Just Like Starting Over – The Thwarted Pop Career Of Laissez-Fayre

As many of my friends on Facebook know, one of my major goals and dreams in life is to start up the band Laissez-Fayre.

I have been trying to get it together since the late 1990s.  The idea for it originally came when I was reading the book Who’s Who Of Australian Rock, and there was an entry for a Brisbane band called Chicks Incorporated.  This band was virtually an all-girl band doing a blend of 70’s pop, dance, funk and rock.  They were led by drummer and producer Miriam Curtis (d. 2012), and fronted by Safanya.  The band was around between 1977 – 1982 and signed with RCA Records, making them one of the few Brisbane bands to be signed with a major label (the others were The Saints on EMI, Silver Studs on Philips, and Railroad Gin on Polydor).  Originally, they tried to be an all-girl band but had difficulty with finding competent players.  Plus their live stage shows were often overshadowed by a couple of wild and sexy backing dancers.

I thought, “Hmmmm, Brisbane could definitely do with another band like this again, but this time putting a twist on it: make it a concept band to endorse the naturist lifestyle”.

In 1998, I decided to try and get the band together fronted by four female singers who also had done nude modelling.  They were my then-girlfriend Julie Hepburn (whom I was doing the band Blackened with), Anna Petrie, Djuana Moore and Toni Monaghan.  After seeing Take That in concert in 1995, I also thought that for this band to work out they should also be able to do sets where they play instruments.  Julie had been learning a bit of guitar, Djuana played drums, and Anna could play a bit of keyboards.  Sadly, it didn’t eventuate due to some problems that I was having at the time with my residency after a dispute with a neighbour.  Anna ended up joining another band as a singer, and Djuana concentrated more on doing dancing and I didn’t hear much from Toni after doing a photo shoot with her for Sun & Health magazine about vegetarianism and naturism.

Julie and I decided to focus on Blackened with other musicians Tammy Berry (bass), Lisa Falovic (drums), and Katie Middleton (keyboards and vocals) and we got a couple of gigs and an interview on 4ZZZ’s demo show with Gordon Clarke, before splitting up due to lack of interest in us from the music business.

The following year, Julie and myself broke up after I had hit a low when my car was stolen and I found it difficult to get work.  In January 2001, after getting bored of vegetating I decided to relaunch my idea with some new members: Eliza Abbate (ne Pears), Carol O’Brien (aka Kitty Stevenson), Jane, Trish Bathersby, Bonnie Moir and Tema Morris.

We rehearsed for a number of months at Red Zeds Studios and a private house in Springwood, but unfortunately Bonnie’s mental health problems together with Kitty living on the edge and Trish deciding to move to the Gold Coast put it on the back burner.

I turned my attention towards managing The Busymen, who were a lot more active on the local music scene, and decided to try again in 2006 with advertising in the local music press and The Courier Mail.  This time, I got Yvette Jones (vocals), Kym Kruse (organ and keyboards), and Lindy Rakatau (drums).  With this lineup, we ended up recording some demos on Kym’s desktop computer to put up on Myspace.  The tracks were: “Don’t Say Sorry”, “R-E-S-P-O-N-S-I-B-I-L-I-T-Y”, “Pain Of Fools”, “Meat To Please You” and “Paper Wedding Dress”.  We then added bass player Megan Longley to the lineup, but after creative differences with Kruse came up the band disintegrated once again.  Later that year, I re-established contact with Bonnie and also befriended a vocalist and songwriter Caroline Smith and started working on the songs with them.

In 2009, I tried again with recruiting a new lineup and got Nova Eva Ciera (vocals) and Amanda Hurdman (vocals on keyboards) and recorded a jam session which Boston Bob from The Busymen filmed, as well as doing a performance at nudist venue Balkaz in Caboolture for the Free Beaches Australia’s AGM.  Nova and Amanda and myself had a great rapport with each other, but in January 2010 Amanda moved down to Melbourne to pursue a career in acting and modelling and ended up being cast in a few feature films and an indie TV show “It’s Not You – It’s Bree”.  Nova decided to hang up her musical career for personal reasons and once again I had to put things on hold.

Not to be deterred, I worked on a new lineup in 2011 with Alyssa Maughan (vocals and djembe) and Penny Pardon (vocals).  We got to play at a few open mics at Grill’d Bulimba before Penny ended up moving to Sydney for work commitments.

In late 2012, I built a new lineup consisting of Shelley Morris (drums), Kate McMillan (viola), and Cassie Trent (vocals).  Shelley and myself played at Northey Street City Farm in Windsor in October that year, the same day that I also befriended Violent Soho when I took part in their video for “Neighbour, Neighbour” which they filmed at a house in Zillmere and I did a scene where I jumped in the pool and did a striptease and chucked my undies at the cameraman.  It didn’t make the final cut, but I was invited back for their following video “In The Aisle” where I recreated the World Naked Bike Ride in July 2013.

