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DAMIAN COWELL'S HARA-KARAOKE AT QUEENSLAND POETRY FESTIVAL - SAT 29 AUGUST 2015 6:30PM (+ SPECIAL APPEARANCE AT QUASIMODO'S DREAM )
LANGUAGE IS A VIRUS
Presented by Queensland Poetry Festival
Fresh from sold-out seasons at the 2015 Melbourne International Comedy & Adelaide Festivals, former TISM frontman Damian Cowell brings his Hara-Karaoke to the Queensland Poetry Festival for an exclusive performance.
Described by one reviewer as a ‘low fi dystopian sci-fi musical’, Hara-Karaoke sees Cowell, armed only with a laptop, weave his literate-lowbrow lyrics around a tragicomic tale that answers the question: “What if TISM had represented Australia at Eurovision?” – and all set to impossibly infectious disco beats. Let a multiple-ARIA-winning legend of Australian music take you on a bent journey into the future.
QPF acknowledges the assistance of the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland, as well as the financial support of Australia Council for the Arts and Brisbane City Council.
ALSO IN A SPECIAL APPEARANCE LATER THAT NIGHT: 10-11pm
In addition to Hara Karaoke D.C. will also be appearing at QPF'S QUASIMODO'S DREAM event.
"This whole world is wild at heart and weird on top."
- David Lynch
QPF's Quasimodo's Dream invites 11 artists to enter the night lens of auteur David Lynch to create poetic responses & cut-ups from the subconscious after one of his films.
Join TISM's Damian Cowell, Tessa Rose & Adam Hadley, Arts Queensland Poet in Residence Kate Durbin, Klare Lanson, QPF Co-director David Stavanger with Richard Grantham, Ivy Alvarez (who has edited several anthologies based on Lynch's work), Angela Meyer, Italy's Elisa Biagini, and poet + MC Pascalle Burton.
Poetry on fire, red ants under every black line.
Judith Wright Centre, Shopfront
Sat 29th August 10 -11pm
Free, general admission.
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UPDATE: WHY DC IS NOT JUDGING EUROVISION 2015
Contrary to the whims of 17,000 odd voters, read why Damian Cowell pushed back the judge's hat for Eurovision this year on his "Unwanted Opinions" page. He's gone into quite some detail, takes you on a yacht ride into logic and ends up back at work. Be warned. Here 'tis.
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INTERVIEW : ABOUT TONIGHT CHANNEL 31 TV
Catch Damian Cowell on "About Tonight" here (which aired Channel 31 at 9:30 tonight, Monday 27th of April) when he underwent some serious psychotherapy in the wake of a career limbo. His successful Hara Karaoke at the Melbourne Comedy Festival run has just finished, the new album Damian Cowell's Disco Machine tour - a roaring success - is done. But how is Damian faring? Who is the real Damian Cowell? The folk at About Tonight on Channel 31 dare to go where no other community television station have gone before.
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LIVE FOOTAGE RELEASED : TONY MARTIN, LIZ STRINGER & (A VIRTUAL) KATHY LETTE JOIN THE DISCO MACHINE AT THE CORNER HOTEL ALBUM LAUNCH
Watch Damian Cowell's Disco Machine debut live versions of:
at The Corner Hotel, Richmond for the Melbourne album launch in February.
Filmed by: Carlo Zeccola and KingBean
Edited by: Jacqueline Donchi
Audio recorded by: Michael "Smasha" Pollard
"The next person who is coming on stage is not a musician and was a bit worried he would look ridiculous. So I said to him, look, under no circumstances will you look ridiculous. Ladies and Gentleman... Tony Martin..."
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REVIEW : DAMIAN COWELL'S HARA-KARAOKE AT MELB COMEDY FEST
DAMIAN COWELL'S HARA-KARAOKE
12 Apr, 2015
Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2015
By Lisa Clark
In early 2015 it was announced that for the first time, for some inexplicable reason, Australia was going to compete in the Eurovision Song Contest. There were lots of ideas for who should represent our great and distant southern land but one name rose out of the throng. “Send TISM” the people cried and despite the fact that TISM hadn’t performed together since 2006, a petition was created and signed, by thousands. Unfortunately it looks like TISM has not been chosen, but in Hara-Karaoke ex TISM (This is Serious Mum) singer Damian Cowell imagines; what would happen if they were?
The answer to that is a low fi dystopian sci fi musical set in the distant future of 2525. Damian is giving us the hour long concert version of “Eurovision Ruined My Life – The musical” and the first song ‘Where are They Now – 2015’, sets the scene. The world and Damian’s life is going into a bit of a tragic decline. Further songs describing his fall into debauchery and disgrace include an insightful attack on the gambling industry and a surprisingly romantic tune about his relationship with Danni who works at Dan Murphy’s bottle shop. He also manages to pop in some top tunes from his current album ‘Jesus Barista Superstar’ and ‘Folk Music Turned me Into a Fascist’.
Last time I saw Damian Cowell it was a few months ago at the Corner Hotel as he debuted his current disco-themed album Damien Cowells Disco Machine with all the trimmings, a fab band that included two sets of drums (like Adam & the Ants), two gorgeous backup girl singers who played various instruments and a slew of guest performers like Shaun Micallef and Tony Martin, who appear on his album. There were disco balls, lights, costumes and screens showing lyrics and pictures. At the centre of it all was the charismatic, gracefully aging rock star Damian Cowell, occasionally fiddling with his laptop. At last year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival Damian performed as DC3 with two band members and a sound and visual show that bombarded the audience overloading us with information. Hara-Karaoke is a completely stripped back affair. Just Damian and his laptop from which he controls projections of lyrics and some pictures in a small room. Everything is focused and clear which is perfect to bring his brilliant comedy to the fore.
Along with the vicious satire and the killer songs Damian often surprises with some rather adorable silliness and traditional jokes. I enjoyed his ‘honest adverts’, not a new idea but well executed and is at the heart of Damian’s comedy mindset. A direct, angry, politically left look at the society around him. The darkest he gets is in his musings on mortality in ‘Fuck, I’m dead’ and his naff impression of Guy Sebastian singing one of TISM’s filthiest songs is definitely worth the price of admission. TISM fans will be sated by the finale created especially for them.
