this one system will run everything we need and everything can be operated by phone," he said. "Instead of having dedicated intercom units, the phone will ring and wherever you are you can enter a code to open the gate. Instead of having baby monitors around the house, you can just open the phone in one room to transmit and have it monitored on the speaker phone in another room."

But after months of intensive research - he has found architects know very little about available technologies - he is still far from confident, particularly in that if there's a problem you can't manually over-ride the system.

Problems with his older dedicated security system - "which kept randomly going off, waking babies and driving neighbours wild" - made him realise that "if such widely used systems are still so prone to failure and beyond the individual's capacity to repair or bypass, imagine the scenario if your most basic household necessities came unstuck."

On the other hand, Davies is also aware of the risk of not doing it: "I have this horrible feeling that the more this sort of thing gets momentum, it will become a kind of prerequisite for every house built to this level of existence. I don't want to be looking at a situation in four years' time when everybody on this block has it… When my house has become obsolete and I don't have the option of adding it later."

Once again, Iva's mind is three steps ahead into the future when it comes to technology.

Iva also did an interview for the Sydney Morning Herald back in May of 1997. We happily discovered this interview with the help of an Icehouse fan's website. However, when we mentioned it to Iva, we had to swear that the photos accompanying the interview would not find their way onto the pages of Spellbound! Photos of an infant Ivor lying on a blanket, or of a seven year old boy, in short pants, playing the bagpipes… he said he regrets giving the photos over to be printed… so the promise will be upheld and we will not print the photos that can be found on Lisamaree's website [which is no longer available].

[Editor walks away humming "Mercy on the boy…you know it ain't easy…"]


The "Hey Little Girl '97 Remixes" CD single has done very nicely for itself in all markets. The European clubs and dance stations made it a regular feature in their playlists and it was "single of the week" in a Melbourne music mag. The single was even heard within the vicinity of the United States (gasp!) and found in local shops. Perhaps it will help pave the way for…

Great Southern Land! Well, okay, so this is a re-release that Massive has just made available. Surprisingly, many fans out there wanted this to be made available again despite the various other compilations. Massive does not have any plans at this moment to re-release the Great Southern Land video compilation. The CD has been released for a limited time and most likely will be made unavailable again in June.

We are keeping a phone line open to Massive concerning any further details pertaining to the Best Of… video compilation. We have also learned that there is an idea floating around to create an Icehouse boxed set. We will inform everyone as more details come to light. A boxed set would be an excellent idea, to follow on the heels of…

…the new album! Although Iva is still hard at work on it as we go to press, the very tentative E.T.A. for the first single is August 3rd! That will be followed by the release of single #2 and the album on October 12th!!! Now we will leave it to you all to count the months, weeks, days, minutes…

[Editor leaves her desk whistling "and she waits for the call…and she waits for so long…" ]

Radio and Television

The coming months should see an upswing in this area as Iva and the band hit the ol' publicity trail! We will inform everyone of any appearances on television or radio as soon as the information becomes available to us.

[Editor listens to song running through her mind, "so through the long night, we will watch the waves." ]


The Icehouse has a new inmate… er… guest! Big Bite Management is pleased to announce a new member of the team! Veronica Ozolins will be the person in charge of promotion and marketing for Iva Davies. Veronica's past experience includes working for two Australian record companies, The Massive Recording Company and Shock Records. Welcome inside, Veronica! Oh, and bring a heater…

[Editor stares off into space, singing under her breath, "she's still dreaming through the summer and now she's hoping through the spring."]

The Boys

Paul Wheeler's job as the drummer for the band Primary has kept him busy these days! Primary, as we go to press, is recording and Paul has been involved with that. The album is being produced by Nick Launay. Their single "Vicious Precious" has been picked up by Sydney radio and has been heard by the likes of Iva Davies ("Sounds pretty good."), and David Chapman (see David's… um… opinion in his news). The release date for this single is slated to be March 23. Primary also is planning to hit the road as the opening act for the British band Arcana. This mini-tour should take place the last week in March and hit the cities of Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Brisbane, and Sydney. Paul attended a formal ball held in honor of the Turramurra music shop. Many of the members of Icehouse met at this North Shore shop! Oh, to have had a picture of these guys in tuxes!! Another event Paul attended was the Radiohead show in Sydney. Paul also managed to find the time to play a few shows with Spy Vs. Spy. The Wheels are rolling!

Stephen Morgan is settling into the family life quite nicely! He told us his son is now eight months old and a very happy, healthy baby! Steve is still managing a recording studio in the Melbourne area and playing the occasional gig, such as the "Hey Hey" spot with Lee Kernaghan and Paul Gildea. He also made a point to note that this year's Aussie Rules season is about to begin so that the Morgan household is ringing with the cry of "Go Bombers!"

Paul Gildea has been working on various musical projects, including performing a steady Thursday night gig! Spellbound's own "Detective Icehouse," Darren McKinty, caught up with Paul and had this to report:

Even though there was mention in a previous edition of Spellbound that Paul Gildea was meant to be performing gigs around Melbourne, nevertheless I was still taken aback somewhat when I saw him walking into a bar not far from where I work. Of course, I wasn't too sure at first that it was Paul until I plucked up enough curiosity to step in and ask him.

