Category Archives: Song Stories

backgrounds to songs -( write this in the post section)

Albatross – Song Stories

This was my first song.  It started out as a campaign piece to support the opposition to the Aramoana Aluminum smelter can you imagine how mental that proposal was?

Building such a thing in close proximity to the only albatross colony that is close to a city it would have snapped the golden thread of Dunedins environmental appeal.  It would have been an environmental catastrophe; like the one in bluff that exudes lethal toxins over a massive area and kinda puts the kibosh on other potential industry and all for what?

We run at a loss to support the vandals – enough said.

Anyway, the song became more about comparisons between man & machine vs nature. We can fly high and fast but the envirocost is incalculable.The albatross is loyal and faithful and at one with nature and entwined with mystery.

We by contrast are living by logic and tempered by greed. It’s not logical to shit in our own nest but the ghastly fiction of LTD is our operating system and our psychopathic justifier.

It’s totally nuts but because it’s common practice sanctioned by a crooked legal mechanism – alls well that ends badly.

It’s a good song, tho i say so myself and in fact probs my best song; I should have quit while i was ahead ha ha. Here is a live version from last year. Played on a baritone guitar (Tacoma Thunderhawk) rebuilt by Steve Barkman.

The line that i was proud to find was “every day is your judgement day”.  I feel that a good song is there to be found. It’s like it existed already. All i had to do was chip away the junk around it and reveal the message that was waiting to be found.

It’s like that playing live also the audience can draw new things out of the performer and link their search (with the song.)

Anyway the campaign to stop the madmen from building a smelter was a huge success and I wasn’t directly part of it.  The leader of it was some years later gunned down by David Gray.

I really want to know more about this Save Aramoana issue and write more about it.  Anyone out there remember anyone who was involved with the movement to stop the smelter? (Comment below please.)

The people involved deserve the equivalent of the Victoria cross for environmental heroism.  Dunedin owes them a huge debt of gratitude if only there were more people willing to front up and appose the Licence To Destroy (LTD) merchants.

Listen to another version of the song and buy if you like it ( below.)

A perfect day in leafy over privileged inner suburbia

Casting my mind back to the days prior to making HIGH RISK late last century in fact.

The day it happened was a perfect day in leafy over privileged inner suburbia”.

There was the father in law loading up the trailer with the few things needed from the old life;
And in a moment they will get in his car.

The wife and the kids and just about everything of any meaning,
Will cruise sedately down the driveway and out of my life FOREVER.

And the home you had will turn into a museum,
Things will remind you of moments and moments will remind you of things.

You just know that your are the worst boy in the school of life and that the headmaster is gonna expel you;
And all the things you could have done and didn’t will haunt you FOREVER.

Not only that but you won’t even have ashamed parents to return to.

And where you live was a home and is now just a house you can barely afford to rent;
You will have only yourself to blame.

Only yourself to console yourself…

So there it was
Knowing myself to be a miserable failure. Feeling deeply hurt and terrified but……..

Also knowing a deep peace.
The deep peace of Reha (the feeling of knowing that you live forever and that you are loved by your creator.)

It didn’t come from me.

Why does it take twenty years for me to be able to recognise it?

Because at the time and for many years after it was way too painful to really think about.

My own sense of failure was too great to allow any acknowledgement of the absolute

But the thing I did do is start working on an album.
It was possible thanks to a friend who put up the money.

He never turns up these days but perhaps he doesn’t need to.
Perhaps he felt he needed to at least help me get my confidence in writing back.

And I discovered one thing for sure. When you are in despair that is the time to express yourself.


The song – Small Town starts off at this point. Have a listen by clicking play below. You may download this song for free or pay more as you wish. The full ‘High Risk’ album is $10 or more if you want to.

Am I doing alright
To settle down
In a small town

I don’t want to leave the city
& make me blue
thinking of the pity
of doing it like you
you know you don’t care now
what it is that I do
you’re a fashion designer
I see the labelling
you do

“I don’t want to leave the city”
you say
“It would make me blue”
if I ever left the city
until I make
a million or two

“Things will remind you of moments and moments will remind you of things.”

Reflections on the remains of the day

i often feel kinda low biorhythmically especiaĺly earlier in the day. By the time the office workers are heading home i start to feel like starting my real “work” in fact back in my youth i could work all night on a song and finish by dawn and feel like a king.

The rest of my life was a trainwreck though ….but at the time i didn’t realise how good some of my writing was. I underestimated the worth of my material. Perhaps that was the secret.