Damian Cowell is doing searing political musical comedy. He’s might be new to the comedy world but he’s been doing it for years and knows how to entertain an audience. Bring your brains to this one and jump into the boiling mire, you’re in the dexterous hands of a legend.
Damian Cowell – Hara-Karaoke is on at The Forum until April 19
REVIEW: HERALD SUN
Damian Cowell in Hara-Karaoke ★★★½
TISM (This Is Serious Mum) will not be reforming and representing Australia at the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest.
A grassroots movement pushed hard to make it happen, confident this balaclav’d Australian band from the 1990s would have more appeal than Guy Sebastian ... but it wasn’t to be.
Happily, we still have Damian Cowell’s Hara-Karaoke to keep us company. Cowell — TISM’s once heavily disguised frontman — has commandeered a corner of the Forum Theatre for an hour of subversive song and spoken word that will leave you amused and alarmed.
Amused because he relies on nothing more than a laptop and assorted slides. Alarmed because he’s an anarchist at heart.
Right from the get-go, Cowell unloads on folk music and bearded baristas, hook turns and Tabaret. Everything, really. But the targets in Hara-Karaoke are not knocked off in a scattergun way. Cowell is the master of killer punchlines, all the more forceful for being delivering in a singsong way over eminently hummable disco beats.
Catch him if you can.
Forum Theatre, until April 19 (SOLD OUT)
REVIEW: MALLORY ARBOUR OF TINSEL & TAPSHOES
The year is 2025, Damian Cowell presents his new musical Eurovision Ruined My Life – the Musical. Okay, you got me. I’m not some psychic wench who gazed into my crystal ball to predict the future – but this is the basis for Damian Cowell’s Hara-Karaoke (Eurovision not the wench – although, if anyone could pull that off, I’m sure Damian could!) playing now at The Forum as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.
Me and Natalie from Extra Large As Life headed to the show last Friday night. Natalie, a fan of TISM (an acronym of This Is Serious Mum) since its early days. Me, a newcomer, who only found out about TISM just over a month ago. How is it that I came to miss the genius of TISM during their existence? Simple; my teenage self would not have been aware of anything unless it graced the pages of Smash Hits Magazine. Yes. My 80s was about Fat Cat, my 90s spent pining over prepubescent long haired-boys and the 00s, well, I wasn’t much cooler than either.
But before stop reading because you’ve come to realise how totally uncool I was – and maybe (definitely!) still am! Now that I’ve popped my TISM, Damian Cowell and MICFcherries, respectfully, there’s no turning back – I’m hooked and loving it!
It’s so wickedly creative that something so small (if you consider 15,000 people signing the petition “small”) as the notion to get TISM to perform at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest to be inspiration for the show. It’s nice to get a break from the monotony of “your momma” jokes, have you ever noticed this and fat dudes in Hawaiian shirts bitching about how they can’t get none.
It’s more than just a comedy show – it’s an infusion of spoken-comedy, comedic-songs set to disco beats (some off his latest album, Disco Machine), theatrics, slide shows and more. I’m not one to go into details as I believe the best way to approach a show is to go in fresh and unspoiled with no idea what to expect except to be ready to laugh at loud. I do warn you, be prepared for an hour of resisting the urge to dance in your seat and to have the catchy tunes stuck in your head for weeks to come! For me, it’s currently Fuck, I’m Dead. Although, my love for Jesus Christ Superstar and my Barista-sister, Jesus Barista Superstar is a close second.
One things for certain, if there is an afterlife, Damian should prepare himself for heading down south due to the amount of blasphemies and obscenities that make this show oh so great! It’s creative, witty, stripped back and you really get the sense that you’re witnessing a comedic genius at work. And Damian can sing – really sing – not just in a comedic way and his dance moves left me green – because as a girl in my 20s, even I can’t dance as good as he can. He says he’s a shit-dancer, but I think that’s only part-modesty, part-truth and part-performance.
The only drawback would be the room itself. I’m torn between whether the show would be best with no chairs allowing the audience to dance along or if it plays better with a seated audience. I can’t quite make up my mind; still, this doesn’t hinder ones enjoyment of the show. Although, if you’re reading this and have yet to see the show, sit to the right-facing side of the stage if you can, this will enhance your experience and make you a better lover, or so I hear, I sat to the left.
Don’t spend your $20-$25 on four coffees at Starbucks or the new Nickelback CD (teehee), if you’re only going to go see one show this comedy season or you want to pop your MICF cherry like moi (it only hurts a little at the start and then you start to enjoy it – promise), go see Hara-Karaoke. You won’t regret it. Although, if you’ve got an extra $20 to spare, buy Damian Cowell’s Disco Machine too because after seeing the show, I guarantee you the temptation will be there. Damian methinks a merchandise-stand would do you well, sir.
Damian Cowell’s Hara-Karaoke is playing at The Forum from April 7-19 2015.
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ANNOUNCEMENT : TICKETS ON SALE FOR DAMIAN COWELL'S HARA KARAOKE
Hello! Damian here.
Here's a quick update on my little show at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, which starts in less than a week. It's called Hara-Karaoke, which implies that I will be committing artistic suicide in a cheap-ass, Betty Boo kind of way. All of that is certainly true, but I do want to assure you that I will, as usual, be posing the big philosophical questions:
*Whatever happened to Malcolm Turnbull?
*What is Drabaret?
*What would I do if I owned a huge pharmaceutical company?
*Are we just a bunch of little Vladimir Putins?
*What if the Occupy movement all looked like Christopher Pyne?
*What if TISM really did appear at Eurovision 2015?
*Can we find true love through alcoholism?
*What if ads told the truth?
*What is the real meaning of turning right at Swanston Street?
*Am I dead?
*Where are those hookers I ordered?
These and other mysteries will be revealed unto you at Damian Cowell's Hara-Karaoke. Plus some singing. And shit dancing.
Oh, by the way, the opening night is more or less sold out. But you can still get tickets for the 2nd show, which, just quietly, will be way better than the first, because I'll learn from my mistakes (so I can repeat them with gusto.)
If you would like to come, you can buy your tickets here:
Yours, as always
Harakiri (or hara-kiri) most often refers to a form of seppuku (or ritual suicide), often miswritten as "harikari."