This new lineup for Laissez-Fayre recorded a demo in the dining room at my place in Bethania, which I was renting with a nudist friend Kevin Gates.  We did the songs “Born This Way (Nude)”, “Botoxic”, “Stop Segregation”, “Unisexual”, “I’m Free”, “The X Factor”, and “Nekkid” which was produced by myself and engineered by Shelley.  No photos were taken of this session, but I put up some of the tracks on Myspace, YouTube and SoundCloud.  “Nekkid” ended up getting over 114,000 hits on my main YouTube channel with no radio airplay, or publishing company or record company distribution.  It even overtook The Veronicas song “Cross My Heart” in the popularity stakes for a while, until some dibber dobber falsely reported the video as being ‘pornographic’ and it got deleted.  I tried to appeal it with YouTube, but they refused to reinstate it even after it was age-restricted.

Between 2013 – early 2020, I’d pretty much decided to give up the idea of ever succeeding in a major way with this band.  I had been getting a lot of negative criticism from some people in the local music scene, and even got threatened with stalking, being bashed up and one guy sending me dick pics to my Facebook Messenger.

However, I do have a resolve of iron and it reminds me of Robert The Bruce going into retreat during a battle when he hid in a cave and saw a spider weaving a web in stormy weather.  The rain kept washing the web out and the spider still kept weaving it.  This inspired him a lot to decide never to give up no matter how stormy the weather is.  As long as you have the life force in you, there’s hope.  Don’t give up on your dreams and aspirations just because other people say ‘no’, or mock and revile you for doing so.

Sadly, Australia has got a very nasty cancerous attitude towards people who want to be successful (except in sports) known as the Tall Poppy Syndrome.  If you want to achieve something grandiose, unusual, or special then they will mark you down for burning.  I’ve been burned several times because of my desire.  I’ve been called a ‘rapist’, a ‘paedophile’ and a ‘drug addict’ by online cowards who hardly know me in person because I want to create a future where people are comfortable in their own skin and respecting the animal kingdom and the natural environment.

Frankly, I don’t care how long it’s going to take me as long as I get there.  As Bon Jovi once wrote “I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead”.

You can check out Laissez-Fayre’s links at:

https://www.youtube.com/user/laissezfayre

https://myspace.com/laissezfayre

https://www.facebook.com/groups/laissezfayre

https://www.facebook.com/laissezfayre

https://vimeo.com/laissezfayre

https://groups.yahoo.com/group/laissezfayre

https://groups.google.com/group/laissez-fayre

https://www.bandmix.com.au/laissezfayre

 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/laissezfayrehttps://www.facebook.com/laissezfayrehttps://vimeo.com/laissezfayrehttps://groups.yahoo.com/group/laissezfayrehttps://groups.google.com/group/laissez-fayrehttps://www.bandmix.com.au/laissezfayre

Kick-starting this site again

After languishing for most of the last few years, I thought that now is the time to get this site back on the go again since things are finally coming into place for me where my pursuits are concerned.

In December last year, I made the decision to move from Deagon to Chermside with a friend of mine Karley Staehr, whom I have known since 2013 from Model Mayhem.  Although the first couple of months were a bit rocky for her, she’s now settled in nicely and looking forward to this year.

Musically, I have been working with Aboriginal elder Roderick Tyson on a band with him playing at charity concerts like Closing The Gap and NAIDOC which help the Aboriginal community with health, housing and wellbeing.  We mostly do covers and will eventually be doing some original numbers as well.

I’ve also been taking up singing lessons with a couple who live in Nudgee called Tara Neilsen and Khesrow Rasta.  They recently recorded me doing a cover of the Tears For Fears song “Mad World” in a similar style to how Gary Jules and Michael Andrews did it.  It received 100 views within 4 days of putting it out onto YouTube.  Although it isn’t the type of music that I normally sing, nevertheless it has still put me on the musical map.

D-Wizz 2.0 recorded some tracks for the upcoming albums “Success Is Not A Number” and “Paper Tiger” with renowned Brisbane rock music producers Jeff Lovejoy (The Cruel Sea, Powderfinger, Six Ft Hick, Pretty Violet Stain, Regurgitator, Lavish) and Brian Mann (The Girlies, The Screaming Tribesmen, Mick Medew & The Mesmerizers, Preston).  This act shows D-Wizz’s and my own love for 60’s and 70’s music, particularly glam rock and power pop.

Laissez-Fayre has been rather on and off due to the rather conservative musical political climate of Brisbane.  I had been jamming with a couple of hopeful candidates for the band Tayjsha Tarrant and Sarah Jane Edwards, and done a couple of gigs at Pacific Sun Friends with Sarah before she turned her attention more to the metal scene.

This year, I am working on a new lineup and hoping to re-record the vocals for the songs “Nekkid” and “Botoxic” to put out as singles.  “Nekkid” ended up becoming my most listened to song on YouTube in 2013/14 garnering over 113K views, even outdoing The Veronicas song “Cross My Heart” before it was deleted after somebody falsely flagged the video as ‘pornography’.

