Category Archives: philosophy

Queenstown - lake

One take ensured the final result – new album in progress

It’s been a long time. I had nothing to say. Frankly it was a tough time since the last post. The writing is on the wall for me and other impossible believers.  There is only a tiny ledge to stand on and it’s a long way down. In other news a new album has been recorded so there is that 🙂

The studio is a marvel

278 and Mischief   278 on the right is a star cow.

But one things certain. There will always be die hard fans for simple acoustic music just as there are patrons for tiny fine dining cafes.  We are not aiming to compete with Mac Donald’s. Ha ha. Hence the new album which was recorded here.

It took a few days to record. The studio is a marvel. It was designed around the superb microphones. It’s so good in fact that bare minimal mixing ensured to get the final result. THE BRIDGE. a song I wrote in 2005 was captured sooooo well. I don’t care what the critics say. It captured what I have wanted to convey since 2005. It’s 9 minutes long and breaks all the rules.

Then there’s FAR AWAY, TO PLAY OR NOT TO PLAY. which is a song based on a tune I wrote 40 years ago. Finally we captured that also. The recording quality is astonishing. Here is the studio.

Inside the studio
Inside the studio where we recorded the album

Working title ONE TAKE “Ensured the final result”
So simple. A tiny studio in the middle of a field perfectly sound insulated and proportioned to record one voice one guitar in one take where the capture is so good little needs to be done in post production.

Recording is the first step. Need to pay for that and also for mixing and mastering and other production logistics – hopefully with your help.

Pick an amount below to donate $NZ 5, 10, 20, 50 or $150 to Luke for the new album. A shopping cart will display immediately below ( or in the sidebar if that is easier) and this will allow you to make secure payments from your credit card via PayPal. So far the recording has cost $4k and a typical “no frills” budget is around $7k so it would be great if we get some help. We are thinking $20 and above gets you an early release of the album…

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On another front Crystal Chen’s movie TO BE OR NOT TO BE got a great response at the documentary film fest. Let me know if you want to see it. We can post it online now but it might be a good idea to use it as a fund raiser for the main feature we wanna make. Anyone interested in this project?we need all the help we can possibly get

If you feel inclined to donate to the realisation of impossible beliefs please do so.

Pick an amount below to donate $NZ 5, 20, 100 or $200 to Luke on behalf of Crystal. A shopping cart will display immediately below ( or in the sidebar if that is easier) and this will allow you to make secure payments from your credit card via PayPal. This gives us an idea of how much practical support there is for the film / extended video and will help it get made. We need to get permission from Crystal to show a copy of the clip but we are working on that.

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Subscribers to this blog have been a huge encouragement and it’s great to know there is support without the need to sell albums and flicks. No one wants to buy music or flicks. We have become accustomed to getting it free that’s why it’s ok for the creators of music and flicks to unashamedly ask for patronage and keep on regardless.

Just like medieval times. Artists had patrons. The only difference is the new patrons are the everyday folks. Let’s help each other.

Any of you readers with a good idea you wanna promote please send it to us. You might want to get the word out for support of your impossible belief also! Let’s have a look at it anyway. I have to go return my guitar to the warehouse before it closes.

FINALLY one last thing…

The month of July is tour month so please let me know if you have a gig for us. Houseconcerts a specialty. I can play at yours in return for accomodation and a nose bag. We pass the hat around at the gig. Best way to arrange that is for you to phone me on +64 21 025 92919 or landline +64 9 629 5179

It’s a low key working holiday and no one gets rich but we get to catch up in real life outside wwwland See over here for updates.

To your safety
God bless

Let Me Take You By The Hand And Lead You Thru The Streets Of Auckland

You have to visit the Auckland CBD to witness the exponential increase in homeless people

Property investors have had their fun in creating the biggest bubble in history.
While some wait for the bubble to burst with a slump in property values.
Others are experiencing the burst already in terms of not being able to afford a place to live.
And where do many of them head?