Seppuku (切腹?, "stomach-cutting", "abdomen-cutting") is a form of Japanese ritual suicide by disembowelment. Seppuku was originally reserved only for samurai. Part of the samurai bushido honour code, seppuku was used either voluntarily by samurai to die with honour rather than fall into the hands of their enemies (and likely suffer torture) or as a form of capital punishment for samurai who had committed serious offenses, or performed because they had brought shame to themselves. The ceremonial disembowelment, which is usually part of a more elaborate ritual and performed in front of spectators, consists of plunging a short blade, traditionally a tantō, into the abdomen and moving the blade from left to right in a slicing motion.
On April 7, Damian Cowell commits Hara-Karaoke to his back catalogue at the Forum Theatre's Ladies Lounge as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.
"Yes, in a blink of an eye I'll be knocking at the door of your consciousness with my own warped version of Watchtower magazine - Damian Cowell's Hara-karaoke at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival from April 7 to 19.
It's a one-man singalonga karaoke-style rant 'n rave-up, in which I intend to explore the Geoffrey Robertson-style hypothetical: what if I had represented Australia at Eurovision?
I'll be singing some new tunes, and even some you might know.
You'll find me where I always long to be - in the Ladies Lounge - at the Forum in Melbourne. It's a very cosy little room and tickets have started to sell, so you'll need to get in quick. Can I suggest you aim for the opening few nights, because you'll have more chance of getting the seats you want, and I'd love to see some familiar faces along with all those comedy-once-a-year punters who flock to the comedy festival. And here's the good news: It's on at 6pm Tuesday - Saturday and 5pm Sunday! Isn't that fantastic? Catch a dose of me, pop out for dinner afterwards and you can be home and tucked up in your doona by 10!"
WARNING (inhale) : The following video contains blood & guts.
RELIEF (exhale): It's a metaphor. There will be no knives, swords or honourable slices at Damian Cowell's Hara Karaoke. He will commit Hara-Karaoke with a microphone and a tape deck.
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INTERVIEW : RADIO ADELAIDE'S THE BORROWERS
Shortly before the DCDM's Adelaide show, DC did a clandestine interview with Radio Adelaide's The Borrowers. If you click the play button, nothing will happen. You won't hear it. Unless you're down with John Cage and your praxis is reading sonnets into silence. But see, that's the magic of the interwebs. One day, it may just magically appear and you'II hear his voice... saying stuff. And we all know what that means...
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VIDEO INTERVIEW : DC GENTLY INTERROGATED BY MALLORY ARBOUR & NAT MULFORD
Last week, DC was hunted down by two enthused Melbourne bloggists who stopped him after work mid-commute to point the (non-existent) microphone at him and get the scoop. His upcoming Hara-Karaoke 12 night show for the Melbourne Comedy Fest - what’s that all about? Will he be watching Eurovision this year? And what will he be wearing that night? What, pray tell, is his general feeling about Australia’s nominated representative, Guy Sebastian? Was he really in TISM? And the album… Damian Cowell’s Disco Machine… origins... guest proposals…
On a windy day on the banks of the mighty Yarra, no microphone in sight, he responded as Mallory Arbour from Tinsel ’n Tapshoes proferred her line of questioning. Natalie Mulford from Extra Large as Life was there with her camera to record it for you.
Bloggists bought to you by:
Tinsel n Tapshoes & Extra Large As Life
With a very special thanks to Nat for not abandoning the camera completely upon hearing DC's answers and having to stifle her guffaws.
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NEWS: DC INTRODUCES "DAMIAN COWELL'S HARA-KARAOKE"
MELBOURNE INTERNATIONAL COMEDY FESTIVAL
Former TISM frontman Damian Cowell commits hara-karaoke to his back catalogue, (including his latest – Damian Cowell’s Disco Machine) – intercut with hilarious, surreal anecdotes about his past, present and future, all set to a disco beat.
After a multiple ARIA-winning career as the voice of the unforgettable TISM, Damian Cowell has had his work commissioned for MONA, performed at the 2013 Melbourne International Comedy Festival to rave reviews and released his latest album Damian Cowell’s Disco Machine with a host of star contributors, including Shaun Micallef, Tony Martin, Kathy Lette, Julia Zemiro, Sam Pang, Tim Rogers, Kate Miller-Heidke and Liz Stringer.
‘A million thoughts/witticisms/observations flying around the room - a sensory overload of epic proportions.’Herald Sun
‘Gloriously witty ranting.’ The Age
‘This is comedy at its most cerebral and socio-political… but I still had to fight an urge to dance. It’s also wildly entertaining and hilarious.’ Squirrel Comedy
DAMIAN COWELL'S HARA-KARAOKE --- 7-19 APRIL 2015
Tue-Sat 6pm OR Sun 5pm
VENUES: Forum Theatre Ladies Lounge / Pizza Room
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IMAGES: OFFICIAL ALBUM LAUNCH @ CORNER HOTEL
TIM CHUMA (c) 2015
Photos from the official sell-out album launch at Melbourne's Corner Hotel on Friday February 20th 2015. Featuring Damian Cowell and his disco machine, John Safran, Tim Rogers, Kate Miller-Heidke, Shaun Micallef's MAD AS HELL, Tony Martin (comedian), Liz Stringer, Franky Walnut, Tim Woodz and the Dirty Shoes, Hector the Safety Cat and more.
Photos Courtesy TIM CHUMA (c) 2015
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LIVE REVIEWS : BEAT MAG / WHAT SOUND DOT COM
Damian Cowell’s Disco Machine @ Corner Hotel
The moment I walked into The Corner and was handed a glow stick proudly displaying the words 'Damian Cowell’s Disco Machine', I knew I was in for a different type of show. What sort of show it was though, I had no idea. I don’t think anyone did.
Glow stick in hand and suspense in my brain, I walked into The Corner while opening act Tim Woodz And The Dirty Shoes were playing. Tim Woodz is a seven-foot statue of a man crooning out beautiful Australiana laden country bangers, while a five-foot drummer with a snare drum strapped around his neck jigged around him, banging out bluegrass shuffles.
I couldn’t help but laugh when I saw the two dancing around on stage together like some sort of Dr Zeus pantomime, starring a lumbering Hank Williams and the original little drummer boy. The longer I watched though, the more the shtick disappeared and the earnest truth behind the performance shone through.