He and his partner, Peter, were setting up their equipment for their relaxed, Thursday afternoon acoustic gig, and although I could only stay for the first couple of songs what I saw of it made me wish that I hadn't made prior arrangements.

He's a really likeable, easy-going sort of chap as well as a great guitarist, and I hope that they're still playing that gig when I get some time free to stay for the whole show.

The dynamic duo play their acoustic gig Thursday evenings at The Sheep's Back, corner of King and Little Collins Streets. Starting time is at around 5:30 p.m.

Paul also told us that he and Steve Morgan performed on "Hey Hey It's Saturday" with Country artist Lee Kernaghan. They played the song "Hat Town," although Paul says they weren't required to wear hats to play! He has also worked on some television projects with Lee's sister, Tania.

The best news Paul related to us is great for the Americans to hear!! The Little River Band are set to tour the US and Paul will be part of the band!!! The tour is starting in May in the city of Orlando, Florida. We will send out more details as soon as Paul can get them to us. We encourage all you Yanks to catch this fantastic guitarist live!

We asked for David Chapman's news and here is what he emailed to us:

Nothing much to tell you.
All is fine and dandy.
Thank you for your email.
(email is so handy)
I've listened to Paul's new band
He said they're like the Beatles
but I think that their funky sound
is more like Flock of Seagulls…
not really.

Max Lambert is involved with a new stage show called "Boy From Oz." The show is based on the life of singer/composer Peter Allen. The music is all songs written by Peter and are arranged by Max! The show features Chrissie Amphlett playing the part of Judy Garland! If we receive furthers details on this show, we'll pass them along.

The previous boys that we can provide a bit of news about in this issue are Guy Pratt and Simon Lloyd. Guy spent his Christmas vacation with wife Gala in the Himalayas! They went trekking through the mountains… perhaps looking for Father Christmas… Guy also had a nasty mishap in his studio recently where someone spilled a glass of red wine down his mixing desk! Guy will be seeing Iva soon and will perhaps be having some form of input on the new album. Mr. Pratt recently went cybersurfing in search of one Mr. Simon Lloyd. He sent out an email to Simon with the message, "Where are you?" The reply came back, "I'm here. Where are are you?" We'll pause a moment to ponder this enigmatic message…

The previous, current, and future boy, Iva Davies is in a cold and chilly place… no, not a record executive's office… London! Merry Olde England is the destination for the Great Southern Man! He and his disc of songs are making the trek to London to get input from others who reside in the foggy city. Iva said he is taking everything over in digital format and "it will be a complete miracle if anything talks to anything else over there." Iva does expect to see Guy Pratt while he is in London. He isn't quite sure who will be producing the new album at this point in time. As for who will be in the "band" he says he doesn't really know. It all depends on what the music demands and stated that it had always been like that. When asked about the songs he had written so far, he said he's "happy with some of it. I would just like four times the amount and twice as good." He has also caused a few groans (including some from us with this next statement… we can hear you all doing the same thing as you read this…) while working on the new songs. He said, "Problem is I've thrown out about 30 things. Everybody keeps going, 'Oh, bring the 30 things over.' I'm going, 'Nope. They're thrown out. I don't like them. We won't be listening to those.'" We also asked if he would be seeking a record deal or would be content with exporting under the DIVA name. He explained that they could do this in many different ways, from getting a record deal in the traditional sense to shipping Icehouse CDs out to warehouses where they wait for orders to come in. The pros and cons of these various formulas will have to be weighed by Iva and his management team to come up with the best one that will bring them into a "new chapter" in the band's history.

There were a few questions that we put to Iva that we feel would be best printed in his own words.

What level of success are you trying to reach now?

Ultimately it always comes down to the same thing with me. It's when I'm happy, I'm happy, and when I'm not, I'm not. It seems to be quite selfish but unfortunately I can't function any other way. I'm just reading Paul McCartney's autobiography Many Years From Now. That's interesting because it's just the whole slant on how pedestrian the process is, sitting down and allocating a certain number of hours a day with John Lennon and just kinda banging stuff out, which is interesting and they wrote hundreds of songs. So there's a case to be argued for if you just sort of sit down and knock anything out it will work really well. But there's enough sort of give aways that leave me to believe it's not quite as simple as that. The difference is there's a point that I read in it where he sort of said even before he was thirty and he wrote "Eleanor Rigby" that he imagined that by the time he reached the 'old age' of thirty that he would be in tweed with leather patches on the arm. He thought this was going to be a very good thing that he would be writing more serious art then, that he wouldn't be writing pop songs anymore. Ultimately he's never gotten away from it! I think, probably, the reality of it is that he's tried to make them better than just pop songs. What happens with me is that I'd just be a shockin' corporate writer. I don't work like that. I think I said to you once before if Tina Turner rang me and said, "Hey, I really need a song. Could you write one for me?" I'd probably go, "Well, I'd love to. But, I can only write them for me and I can only write them the way that I want to write them." I'd be a disaster if I had work for a salary doing that! (laughs)

Do you want the "Man Of Colours" level back or do you prefer something simpler?