Into town or head for the hills.
The hills are better but if they end up in town where do they go?
The busiest corners and outside supermarkets of course
The giant supers in town have become streetpeoplecentral
Not for one or two but for three or twenty at a time hovering round the main entrances
And you know what?

It’s not my problem
It’s probably not your problem
It’s not the governments problem
Or the banks
Or the landlords
Or the vagrants themselves
You know what
It’s OUR problem

It affects everybody who arrives in our 100% clean green commercial capital delusion.
It’s beyond belief that a country that hosts some of the richest people and corporates in the world is happy to tolerate this situation. The rich have a duty to offer real support as only they can afford to build for the poor. And create a building industry concerned with the equitable and not just about equity and instant returns.
No one else can afford to.

One time I was playing outside a super and the manager and assistant manager told me I couldn’t play. I told them I could. See some of that story below and earlier.

That was back in the good old days when all they had to do was shoo away one street musician.
Now they need to move tuneless multitudes.
People with nothing to lose tend to stick around.
And people who can do concerts don’t need to play where they are not wanted.

Anyway. Speaking of concerts – there is one coming up and I am happy to report that Dave Alley has agreed to be wingman.

Check out the this video from Dave.

Dave is dynamic and down to earth and puts on a performance not to be missed.

“Dave Alley is influenced chiefly by Dylan, Bowie, Bukowski et al, Fry, Hendrix, Buddy Guy, Richard Thompson, Waits and the tones of Santana, Dave Alley isn’t sure who or what, musically & lyrically, he is. Ending up being a heavily refracted version of himself most of the time. Dave is a spiritually sonic cluster fuzz of atoms whizzing around and around and around, perhaps a little more so after good fresh-ground morning coffee..”

We have other guests and will keep you posted. Please come to the show and even consider sponsoring others to come in your place if you can’t come!

click here for tickets

All the best for now
Luke. Call me if you want to help with the show. Its only a week away 021 0259 2919

Graham Brazier – a Danger to Shipping

The first time I heard of Graham was way back in the day when Hello Sailor was creating a sensation in the same way as the Stones had a decade earlier in the old country. At that time I was living in the city famous for boasting a quarter capacity town hall for none other than the Beatles..again – more than a decade before. I wasn’t there when the Beatles played but I got to see Hello Sailor at the Shoreline all those years later and I have to say they were really something. They sounded like the real thing and had charisma long before Mark Todd had the horse. No pun intended.

Speaking of which – and at this time – I had a friend who called herself Issy and she was well acquainted with the “airline made of snow” to quote Steppenwolf. She told me that she had a mental condition which involved the loss of the will to work and that when she was tasting she and her boyfriend wouldn’t do anything at all and he would not say a word for days on end and it drove her crazy and that’s probably  why she came to live in the city that didn’t succumb to the Beatles….She took me to see Graham play …..

The Shoreline was absolutely packed and Brazier was bigger than Elvis and friend or no friend it was just impossible to get near him. So I didn’t get to meet  him until I opened for his band the Legionaires  at Vic  Orientation many years later and again at the Shoreline in the 80s and a Rock Festival in Te Anau  about a decade ago where I was greeted with conviviality and asked how I was to which I replied   “I’m a danger to shipping”….which was greeted with much hilarity and from that moment I think I became one of his many friends.

If I had the time and saw that the shop was open I visited him cause you just sensed it would not be open next time you passed by….and often it wasn’t and if you pointed this out to him he would always tell you he kept regular hours. At first he was a bit wary of me but in time it was possible to hang out and share a box of dumplings from San Bao next door and listen to his amazing stories few of which were about himself and his life in music but more about writers and his father and the way his father instilled into him the fact that there is an 8th deadly sin……Gossip. I was an offender and he made it perfectly clear that he was very put out. He left a message on my answerphone something like this

“Hey Luke. Graham Brazier here.  I’m not ashamed to put my name before the GCSB.  There’s a message from the past that’s come back to haunt me and i think you may be a protagonist…This is  going back to an incident 14 years ago, so i need to talk to you.. and remembering this my son… gossip is the devils radio i need to talk to you. If you’ve got anything below your belt and above your underpants  come and see me my friend please. I need to talk to you cause this has turned evil. Gossip is the devils radio*.”

