I have been collaborating with George Vjestica. George is the guitarist in the band Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. He also writes and records his own songs and music as Bandante. We are both big fans of the scene around the ‘happenings’ in London during the 1960’s at various underground clubs like UFO and The Speakeasy. When George was first thinking of doing some live Bandante shows, we talked about the raw creative flow and tremendous spirit the UFO nights must have had going on, and wanted to do something inspired by that. Since then, we’ve been putting together shows now and then with Bandante headlining the bill, with a moveable feast of players, whilst I create spontaneous sound and light installations with super 8 ‘collage’, film loops and liquid light using a crazy array of film projectors, overhead and slide projectors. Various spoken word performers and dj’s have joined us, and together we aim to give our audience the feeling of being in some far-out place.
In 2018, Bandante released its first 7” vinyl single - Bang Bang b/w My Friend, entering the Official Vinyl Charts at #23, Rough Trade’s ‘vinyl of the year’ and The Vinyl Factories’ ‘vinyl of the month’. I made the cover artwork and videos for both songs. During 2020, and the live music venue shutdown, I made a third video, thousands of images gathered off the net and sequenced together for George’s latest recording So....this is now - put together towards the end of the first London lockdown and released during the summer as a video single on youtube.
When I am out with Bandante, I am usually so up to my neck with film reels and bottles of coloured dye that I rarely manage to take any pictures of our nights, but the few I have are included in the gallery above, along with the 3 videos and some of our publicity posters.
I developd a very close friendship with the musician and songwriter Kevin Ayers, after meeting him in France by chance one day towards the end of an artist in residency - a stranger at a table reading a paperback in a mountain village square. He had come to the opening for a public work I had made and installed there. Kevin Ayers had been a founding member of the seminal band, Soft Machine. After completing their first album and two long tours with The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Ayers left his band, going on to write and record an extraordinary collection of highly acclaimed and influential albums for EMI and Island Records, into the 1970's. Always the most reluctant of stars, and an utter exasperation to anyone trying to manage or market, Ayers would drift further and further away from expectation and eventually disappear.
In early 2005, at Kevin's request, I managed, encouraged and supported the artist back into the studio where I worked closely alongside this unique, mercurial and fragile talent in every aspect of the recording process. With the help of Emmy Award-winning engineer and producer Peter Henderson, and the participation of over 30 musicians, a ten track album was completed over a two year period. It was released worldwide to universal critical acclaim as The Unfairground in the autumn of 2007.
Whilst In New York City for six weeks of rehearsal sessions, I visited Coney Island and took a psychogeographic walk around Luna Park - later adapting the resulting image to create the cover artwork for both the gatefold vinyl and cd versions of the album release.
Sessions for The Unfairground took place in Tuscon Az, Brooklyn NY, London, Glasgow and Montolieu, France. I wandered these neighbourhoods with a cine camera during studio breaks. I used this footage to make a short film for the 7" single release of baby come home.