Up next was Chad Morgan and John Williamsons’ beautiful little love child Franky Walnut, yelping out another set of true-blue Australian country classics. Have you ever been so Australian you played a guitar with a thong? Franky has. Have you ever been so Australian you proudly busted out Australian hip hop like it was the national anthem? Franky has.
Have you ever been so Australian you came up with the lyric, “I’m as Australian as a redback spider and a funnelweb spider having a root inside a kangaroo’s scrotum purse”? You guessed it, Franky has. I laughed the whole way through this set and can’t wait to see what he comes up with next.
The curtains drew closed as the stage was set up for Damian Cowell’s Disco Machine. Murmurs began to burst throughout the crowd as people speculated as to what they were in for. The curtains eventually opened, revealing a stage filled to the brim with disco balls and a guy standing in a fab-u-lous ‘70s disco onesie. After he hyped up the crowd up with some classic TISM-isms, The Disco Machine took hold of the stage. Cradled between two drummers, a guitarist, a bassist and some of the best backup singers I’ve seen was the man himself, Damian Cowell, standing there like a cock-throbbing Noosha Fox. Lit up by the lights of a million mirror ball rays, Damian Cowell gyrated and twisted in ways unseen from the frontman in a long time.
Over the course of the show, The Disco Machine flushed out a royal shopping list of Australian legends to help hustle the crowd into getting their funky chicken on. This was a completely star-sequined night, featuring cameos from Tim Rogers, Liz Stringer, John Safran, Kate Miller-Heidke, Tony Martin and Shaun Micallef.
After the show I went and sat at the bar with two Damian Cowell fans.
They were sitting on their barstools like castaways on their own desert islands who had been patiently waiting for the SS Cowell to come bring them whatever supplies he had.
“What did you think of the show?” I asked.
“It’s no TISM that’s for sure,” one of them replied.
“It was the best show I’ve seen in years,” cried the other one.
“What did you think?”
I told them I was gonna to go home and start a petition for Damian Cowell’s Disco Machine to represent Australia at the upcoming Eurovision. This was one of those rare shows where even your consistently nagging bladder is swept aside, there’s no goddamn way you’re going to the bathroom in case you miss something monumental. And these thoughts of mine were all before the special guests came on stage. Part humour, part commentary, all wit and full groove, these were some genuinely great songs. And this was a genuinely great show.
Drank: A single plum, floating in perfume, served in a man’s hat.
BY CHRIS PENNEY
Gig Review: Damian Cowell’s Disco Machine at The Corner, February 20th
Depending on who you ask, Melbourne’s gems of Mulgrave TISM are either national treasures or that really weird thing that came on in the pub that one time. The former have invaded the land of the Corner Hotel for the musical reemergence of TISM mastermind Damian Cowell, now having cast aside the mask for Damian Cowell’s Disco Machine. Despite his history and aptitude for the sarcastic, Damian Cowell’s Disco Machine is just what it says on the box: Disco music from the mind of one of the city’s most notorious shit stirrers. The album ended up crowdfunded via Pozible, and now the day has come for those who helped breathe a little life into this premature baby to take to the stage for its first dance recital. And then there’s me, the creepy uncle who just happens to have the only camera to catch the whole thing.
The first signal that this gig is not going to be your daddy’s disco extravaganza comes at the door, where entrants are greeted with a stamp on the arm and a branded glow stick. Although it’s not the standard for the roller rink, it’s something bush doofs have done for an age. What bush doofs don’t have, however, are legions of disco and/or TISM fans blocking all exits. School captains and businesspeople and those who try less to hide their weirdness are all here, ready to let loose for a night of daggy dancing and facetiousness. The cry when the house speakers turn down is downright primal.
With a flair only 1980s East Melbourne can give, Cowell seems to slide onto the stage for the first song. Already things are heavy, especially for disco standards. The wayward gathering of youths and rejects that is tonight’s audience accept it without missing a beat, getting down as Cowell shoots snarky political commentary over the stabbing synths. It doesn’t take long before the first of the night’s long list of names marches onstage to join the well oiled groove machine in the fun.
Kate Miller-Heidke, Tim Rogers, John Safran, Shaun Micallef and more pop there heads in on the nights proceedings one way or another. By the end of the night the stage is only a Doctor and a Wil Anderson away from being a reunion of the early 2000s triple j line up. But despite the faces coming and going, Cowell’s always sticks out, flailing and crooning snarkily to songs like ‘I’m Addicted to Moderation’, his dorky pressed grey suit somehow stealing all attention from the bizarreness sure to be happening on any part of the room. Hopefully this will be the case when the man is inevitably voted in to serve for Eurovision and the world can witness the joy of it but until then, The Corner is enough of a stage.
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THANKYOU MELBOURNE : FOR HELPING US GIVE "SOLD OUT" NEW MEANING AND ACQUIRING IT SOME CACHET
Backstage and crowd phone pics featuring DC, Tony Martin, Tim Rogers, Shaun Micallef, John Safran, Kate Miller-Heidke, Liz Stringer courtesy DC's promo staff. All rights reserved.
Professional shots to follow.
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ACOUSTIC LIVE TRACK & RADIO INTERVIEW : RRR MELB
DC & BAND did a small but very sweet appearance on RRR's Breakfasters Friday morning before the official Melbourne album launch.
FROM BEK CHAPMAN & THE BAND :
"And here's the man himself. Damian Cowell's Disco Machine playing on RRR yesterday before their SELL OUT gig at the Corner Hotel. Supported by the hilarious Tim Woodz and the Dirty Shoes and the sensational and loose-panted Franky Walnut, it was a bloody fantastic night all round.
SO WHAT DO HIS BAND MEMBERS IN THE DISCO MACHINE HAVE TO SAY ABOUT HIM?
"Since meeting Damian, I've had to buy a dictionary to look up most of the words he uses."
- Ryan Adamson (bass)
"My dad was in TISM so I grew up wondering why he and Damian would go out wearing white balaclavas. I thought it was some sort of cheap clan-wear."