“Gossip is the devils radio and gossip is the 8th deadly sin.”

Come and see me…So I did and he forgave me and we in fact became closer friends after that.


A few weeks ago I tried to buy a book off him. He was going to sell it and at the last moment decided instead to lend it to me. He told me that he NEVER lent books and that he wanted it back. I have it still.

At the funeral yesterday it was astonishing to discover that in the early days of his songwriting career Graham liked to do a 20k run before picking up his guitar. He loved nature and walking on the beach and in the hills and believed that if he touched alcohol he wouldn’t be able to stop .

His son spoke of how Graham was not afraid of moving on. “Son…don’t be scared of death. Don’t worry. It’s beautiful and peaceful without pain. Like I’m floating. It’s real nice”, and he didn’t want to come back.

He is happy and he told us not to worry so lets put  the whiskey bottle back in the box marked “props”. Graham don’t need it anymore.

* Eds note: Gossip is the devils radio is a George Harrison song off 1987 album Cloud 9.

If you need help just ask

We are getting used to consuming instant, ready-mix, rehash entertainment, Like a river flowing out of wide screens, Endless Home Box Office films and series deliver violence, sex, and psychotic fantasies of the highest production value but devoid of any real nourishment.

Who has the gumption to ask for simple, live original music played in their own space? It’s direct and intimate, and without the general craziness we have come to see as normal in canned corporate entertainment.

Update: Live show coming up at Scarecrow on Sept 3rd

In my last post, I offered to play in-house gigs, To prove that there can be a viable house concert circuit here.

NZ has an area as big as Great Britain inhabited by 20 times fewer souls.

Yet we act as if we live in a country that has a huge population. Consequently most gigs are in venues way bigger than called for.

The cost of putting on such shows often outweighs the returns.

The average venue gets such small turnouts that you could literally invite the audience back to your own living room. So why not do just that?

START WITH ME! Book a house concert

coffeeEd says: here is a button then… Booking fee buys a coffee and secures the date which is subject to confirmation. 

Click button to buy me a coffee and talk to me about a houseparty $4 (NZD) at your place  Call me 021 025 92919. Just tell me what’s involved and I will tell you what I can do.  At this stage its experimental so lets feel it out. Email me with your request and some details.

new_sbThanks again for the huge help with the new SB guitar to replace the stolen one. Soon I will no longer be famous for having lost a guitar but famous for having friends who replaced it! Thanks to y’all


Many thanks to Siobhan & Bernard Demeester, Geoff Wiklund, WonderWebs, Larry Freilich, William Paynter, Jeremy Belcher, John Buckeridge, Darren Bayliss, Penny Cliffin, Nick – Stone Arrow Jewellery, Gordon Becket, Gregor Cameron, Glen Molesworth, Corene Higgins, Derek Butland, John Payne, Andrew Nash, Alysson Parker, Jason Kemp, Lance Flavell, Anthony Skeggs, Taylored Artwork, Julz, Duncan Gillies, Nicholas Tufillaro, Richard Trotman, Elizabeth O’Connor, Leon Earl, David Parker and last but not least my amazing big hearted brother Paul.

So please keep me in mind for a gathering and see if I can compete with Game of Thrones. Ha ha!

If you are a guitarist and would like Steve Barkman to make you a guitar, or repair or restore one, then I would highly recommend him.

 Address: 15 Dickson St, Macandrew Bay 9014, Dunedin Phone: 03-476 1463 (021) 180 6249

 If you want to help more directly, please use the buttons below to make a supporting donation towards the guitar.

Steve Barkman card

Make a donation towards guitar

If anything is raised above the target it will go towards Steve repairing my other guitars and recording the new album. You will be emailed directly by Paypal P.S click on red buttons if you make a mistake & need to deduct amounts from the shopping cart.