The Brisbane Naturists group has had a few good meet-ups, most of them being hosted at a couple’s place in Carina who are part of the Vita Nuda Brisbane group.  The VNB group is mainly targeted towards young adults, although their meetups haven’t been all that well attended for some reason despite having over 625 ‘likes’ on their Facebook page.

Work-wise, I am now working with Meals On Wheels in Geebung on a Tuesday morning, and have been doing so since 2015.  I have no intention of giving it away as I get on well with my co-workers as well as my clients, and it gives me joy to be able to contribute to the community again.  I’m also looking to get back into doing some paid work in the near future.

I’ve also been studying for a diploma in Business at Careers Australia in Bowen Hills, as well as one in leadership and management which I want to apply to my music and naturist interests.  It’s a lot harder than I had originally envisioned, but I’m still determined to finish them.

The main goal that I am working towards is getting the Soundtrack Productions record label up and going again.  This is Brisbane’s premiere indie label, which originally ran between 1965 – 1967 at a disused bakery in Cannon Hill and put out a few records by Bobby Dean & The Worried Minds, Robin Gardini and a community choir.  In mid 2014, I approached my long-time friend Andrew Ainsworth (now a music and sci-fi writer) about reactivating the label.  He agreed to do it along with a Gold Coast music trader called Greg Cuffe.  The next couple of years they spent unearthing a whole load of obscure and never released recordings that some Brisbane bands had made to send to radio stations.  In November 2016, they were released on a compilation album called “Kaptain Kavemen From Brisbane” and launched at the Brisbane Record Fair at The Rumpus Room in West End.

I have since started up a Facebook page for the label at https://www.facebook.com/soundtrackproductionsptyltd as well as a group in which members can make their own posts at https://www.facebook.com/groups/soundtrackproductions

Anyway, that is about all that I can write about at the moment, but I will be getting a host for this site as dariowestern.com shortly so it will be very easy for people to locate this page on the Internet.

People Who Live In Glass Houses Shouldn’t Throw Stones

The nudist world is up in arms at the moment over a video that was posted on YouTube featuring Ellen DeGeneres and Simon Cowell discussing nudist beaches, which Simon unwittingly visited whilst on a recent vacation.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fIDSeKXT7iA

Simon described the experience like “finding yourself on a minefield” and “there was literally no place that I could go without a small or large whatsit in front of me – mainly small”.  He went on to say “What I found most amazing about this nudist beach was how many ugly people there were.  I thought they would all be cute, but seriously!”  Both of them agreed that the people on the beach were those who “shouldn’t be” nude and that many of them were lying down with their legs wide open.

Not trying to get too PC here, but I was offended by these superficial and glib remarks about nudists, especially coming from one of the most powerful and influential men in the entertainment industry at time of writing.

What business is it of his to go judging who is ‘ugly’ or not?  And what business is it of his to go saying that they all lie on the beach with their legs open?  As a beach nudist for the last 22 years, I have seldom seen nudists on Alex Bay or Cobbler’s Beach lying with their legs wide open.  And even if they do, it is NOT a sign to mean that they are sexually available, especially the women.

It is unfortunately a sad fact that there are some very creepy guys who go to nudist beaches not to enjoy the sun and sea but to just stare at unsuspecting women’s pubes.  This makes the women feel uncomfortable and most of them more often than not cut their beach trip short and head off home.  And then so many nudist guys are beside themselves as to why there are not enough women who are keen on going to nude beaches.

With my take on ugliness: beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  Not everybody likes to see skinny waif-like people naked anymore than not everyone likes seeing fat, or plus sized people on the beach regardless of whether naked or not.  Having a natural size 12 – 16 body size with curves or being cuddly is cool.  Being obese or anorexic is not.

If you are a nudist and talking about body pride and it being such a wonderful healthy lifestyle, then treat your body like it is a wonderful and healthy thing instead of eating the wrong foods and over-indulging in alcohol and soft drinks.  Why should you expect people to respect you if you don’t respect your body?  Though I can understand if you are overweight due to medical conditions like having pituarity gland problems or being on medications that can upset the body’s metabolism.

Most nudists and naturists in Europe live very healthy lives and thus keep their bodies well preserved, even the older people.  In the English speaking world, people are often raised on diets of junk food and fatty foods instead of eating sensibly.

What annoyed me the most about the conversation was stereotyping and judging coming from Ellen, who is also part of a human movement that is often mocked and marginalized by society (though not as bad as the nudists anymore).  She should know how it feels to be considered an outcast and a societal joke, so she ought to show a bit more empathy towards the nudists in general.

Remember the saying “People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones”.  The majority of nudists support GBLT rights including gay marriage. So how about the GBLT leaders showing a bit of maturity and sympathy and realizing that nudists too should have social rights.