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George Vjestica is the guitarist with Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. George also writes and records his own music and songs. When we first met he was putting together a live band - Bandante. We are both big fans of the 'happenings' scene in 1960's London at various underground clubs like UFO and The Speakeasy, so when George was first thinking of doing some live shows, we talked about doing something together inspired by that.
When I was out with Bandante, I was usually so up to my neck with film reels and bottles of coloured dye that I rarely managed to take any pictures of our nights, but the few I have are included in the gallery above, along with the 3 videos and artwork I made for Bandante's 7" record releases and some publicity posters.
I met Kevin Ayers in France by chance one day towards the end of an artist in residency - a stranger reading a paperback at a cafe/bar table in a mountain village square. I saw him again the next day when he showed up to the opening for a public work I had made and installed tin that same village. 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. He went 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 inevitably drifted further and further away from expectation and would eventually disappear.
In early 2005, at Kevin's request, I managed, encouraged and supported the artist back into the studio. 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, the generous support of Roxy Music guitarist Phil Manzanera, and the participation of over 30 other 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.
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