- Lachie Harrick (drums)
"He's so lovely, he didn't even yell at me when I forgot my pants,"
-Gazza Walker (drums)
"I love him almost as much as Roxette,"
- Gordon Blake (guitar)
"I have a fear of flying and his TISM stories helped keep me distracted from how scared I was being on a plane with Damian Cowell,"
- Emily Jarrett (vocals/violins)
"He's like a cuddly teddy bear but with an intelligent and smutty mind. And like all honest women - I like that."
- Bek Chapman (vocals/keys)
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THE DAY HAS COME : OFFICIAL ALBUM LAUNCH - CORNER HOTEL MELBOURNE
Can you feel it?
Can you feel it?
It's the 20th of February 2015.
Tonight in an event that will never happen again in our lifetime, the metaphorical disco ball will drop and the spotlight will hit its three dimensional mosaic tiles.
On its home turf, inside The Corner Hotel, an inner city Melbourne haunt with a maximum capacity of over 700 punters, Damian Cowell's Disco Machine will draw back the curtain for its album launch and the full band will welcome :
ONSTAGE TONIGHT WITH DC:
to join him in live performances singing their parts from tracks off the grand spankin' new album.
DC hints that there are a few surprises in store, but no more enthralling than the fact that this project was but a twinkle in the reflection of an unwashed train window on DC's daily commute less than 18 months ago and thanks to his mass tribe of Pozible pledgers who funded 248% over and above the asking rate, a 7 piece band who threw themselves into the job at hand with Boney-M like enthusiasm and eleven incredibly talented special guest stars including Micallef, Rogers, Safran, Stringer, Miller-Heike, Martin and Julia Zemiro, Sam Pang, The Bedroom Philosopher, Kathy Lette (author of Puberty Blues) and Lee Lin Chin who lent their vocals, style and humility to the album, here he is, balancing atop a stack of glittering reviews, staggering ticket sales and carpet bills from venues irrevocably marked with dancing heels.
YOU MAY BE OBSERVED...
Tonight's event will be attended by an international journalist Michelle Thomas who has flown from the other side of the world from London to report on the event and who may or may not be related to Ringo Starr (we may or may not have made the Ringo Starr bit up). It will be filmed and photographed, reviewed, documented and probably canned by a few drunken punters who like his old stuff better than his new stuff.
Tune in to THE BREAKFASTERS at around 8-40am this morn' to hear DC and band warm up for the show tonight with some "acoustic disco" - he was always the master of an oxymoron.
Then head for the Corner Hotel after work.
Doors open at 8-30pm for Tim Woodz & The Dirty Shoes then Franky Walnut .
Damian Cowell's Disco Machine kick off after 11.
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ALBUM REVIEW: AU REVIEW DOT COM
DAMIAN COWELL - DISCO MACHINE (2015 LP)
February 21, 2015 - 6:32pm — Mallory Arbour
Upon first listen of Damian Cowell’s crowd-funded new album Disco Machine, I didn’t think that there was enough drugs in the world to prepare me for what I was about to hear – but in essence, at its core, it’s a smart, satiric blend of comedy and disco.
“I’m Addicted To Moderation” (with Tim Rogers) is laced with heavy electronica beats – like the kind of sound played in movies when people go on a bender. “I Hope I Get Laid For Christmas” (with Liz Stringer) is all kinds of fun! I hope Damian Cowell’s next crowd-funded project is an Christmas album. That is something I would certainly contribute to!
Damian describes it as, 'It’s a disco album, but not a really disco album.' And he’s right. It’s something you can’t really explain in words. It’s weird. Really weird. You’re guaranteed to be scratching your head and thinking “What The Fuck?” over and over (you see what I did just there? Probably not if you have yet to listen to the album.)
Yes, it’s weird. It’s wacky. It's quirky. But do you expect anything less with songs such as “4D Printer” (with Kathy Lette), “Things I’ve Said In Job Interviews” (with John Safran), “Groovy Toilet” (with Bek Chapman) and “Folk Music Turns Me Into A Fascist” (with Emily Jarrett)?
Then there’s “Jesus Barista Superstar” with a guest who doesn’t want to be named – whom I like to think is Lord Voldemort considering a new career move, and “Epistemophobia” (with Kate Miller-Heidke), which has radio appeal.
There’s a lot of profanity. But it’s not trying to be anything else that you can’t fault for its originality. It’s not going to appeal to everyone – some will love it others will be absolutely baffled. Disco Machineis more of a work of art than just a collection of songs – it’s worth a listen just on that merit alone.
Collaborating with some of Australia’s most recognisable comedians, singers, authors, musicians and television personalities, all hand-chosen by Damian himself, including Tony Martin, Julia Zermiro and Sam Pang.
It’s a post modern take on 70s disco featuring spoken words with catchy choruses and over laying beats. It's a little bit Eurovision – and there ain’t nothing wrong with that! – with underlining topical themes – if you can get through the album without laughing and missing the important messages.
After listening to this album numerous times, it grew on me and I came to find it overly enjoyable. And if that isn’t the highest compliment, than I don’t know what is. And let’s face it, anything with Shaun Micallef is always going to be a winner!
Review Score: 7.5 out of 10
Damian Cowell's Disco Machine is available - and on tour! - now!
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REVIEW : THE WOOLLY MAMMOTH, BRISBANE by WORDSIMAGESMUSIC
Damian Cowell, formerly of a little band called This Is Serious Mum or TISM (because this is Australia and we abbreviate everything!) brought his new venture Damian Cowell’s Disco Machine to Brisbane’s Woolly Mammoth recently.
DCDM, which I will am going to call these guys because even if it’s not a “sanctioned” abbreviation, constantly typing “Damian Cowell’s Disco Machine” is going to make this a very short review!… Anyway, as I was saying, DCDM retains many of the characteristics we knew and loved from TISM and Cowell’s incarnation as Humphrey B Flaubert. Namely, the satirical and sometimes surreal lyrical content, the occasional spoken word vocal, and the earworm. I went home singing “WTF?” Which, by the way, is an actual song, and a catchy one too.
The stage in the Woolly Mammoth’s upstairs room seems a little cramped for the number of musicians in the DCDM, especially given that there are 2 drummers. But some cleverness with staging by putting drummers on each side of stage and the singers on a riser along the back seems to help the flow.
