Earlier this month, Sydney party-machine, SPOD, released a new album, Taste The Sadness, an updated adulthood version of his 2003 debut, Taste The Radness. The mostly sombre, reflective record finds the once self-described "Spinning Pizzas Of Death" entering a new musical space. A destination defined by regrets, plodding pianos and pleasant evenings of Shiraz tasting conversations, an entire galaxy away from the streamers, confetti and sexually explicit lyrical content he's taken great pleasure in drowning us in over the past decade.
So, how did we get here?
In an attempt to understand how this melancholy man was made, we asked SPOD to summarise the ten years that led him from being “totally rad” to permanently bummed. All words below from the man himself.
The year Taste The Radness broke. I was a few years into being a solo act with an iPod live sensation and finally got around to putting out a Compact Disc. The chat rooms were abuzz with flutter about this hot young talent all dressed in pink with flowers dancing up a storm in your home town. What a vibe. I started getting lots more shows, all the festivals, I had a really good booker, backing dancers and a full band. Life was good, livin' was large. Apple were vibing on my iPod finesse, I toured with Duran Duran and nearly get murdered at each show by old idiots and I go part time at my full time job. Killin' it.
So I'm flyin' high, burning it up. Got that full band on lock and started working on my Eternal Championz EP. Metal, R&B, recording with Matt Voight and Black Level Embassy, what could go wrong? A-Blade (Scorpion Dancer) leaves and Axltronixxx joins, my manager stops returning my calls and people I thought were my friends that I'd recently made in the industry stopped looking at me. Upgraded to denim shorts from my Ruggers. Jet were huge and the rock revival was a real chill vibe on all the music magazines. I would DJ Missy Elliot and Hall & Oates off my iPod at the brand new Purple Sneakers and got offered a headjob in a Vice party stairwell. Whatever.
I join Regurgitator as a keyboardist and tour with the Big Day Out. We play "Makin' Party" to a million people who have no idea who I am. Quan and Ben quickly learn I'm probably better at Tambourine than Synths and I'm promptly replaced after the tour by my finger-skilled best mate Seja Vogel. We tour Nationally with Regurgitator and I play in Auckland and Wellington nearly getting bashed by a few jealous boyfriends, and support Le Tigre. I'm stoked, their fans aren't, but by the end I converted a goal for about 70% love. The Residents tour, and I'm super excited and they're completely terrible.
I buy my beloved Minimoog. Big boner. I play a bunch of shows and start writing a new album. I'm living in Petersham in a ritzy unit with my GF and have Foxtel. Then we break up. We have a school reunion and I remix a Muscles song that he never releases. I start working on the BLOX EP with Quan Yeomans. I get made redundant from my day job and decide to somehow never work again. The Scorpionz leave SPOD.
I'm living in Petersham alone & trying to finish my new record whilst housesitting a huge amount of vintage synths. Life is good. I play SXSW and a show in LA at a club the dude from New York Dolls owns. He's a chill dude and everyone kinda hates me. I support Thomas Dolby who looks like the matrix, play with Electric Six at The Bowery and end up partying so hard in New York that I nearly fall off a 10 story roof & get Pneumonia in London. I move house, and the removalist knocks my computer off my desk and I lose my entire album and backup. I party quite a lot this year and work on my record and release the BLOX EP. We play a few shows and then it all gets put in the bin.
I meet Julia Wilson who starts managing me and starts Rice Is Nice Records. Mess and Noise forum friends put money together to help me salvage my album, so I call it Superfrenz in dedication to this lovely gesture and I recover about 60% of the record. I finish it and release it, touring with a new band of music & dancing legends. We play heaps and we're the best band in the world. I'm pretty sure this is the year I join the Tucker Bs and I start an AC/DC cover band Bon Voyage with a bunch of rock legends.
I release "CATS!" on 7" and tour with the lovely Totally Michael who gets into an orgy whilst I wait in the other room. I start mixing and post production on Richard In Your Minds' My Volcano and make my first Music video for my song 'Dead'. I decide doing music videos is fun and start making shitloads. No one else is doing anything I care about.
I move into a Marrickville Warehouse and mix Straight Arrows' Its Happening, build a mini-ramp in that sucker and make music videos all year. Peace.
More music videos. Killin' it, whatever. I drove across America from LA to New Orleans to Chicago and New York with 3 girls and survived, then mixed RIYM's Sun in New York. What an artist, so boho. I record an album in a bus in Tasmania at the end of the year that I still haven't released.
I move out of Sydney and up to the Hawkesbury River. I'm still making videos and play a children's festival because I'm getting old and that's life. I start to get reconnected with my mortal fear / emotional tractor beam of the suburbs.
10 years since Taste The Radness. Yikes. I start making a "Spodumentary" about myself because I'm a bloody Aussie Icon and re-release that gem of a record. I decide to work on an idea I'd had 10 years ago which was a sad version of TTR called Taste The Sadness, exploring the terrain of what happens to a man as he walks into the dark chasm of time. I start Australia's best Pasture Raised and Fed Beef Jerky company. Most bands I used to play with are all broken up and I sometimes wonder what Ben Lee is doing these days.
Taste The Sadness is out now via Rice Is Nice.
Record launch shows:
Friday, September 19: The Lansdowne, Sydney
Free with RSVP via this Facebook event.
Friday, September 26: The Old Bar, Melbourne
8pm / $10