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SB 12 is now ready

It is with great pleasure that I can report that Steve Barkman has completed work on a replacement for my 12-string guitar. You will (remember when) _the last one got stolen_ ages ago and the media got involved trying to find it. For a long time now I have been answering the same question over and over: “Did you ever find it?”

We finally have a solution, and it is a brand spanking new Mk3.
The old Mk1 reached a point where I had played it so much it was totally gone, and Steve had to cannibalise it for bits and pieces to make the Mk2. Which ended up getting nicked.

The new one is exquisite, and just waiting for me to pay the price.

After the last one got stolen, I received much support which kept me going. I used what I had to pay for a new neck on my six-string Takoma.

This was the only guitar I had which I could use for gigs, and I still use it to this day, but now my signature instrument is ready and I can get back to normal. I can’t tell you what a relief it is, since this comes at the time when I am due to record a new album.

 My studios of choice are Roundhead and Eieio in Te Puke.

 So! The plan is simple: 
1. Purchase the new SB 12. This will be easy if I get the kind of support I got last time.
 2. Record the next album (yes – new songs coming!).

If you feel like supporting the cause I won’t get in your way! I am not ashamed to ask for help in an industry where we are expected to give 99% of our material away with no way of profiting*.

 So you see… if the biz don’t work – and it clearly clearly doesn’t – then the best next option is to hold out my tiny hand and smile nicely and promise to make you a lovely, lovely album and play at yours any time you please! Call me now!! 021 025 929 19.

Anyone who donates $50 or more (buttons below) gets the first release of the new songs.

I’m also thinking about holding a group guitar workshop and hopefully a concert or two. Let me know what you want. I’m working on the new album but need the new guitar to make the sound the best it can be.

Thanks for the huge support and encouragement in the past, but please keep doing it, ’cause I really need to pay off this guitar. Once it is in my hands I will be able to reply to, “Did you ever find your guitar?” with, “No, but this one is WAY better!”

If you are a guitarist and would like Steve Barkman to make you a guitar, or repair or restore one, then I would highly recommend him.

 Address: 15 Dickson St, Macandrew Bay 9014, Dunedin Phone: 03-476 1463 (021) 180 6249

 If you want to help more directly, please use the buttons below to make a supporting donation towards the guitar.
Steve Barkman card

You will be emailed directly by Paypal P.S click on red buttons if you make a mistake & need to deduct amounts from the shopping cart.

Donate $5 (NZD)
Donate $10 (NZD)
Donate $50 (NZD)
Donate $100 (NZD)
Donate $200 (NZD)

Update: 10 August. Thanks to those of you who have made donations or bought more music in the store. As of today you /we have raised 67%  74% of the cost of the guitar. A few more donations would be welcome  to pay off the last 33%  26% thanks.

*ED notes: The true cost of streaming: Spotify paid Kiwi band with five-star reviews and 90,000 streams just $130

Summary below – but read the full article.

“Local band She’s So Rad earned multiple 5-star reviews for their album Tango and have two songs on A-rotate on Hauraki.
• Yet they’ve only sold a total of 20 physical CDs and 50 digital albums.
• They have had 90,000 songs streamed on Spotify, earning them $130
• Toy says: “It’s just much worse than we expected. I expected it to be bad, but this far surpasses it.”

How About That Then

StJamesTheatreThe good news is that the St James Auckland is open again.
The bad news is it closes in March 2016 for three years while a 39 story apartment block gets built next to it.

That gives us a little window to do shows there. Go have a look. The doors are open daily and you are invited to walk around (and a cafe has setup.)

“How about that then?”
Reminds me of when my son was heading for the grand old age of one and he was still not talking. Then all of a sudden he blurts out in perfect English

“How about that then”.