Mind you, the flow is always going to be a bit, well, fluid with Damian Cowell out front. The man likes to move around on stage, first up the back dancing in unison with the backing singers, then down the front pacing back and forth, then kind of in between… But the addition of the song lyrics as a dynamic backdrop to the performance serves as an anchor, if at times a disconcerting one.
Damian Cowell’s Disco Machine’s self titled album came out a week before the show, and forms the bulk of the set, though some of the more awesome collaborators such as Shaun Micallef are present in digital form only. It’s what you’d expect from one of the creative powerhouses behind TISM, and I mean that in a good way. They are catchy songs than for the most part give up more on subsequent listens, which for me is always the sign of quality songwriting. And it’s clear that Damian Cowell’s enthusiasm for performing hasn’t been dulled in the years since TISM disbanded.
DCDM are touring the album at present. If you’re reading this from elsewhere in this wide brown land we call Australia, you know what to do…
Words: Cat Anderson for WORDS IMAGES MUSIC
Images: Benjamin Knight
Music: Damian Cowell’s Disco Machine
Woolly Mammoth, Friday 13th February
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EXTENDED RADIO INTERVIEW : DJ MAYNARD
DJ Maynard's podcast interview with Damian Cowell for Planet Maynard in which he:
"-Takes you through his Disco Machine album
-Explains the music that influenced it
-Chides Maynard for sounding like a parent
-Mentions that 3RRR benefit that went wrong
-Talks Root! & DC3
Damian Cowell's Disco Machine is what this country needs, or maybe Damian Cowell's Disco Machine needs a country. I'm happy with either outcome." - DJ Maynard
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ALBUM REVIEW : BEAT MAGAZINE
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LIVE REVIEW : BRISBANE SHOW
Damian Cowell's Disco Machine, The Bertie Page Clinic, Ariel - Woolly Mammoth Pics by Terry Soo
Feb 13th 2015 | Steve Bell
There’s a large crowd gathered by the time that Damian Cowell’s Disco Machine start filing onstage, the two drummers on the far extremes building a precise-yet-pummelling opening salvo as they begin with 4D Printer, the fact that this is the band’s first ever show and these songs unfamiliar to most alleviated by having the lyrics on a big screen behind the band (not miles removed from what Cowell’s alma mater TISM used to do with the song titles on cardboard signs back in the day), as well as Lee Lin Chin’s huge visage which overlooks during Jesus Barista Superstar (the SBS broadcaster appearing on the band’s eponymous debut album, but only as a sample here).
There’s also remnants of TISM’s choreography, with Cowell and backup vocalists doing some interpretative dance, especially during the super-catchy Groovy Toilet (which also features next level crowd participation). As ever it’s Cowell’s adroit wordplay and rapier wit which makes this such a great experience, songs like Folk Music Turns Me Into A Fascist, Things I’ve Said In Job Interviews and I Hope You Get Laid For Christmas working on numerous levels in the live sphere. Two more violins join proceedings as a massive diatribe ushers in Epistemophobia, adding to the already full band sound and adding visual diversity as well. The “what the fuck?” refrain of Damian Cowell’s Disco Machine Part Onehas everyone singing along en masse, before the set proper concludes with Don’t Hector The Safety Cat and the super-insistent I’m Addicted To Moderation.
There’s a faux encore which finds the somewhat disturbing phrase “Cool for catamites” liberally bandied around, Cowell offering a solo version of his former band The DC3’s The Future Sound Of Nostalgia then segueing into a disco montage which features a snippet of TISM’s I’m Interested In Apathy amidst strange passes on YMCA, Disco Inferno and mash-ups of Shivers into Macho Man and Born To Be Alive into Creep – pretty much everything strange and fun you’d expect from the former Humphrey B. Flaubert. It’s great to have him back.
GALLERY: Damian Cowell's Disco Machine, Woolly Mammoth
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IMAGES : NEWTOWN SOCIAL CLUB ALBUM LAUNCH
Perve on the D''d'd'd'd... Disco Ma-chiiiine's album launch at Newtown Social Club Sydney last Saturday night. Supports by Pinky Beecroft's Brain Explosion and Bad Bitch Choir
Some tickets still available for the Melbourne launch this Friday if you get in quick smart:
Purchase at: http://www.damiancowell.com/buy-stuff.html
Photos Courtesy the vunderbar Clare Hawley (c) 2015
For reproduction rights of these images please contact Clare via firstname.lastname@example.org
DAMIAN COWELL ON THE DISCO MACHINE BAND:
"I hand-picked the members of the Disco Machine based on a rigorous set of selection criteria: Must be extremely talented; must be extremely funky; must be extremely good-looking; must be prepared to make dicks of themselves in public.
I also like people who, instead of wrecking hotel rooms, prefer to tidy them up.
The Disco Machine are all of the above, and more. But who are they?
I had all these incredible basslines in my head. Then I went around to Ryan’s house and he played them. Just like that. It was like having my own personal funk button. And like a poor hamster in some 50s lab experiment, I kept pressing that button for instant gratification. Make no mistake: Ryan is why your ass will wiggle. Everybody wants him in his band. I’ve got him. AND he’s a Fireman.
Gordon is the band’s pulse, on and off stage. I’d worked with him a few times at Bedroom Philosopher shows, and was immediately impressed by his encyclopaedic music knowledge and sheer joie de vivre. But crucially he (a) plays guitar like a thrangin’ percussive machine and (b) strikes a damn good weapon-of-dystopian-society pose.
The Disco Machine didn’t need some fey, navel-gazing indie girl in a nanny cardigan. It needed serious vocal talent. Enter Bek Chapman. In The Nymphs and Anne of the Wolves, she looks and sings like an angel, but is in fact the silliest person I know and is my constant inspiration.
Loughy is the youngest but way-coolest member of the group. Behind his drum kit he is the picture of impenetrable style and his beats are the sleek, metronomic pulse of an expensive car silently bulleting along the Autobahn.
Emily is a singer and multi-instrumentalist known for her work with Go Go Sapien and Dave Graney. Her violins give the album a gorgeous wash of disco sophistication. She looks like the kind of chick I’d be too scared to approach at a party, but when I asked her to do ridiculous moves, like the ‘exit/mousehole’ she went: “as if I wouldn’t!”
