Live Dead Elk

by Metal Rouge

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'Live Dead Elk' is a recording of two full sets from out 2011 New Zealand tour. Both sets consist of only one song: 'Dead Elk'. We had been playing Dead Elk fairly regularly with Caitlin, but we had parted ways with each other before the NZ tour. Although we did a drumless show in Dunedin we roped in local percussive help for all the rest. In Auckland we played the Wine Cellar, the site of our first practice together and our first live show - our spiritual home really. Although the 'studio' (ha!) version of Dead Elk hadn't been released at the time we sent a recording of it to all the drummers ahead of time so they would be familiar with the piece. In Auckland our drummer was Stefan Neville of Pumice/Sunken/Olympus etc. etc. - a good friend of Metal Rouge's from our inception. He didn't listen to the track we had sent him until the day before the show. He also turned up to the venue with a three-piece drum kit with no toms - the most essential pieces of the kit for playing Caitlin's part. We were worried. Add to that the drunken idiot who had invaded the stage for Nigel Wright's opening set and we thought we had a recipe for a disastrous set. Before we went on we let the stage invader's friends know that if she disrupted us during our set we would forcibly remove her from the stage with a guitar. We should have know better than to worry about Stefan - that guy could play Beethoven's 5th on a rubber band. Having heard the song once and armed with only a three-piece kit he completely nailed it in that utterly straightforward yet totally and sensitive way of playing that Stefan brings to everything he does. A stage invasion was attempted but was foiled by the invaders concerned friends before it happened. Idiocy knows no borders. At the end of the track you can hear Sam Hamilton yelling about how we were better than Wire (the show we were competing with that night - he went to both).

In Wellington we played with Ming and 1/3 Octave Band with James Kirk of Sandoz Lab Technicians guesting with us. It was an honour to play with James as I'd been a fan for years - I used to write to the Sandoz Lab Technicians as a bored teenager in the back of my business studies class. James took a much different approach: rumbling and low to the ground. We told him that the track was slow moving and repetitive, which it was to our minds. He was shocked when we wrapped it up after only 20 minutes, "I was only just getting going he said". When he said that I was reminded that his idea of slow moving and repetitive was probably based on his tenure in Black Boned Angel where he probably had to endure one chord for 35 minutes before he even touched the drum kit. We played a couple of vintage NZ made tube amps from Bill Woods' collection - distortion like warm cream before we'd even begun to push them.

When we delivered the masters to Crooked Tapes they weren't 100% into the album as it wasn't 'cold enough'. Ryo felt that other Metal Rouge that he liked had an iciness to it that he enjoyed, whilst Live Dead Elk had maybe a touch of summer in it. Maybe it's true. Maybe if you listen closely you can hear that we were happy to be home.

Scans of the wonderful cover art by Ryo Kuramoto don't do the cover justice so we've included the screened cover against the backdrop of the Tokyo sky instead...

credits

released June 6, 2012

Stefan Neville: drums (Auckland)
James Kirk: drums (Wellington)

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Metal Rouge Los Angeles, California

Punk, in the spiritual sense of the term.

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