Dylan called his fans ardents .
He was a poet with the following of an A list rock star
He was based in a tiny extremely conservative village in Wales..
When invited to tour the US his wife encouraged him to court the “gullible Americans” and bring home some much needed money
At home when not writing he liked to loll around in the bath sucking on boiled sweets or hang out with his buddies sinking vast amounts of alcohol

Imagine the contrast of touring America , being hailed as a genius and performing in the best places well paid and surrounded by worshipful beautiful people.
You would think that this would be a good time to let the old habits go ,wake up and smell the coffee and embrace a rosy future
He preferred instead to drink whenever possible, generally squander all his money and get involved in absurd romances
He returned home penniless
O dear.
Strange how many people follow the same pattern in the face of success
Why so many artists foul their own nests when presented with the “big time”?
I guess it just don’t seem real
Cause in fact it isn’t
It crumbles in the first little huff and puff

My father was a surgeon and in his spare time an abstract painter
He considered himself a painter first and a surgeon second
Its an expensive career. Quality art materials cost a FORTUNE
He only got the best.
He was tortured by doubt and worry but there was no doubt he had something.
I own one oil of his and the Eastern Southland Gallery in Gore has most of the rest of his work.
A large body of his work was destroyed in a fire recently.
Thousands of hours work and HUGE expense and intense application all up in smoke
The record of most of his work is lost forever


Which reminds me of an experience I had in Grafton St Dublin Ireland -the home of my father (he was born in Cork and studied in Dublin)

This guy comes up to me and gives me a 50 Euro note.
He invited me to join him and his friends for dinner in a place close by
When I got there he told me to put my amp on the bar and start playing
I played for hours and people streamed thru the place
The people he introduced me to were obviously onto it and successful in their various fields
Who was this guy and how did he have the authority to take the place over?
The staff didn’t bat an eyelid about me playing in this place that had never had live music before

At the end of this extraordinary night we had a chat and I told these guys my big plan for “making it” in Ireland
They just stared at me like I was a total imbecile “You don’t need to talk shit to us” they said
And followed up with the best advice ever.
“Just play like a bastard”
“Forget about selling anything> Just play!”

That’s it folks
The greatest thing a musician can do is just play sing write
Nothing can replace the live here and now
Never mind the bollocks
Just play!

If you want me to play for you just call me 021 0259195 and I will come and play like a bastard at yours

Keep safe

Everything we do is part of the art

There is a Billy Apple exhibition on in Auckland
My friend Clive rates him highly
Clive pointed out to me that everything we do is part of the art
The artist himself is a brand and everything he does makes up that brand
The thing I really like about Billy is this …that the artist himself IS the art
So everything he does is relevant
There is no real point in trying to hide behind a thin veneer of bling
Mr Apple takes it to extremes

But I suggest a moderate version of his stye
Just be honest and not afraid to expose the sensitive issues
Fact is an artist is not a superhero
He is just creating art and in doing so he IS the art
His weakness can be turned into strengths
Like in the Tesla car.
The huge extra weight of the battery gives the car incomparable traction and stability
You can’t roll it in a standard roll test
There is the line “My strength is made perfect in weakness”
Love that line
Where does it come from?

Got some great feedback from Potato Sack Perry
He advises me to write regular blogs and to talk about ME
I would love to do that
Here goes!

For years I have had a problem with sitting down and writing songs.
I know I can do it but I prefer to work on my feet as it were and play constantly to discover all kinds of riffs and ideas
The music develops this way but what about the lyrics?
Not so good for developing lyrics
I really need to apply the seat of my pants to the seat of the chair
That’s what I am doing right now and its not too painful

I wanna write a song about MS anyone out there with information on this disease?
Have you heard of BID FOR A BETTER LIFE?
I have been asked to submit a song for this cause

Thanks for getting in touch Patrick
Could I ever forget? Ha ha
You also have been a big inspiration to me
I loved your insights and your stories
Especially the one about the Top Guns party
Can we tell it to the people? Its a great story.

You see? It works
I asked for feedback from my last blog and I got it
I now ask for even more so that we can really start to roll this blog
Tell me if there is anything I can do for you
People used to say that ALL the time
You don’t hear that so often these days

I wanna post up the lyrics of my songs and the chords
Just give the music away
Why not?
Elon Musk gives everything away and he’s a billionaire as a result
The more you give the more you get to give more

Tallk soon