Completing our crazy two-drummer attack, Gary adds the wild flavour to Loughlin’s effortless lock-step power. Gary plays raw-ass RnB in The Plymouth Reverends, and has even played metal somewhere in the past. He looks (and drinks) like a wild man but is actually the nicest person in the group."
**SEE THESE FINE FOLK IN ACTION AT THE CORNER HOTEL THIS FRIDAY NIGHT WITH DC, SHAUN MICALLEF, TIM ROGERS, KATE-MILLER-HEIDKE, JOHN SAFRAN, TONY MARTIN, LIZ STRINGER.
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ARTICLE : TONEDEAF - DC'S TRACK BY TRACK
Don’t Hector The Safety Cat – Feat. Tony Martin
You don’t need to have lived in the 80s and seen the Hector the Safety Cat commercial to understand this song. It’s a wagging finger of admonition at people who live inner city and love to set themselves above the throng of stunted, unadventurous, job-chained suburban automatons – well, me, actually. Tony Martin is playing the role of one of the old guys up in the balcony on The Muppets Show. OK, that was from the 80s too. Smartarse.
Epistemophobia – Feat. Kate Miller-Heidke
The idea for this song came to me three years ago when a track called ‘Euphoria’ won Eurovision. Hmmm… there’s that Eurovision theme coming in again… Anyway, Kate Miller-Heidke is freakishly talented, smart, kind and arrestingly beautiful. I am the cookie monster.
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RADIO : DC ON RRR THIS FRIDAY 20TH FEB
DC and some of his disco machine compadres will be on air on the RRR Breakfasters this Friday morning around 8-45am to play a live track and have a chat with Steve Wide, Alicia Sometimes and Declan Fay.
Tune in for the last public appearance before the big live show at The Corner Hotel on Friday night in Melbourne. Got your tickets yet? If not, grab them hither: http://www.damiancowell.com/buy-stuff.html
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BREAKING NEWS : TIM ROGERS JOINS THE MELB LAUNCH THIS FRI 20TH FEB - CORNER HOTEL
It has just been confirmed that the one and only Tim Jolly Rogers, of You Am I infamy will be appearing on stage with DC this Friday night at the Corner Hotel in Richmond for the album launch of Damian Cowell's Disco Machine, performing their duet "I'm Addicted To Moderation."
Also on stage that night: 5 more guest stars -
- Shaun Micallef's MAD AS HELL : "Damian Cowell's Disco Machine Part I"
- John Safran : "Things I've Said In Job Interviews"
- Kate Miller-Heidke : "Epistemophobia"
- Tony Martin : "Don't Hector The Safety Cat" and
- Liz Stringer "I Hope You Get Laid For Christmas"
- With apologies from The Bedroom Philosopher who got a flat tyre on his way home.
Have you bought your tickets yet?
You know how it goes : Only while stocks last!
Or in the words of DC: "Book now to avoid (our) disappointment."
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INTERVIEW : THE AGE / SYDNEY MORNING HERALD
THE MIRROR BALL IMPERATIVE
By Michael Dwyer
From I'm Addicted to Moderation to Groovy Toilet, the three-minute slices of conceptual genius and cryptic crossword-play are classic Cowell, as heard on three DC3 albums since TISM folded in 2004.
But the old school allusions to Georgio Moroder and Chic represent a breakthrough for an artist who, like all white blokes of a certain vintage, took years to surrender to the disco inferno in his soul.
"I was programmed to hate it [in the '70s]," he says. "I had a sticker that said 'Keep Music Live' from the musicians' union. It was seen as this enormous threat, which is hilarious when you look at it from today's perspective."
It was Cowell who eventually brought the shearing electronic dance edge to TISM, having found a cool way in to the dance party via credible British rock appropriators such as the Clash and New Order.
"I saw techno as the new punk," he says. "It was very underground … and it was the kind of music that people who like classic rock don't understand."
But wheels turn. As house music turned into mainstream fodder for regular yobbos, the unmasked bloke from TISM became a middle-aged dad feeling a curious twinge in his groove thing when Boney M came on at the parent-teacher barbecue.
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PRESS RELEASE : EX-TISM FRONT MAN REFUSES TO COMMENT ON TISM-FOR-EUROVISION PETITION
In response to the fast-growing petition on change.org for TISM to reform and represent Australia at Eurovision, former voice of the band, Damian Cowell, issued the following statement:
'I do not wish to comment on behalf of TISM out of respect for my colleagues and the artistic integrity of the band. However if a multi-national with a horrendous human rights record gives me a large cheque, all bets are on.'
Cowell has in fact just released an album featuring Eurovision hosts Julia Zemiro and Sam Pang doing commentary, as well as Shaun Micallef, Tim Rogers, Kate Miller-Heidke, Kathy Lette, Tony Martin, John Safran and more.
Damian Cowell's Disco Machine is the album, and many of the aforementioned guests will be appearing live onstage with Cowell on Friday February 20 at the Corner Hotel in Richmond.
Damian Cowell's Disco Machine will also be playing in Brisbane tomorrow (Friday 13th Feb) at the Woolly Mammoth, in Sydney on Saturday (14th Feb) at the Newtown Social Club and in Adelaide on the 20th March at The Jade.
DC'S EUROVISION SONG : HEAR FREE STREAM OF "DAMIAN COWELL'S DISCO MACHINE PART II" FEATURING JULIA ZEMIRO & SAM PANG (SBS EUROVISION HOSTS) FROM HIS NEW SOLO ALBUM (OUT NOW).
There's some sort of 10,000-strong campaign which exploded overnight on national media, petitioning for a certain band to appear at Eurovision now that Australia has been invited to compete stage. What a co-incidence, then, that TISM co-creator, our very own DC had this little track in his back pocket for his now released solo project. Have a listen to the free stream and see you at the live shows.
* Friendly language warning : This track is awash with casual profanity. Bring your gumboots.
ROCKWIZ FACEBOOK STATUS FEB 13 2015 :
"There have been persistent rumours that Brian Nankervis was once a member of TISM. Julia's latest recording isn't going to help quash them."
Posted: 13 February, 2015 by Triple M Rocks
Petition For TISM To Reunite For Eurovision 2015 Gains Momentum
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RADIO INTERVIEW: DC ON THE AFTERGLOW RADIO SHOW PBS
PBS FM's Lyndelle Wilkinson did a follow up interview with DC tonight, on her PBS 106.7 FM The Afterglow show after first showing interest in the Pozible campaign last year.