It's difficult to answer. If you're talking about that kind of lifestyle there's obviously a lot of resistance in me to any of that. However, I think any songwriter would be lying if they said "if I wrote 'Yesterday' and it was the biggest played song of all time, I'd be really unhappy with that." (laughs) Those are the realities and somewhere in between there I'll find my level.

In what you currently have, do you think there's a "Yesterday" in there?

Put it this way, I'm reasonably convinced… it will be interesting to see historically what happens… I've started putting things on record. I actually sent an email so that I would be able to come back in a year's time and say (puts on funny voice), "You see, I told you so." One song that I wrote… the interesting thing about it… I'll have to go and retrieve the email to see what I actually said… but I'm sure I actually mentioned the song "Man Of Colours" and I may have mentioned "Great Southern Land." The interesting thing about it is that it was received with a resounding silence. The best that could be mustered initially was, "It wasn't quite what we expected after the rap up that you gave it." Subsequent to that, all the references have been "another 'Man Of Colours,' another 'Great Southern Land.' " So it will be interesting. I don't think it's probably as immediately accessible in terms of its pop sensibility as "Man Of Colours" or "Great Southern Land." In terms of substance I'm quite confident that it's a pillar on the album. If it wasn't for things like that I think probably by this time I'd be starting to despair a bit. At least I've sort of satisfied myself that there's life in the old dog yet.

This has been a long, hard haul for you, hasn't it?

Oh, they've all been fraught with all their own peculiar problems.

This one seems particularly tough, though.

I think it's probably just indicative of the fact that I'm being more picky with experience. I think that I've got more levels to please. I feel as if I have more levels to please. I'd like to be experimenting with the new things that other people are experimenting with. There's a certain base market and certain things that I know I do well that I have to reference as well, which might not necessarily be compatible with some of that. Then there's always the consideration with what I may or may not be allowed to get away with, which I certainly got bitten with on Big Wheel. It's annoying. It's constantly annoying to me because I still believe that the actual songs on Big Wheel are still some substantial songs. What I do believe though is that it lost something in the translation. I would like the opportunity - but you never get it - to go back and remix that whole album and perhaps replace some things on it in terms of the delivery of those songs. I generally see them in terms of their real content. In other words in terms of their lyrics, their vocal lines, and their harmonic structures. I sort of reduce everything to sheet music in my own mind because ultimately they're the important bits. Whether you have that natty guitar sound or that particular reverb on the drums is really kinda incidental, in a way. Unfortunately, other people don't quite perceive it in the same way. So the actual sound of that album really annoys a lot of people for good reason. Probably it's not great. But it doesn't make me believe any less in the songs. For that reason I've actually gone back and done a complete re-record of "Invisible People." I did that six months ago, which has turned around a whole bunch of people who really didn't know the album very well but have been exposed to this version of it. They have taken the song with a completely different response.

Are you going to let us hear that?

You probably will. I reckon it will probably get released at some point even if it only turns up like a B-side. It just reassures me that I'm right. A good song is a good song. If you happen to do it a bad way, well, that's unfortunate but it still doesn't mean it's a bad song.

The Iceman speaketh… and quite well! Iva went on to say that he also heard bits and pieces of "The System" and "Judas" played as background music for a ten minute news spot on Triple J in Sydney! An Icehouse fan lurks in the Triple J studios… come out, come out wherever you are…

Iva also attended the Radiohead concert in Sydney. He enjoyed the show and was impressed that they didn't "do the full Bon Jovi." The staging and lighting were minimal and Iva felt that made the concert goer focus on listening to the music. He was also one of the persons attending the Turramurra shindig! He was there with Tonia, Paul Wheeler, David Chapman, and Glenn Krawczyk! Tim Farris of INXS was also there and gave Iva a big hug as they passed by each other! Looking back on how all of these fellows met at this music shop led Iva to reminisce about his early days in rock. He mentioned being in a band called Tamasha for a short time. He said the guitarist of the band, Damien, was brilliant. Michael Hoste was also part of this band and went with Iva when he departed the band. The band was a "prog-rock" band filled with skillful musicians. Iva said Damien was then and still is a guitar teacher. There were no official releases for this band.

Iva has also lent his oboe playing talents to David Chapman and Steve Bull. Steve might be gearing up to put out his own solo album. Another Icehouse related project that finally found its way into Iva's hands was the Real Wild Child CD-ROM. It was officially released before Christmas in a limited quantity.

Brynn Davies has gone into Kindergarten! She goes three days a week, with a full load of lessons from piano to French! She can count to seven and sing a song for her parents in French! Although there were a few hiccups for Brynn in her first days, she has since won a Merit award for settling in so nicely! Evan, having had his first days as "King Of The House," is doing well. Iva says Evan seems to be developing an engineering mind. Like most normal little boys, he likes to take things apart. However, he then hunkers down to puzzle out how to put them back together again!

So we now have to hunker down ourselves to wait it out until August rolls around and the new Icehouse single is (perhaps…) released!

…and that's what's happenin'!