Full interview here - from 80 minutes 40 seconds onwards.
INTERVIEW : THE MUSIC
Real Musicians, Near-Disasters & Why Folk Fans Are Fascists with DC
DC and The Music dot have been media-slow-dancing a fair bit lately. Another interview has just materialised - you can read it now.
"I don’t know whether that’s the impression to outsiders, but personally when I hear Tim Rogers on one of my tracks – or I hear Kate or Liz – that’s when I go, ‘Fuck, that’s weird! There’s a real musician on this track! An actual talented musician!’ But yeah it does all come together, I suppose because in the end they all very graciously did what I told them to do. Even though Kate Miller-Heidke is singing, she’s still singing this ridiculous thing about fear of knowledge, so I guess it does have the unavoidable imprint of me splattered all over it, like a dog weeing on a lamp post.”
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PODCAST : DJ MAYNARD'S WHAT DOUBLE J SHOULD SOUND LIKE
[ AUDIO - DC INTRO PLUS FIRST RADIO PLAY OF " I'M ADDICTED TO MODERATION" Featuring Tim Rogers ]
For those yet to have heard the new album, DJ Maynard www.maynard.com.au who you may remember from Triple J, is a regular radio podcaster who recorded a chat with DC last week. The interview will be out in the coming week. In the meantime, Maynard broadcast a few words from DC and his self-penned song with Tim Rogers "I'm Addicted To Moderation" on this week's episode of "What Double J SHOULD Sound Like" Check it out above.
Note: at the first song break, listen out for a little discussion between the Djs about the Disco Machine. Giorgio Moroder keeps coming up.
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REVIEW : 4.5 STARS
Most discussion about this album will revolve around its eclectic raft of guests – Tim Rogers, Shaun Micallef, John Safran et al – and understandably so given how much they collectively bring to the table, but the true strength lies in this being Damian Cowell’s best batch of songs since the halcyon days of TISM. Sharp, catchy and both thematically and lyrically ingenious, this is a fun and rewarding listen from go to woah (spoiler alert: may offend hipsters and folk aficionados).
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THE AU INTERVIEW:
DAMIAN COWELL CHATS ABOUT HIS DISCO MACHINE AND LIFE AFTER TISM
Do you think that there is room for intelligence in modern music?
There ought to be. It strikes me that perhaps there’s too much intelligence in modern music. What we’re missing is some of the dumbness. Everything is so hi-tech that even shit music is really good these days. So when you buy an album by some bloke that looks like a ski instructor, David Guetta or whatever his name is, it ought to be a really shit album, but it’s not. It’s really good. Without wanting to go back into nostalgia, there was an era when you could tell the good stuff from the shit stuff. Then at the upper end of the scale, especially in dance music, you have all these minimalist auteurs; I’d be totally scared to have a conversation with them. They’d just sneer at me the whole time. I had a look at the books on my bookshelf and I’ve got Billy Idol’s new book on my bookshelf, so that’s where I’m coming from. So it’s the dumbness that I miss. KEEP READING
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ARTICLE : TOP FIVE THINGS DC LIKES ABOUT DISCO
Pop, Culture and Entertainment publication, scenestr recently asked DC to list his Top Five on a topic of his choice. Possibly the most entertaining five reasons on why the disco genre is a likeable one ensued.
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FIRST GLIMPSE: ALBUM PREVIEW
DC has put together this little audio teaser, just for you. Featuring almost all his special album guests.
Crown your head with your best earphones if you appreciate good sound and press the almighty play button. Oh, and remember, this is a crowd funded project. Be kind to your disco machine and share on book of face and the tower or twitts. We love you all.
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SOCIAL MEDIA WHISPERS : DC'S GUESTS
A couple of Damian's special albums guests from the upcoming Disco Machine release (due Feb 2015) have been spotted on social media, dropping a few subtle, but not so subtle hints. Seems to be a burgeoning theme . . .
Catch Tony Martin, John Safran, Shaun Micallef, Kate Miller Heidke and Liz Stringer on stage with DC and his new band at The Corner Hotel in Richmond (Melb) on Friday the 20th of February. Other shows listed above.
Oh, and this clip on youtube just surfaced.
DC at the Bedroom Philosopher's book
launch in 2012.
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UPDATE : POZIBLE REWARDS
Hi All Pledgers, Apologies for going a bit quiet on you!
This is Anthea here (Damian Cowell's Disco Machine's manager). I wanted to send you all an update on where your "rewards" are at. For those of you who pledged for Albums, digital feature, t-shirts and glowsticks - these will be ready in the coming weeks and will start shipping (and digitally sending) out as soon as they are. Details for the Melbourne listening party will also be sent out within the week.
Those of you who purchased rewards include tickets to the upcoming gigs - we haven't forgotten about you! I'll be in touch soon to confirm that your name will be on the door at the show of your choice. We have also just announced the Adelaide gig - it's March 20th at The Jade Monkey. Tickets should be on sale soon. See you at a gig or listening party soon! Thanks again for pledging and making this project happen!
(Damian Cowell's Disco Machine MGMT)
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PRESS : DISCO'S NOT DEAD
Damian Cowell, co-founder and former TISM vocalist and drummer (albeit behind a mask), also part of "motorik, punk rock, Eurodisco" outfit the DC3, wanted to create a dance album but didn't want to get mired in the complexity of contemporary dance music (who really knows the difference between electronicore and electroclash).
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NEWS : ADELAIDE LIVE DATE ANNOUNCED : MARCH 20 THE JADE
Thanks for your patience while we finalised the venue for the ADELAIDE show. Now confirmed. Damian Cowell's Disco Machine will be rocketing upward from the floors of The Jade - 160 Flinders St Adelaide. Ticket Outlet will be announced here (Unless you were a Pozible pledger whose tickets were part of your reward package). BRISBANE / SYDNEY / MELBOURNE shows all on sale as specified at the top of this page.
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ARTICLE : HE'S BACK [ THE MUSIC DOT COM ]
He’s back. The man once known as TISM’s creative lynchpin Humphrey B Flaubert, but who stepped into the spotlight in his own natural form back in 2007 is back with a new project, Damian Cowell’s Disco Machine.