Self Doubt can be a spur.
Concert Update: for tomorrow 6th August

  • We are pleased with the support so far. Radio campaign is covered and other expenses will be covered considerable tho they be BUT we need your input. Pls book here.
  • Kids have free entry and the event is family friendly
  • Refreshments will be available. A new development. However you welcome to bring a bento or other food.
  • The show will be recorded and filmed. The material will be original. Atmosphere convivial
  • Cost of entry minimal – with 5+ performers on the night

So; Turn your pc off. Watch Netflix some other time. Bring a friend if you have one and if you don’t come along and make new friends at the concert.

See you there and if you need help to find us call me on 021 0259 2919


Here is a taster from Duncan & Angel

But……there is one area where self doubt is not required…when reaching out to a long lost buddy. And i can illustrate it with this story

Long ago i went to a Berkley School of jazz course being held in Wellington. John Schofield was one of the guitar teachers. Love his playing still. Check him out.

At this course i also met Jeff Dickie from Dunedin. He told me that being a pro wasn’t for him and he preferred to look elsewhere for his livelihood. He went on to achieve great things both in music and other pursuits and for decades i have often reflected upon what he told me the best part of four decades ago. He is a great chap and i always felt in awe of him

I assumed he wouldn’t want to hear from me but for once i decided to give my self doubt a break.

I found his number and called and naturally expected him to be kinda distant and perplexed as to why i should call. His response was the reverse. He was very pleased to hear from me and filled me in on what he did immediately after the Berkley course. He also offered to play on my next recording session ….the last thing i expected! He is kindness itself.

Here is what he wrote to me following our chat regarding that time way back in the early 80s

“I went to the USA in 1981 to buy a Mesa Boogie amplifier. I read about them and couldn’t sleep until I had one. I went through epic iIiad sagas to get my hands on one….. the factory couldn’t supply me with one as the waiting list had a who’s who of world famous guitarists waiting.. Including Clapton, Townsend, BB King etc etc. I then spied what I wanted in a free San Francisco newspaper and rushed off to buy it. When I returned to my hotel I turned on the TV to find a bloke had sat down on the same park bench where I had read the paper an hour before and was shot dead by an unknown assailant! How did I digress to here? A week later I was traveling through the Rockies near Denver when the Greyline bus stopped at a small mountain village in the middle of nowhere. Pete Peterson, the red-neck bus driver suggested we try the one local bar for a beer and a sandwich. There we were greeted by John Hinckley Junior, who about a week later shot President Ronnie Reagan! This is absolutely true. “


By the way the show on Saturday. Let me explain

  1. It’s a long show why? It’s not just about me. We have some great acts and it starts early so families can come. Btw. Kids free
  2. It costs heaps but if it fills up we will cover expenses. If it doesn’t then the next show is gonna cost a lot more to attend so pleeeeeeeeease support it
  3. Bring by all means your own picnic. It’s not a cafe
  4. Come and go as ya please and yes you can get tickets at the door or now online BUT its filling up fast and with the interview on BFM from 6 tonight i aim to plug the last seats and fill the venue… “Every day is international blues music day” but apparently that happens tomorrow too.
  5. We have the best soundman and soundsystem that you can get. His name is Paul Crowther SPLIT ENZ drummer and Hotcake inventor
  6. Great friends – Basant. Tabla. Duncan and angel. Marcus. Steve. And mystery guest

I will be playing short sets early on and a long set to finish the show. It will be fun please come and or sponsor the event.

Thank you Alan for supporting the BFM campaign

Any questions? Call me 021 0259 2919

Before the War – concert 6th August

Before the war is a song I co wrote with Ardy who wrote the lyrics in response to his experience fighting in the Iran / Iraq war in which more than a million people died . As with most wars the given reasons for the conflict probably had nothing to do with the publicised reasons.

At a crossroads it was observed that military supplies for both sides were in a long line originating at the same source turning right or left at the the intersection according to which side was being weaponised. We wrote this song some time ago.

Displaced by wars

Since we wrote it more than 60million people have been rendered homeless due to wars around the world* …so it’s time to sing this song everywhere. Ask us to play the song to you call me 021 0259 2919 and i will even sing it to your phone and please come to the next concert. *Chart is from 2014 Latest numbers here

“Since early 2011, the main reason for the acceleration has been the war in Syria, now the world’s single-largest driver of displacement. Every day last year on average 42,500 people became refugees, asylum seekers, or internally displaced, a four-fold increase in just four years.”

Luke Hurley & Friends concert. The remains of the day. Saturday August 6th, 5-10pm. The venue address is Western Springs Garden Community Hall, 956 Great North Rd, Western Springs. Entry $20 Tickets at the door or use online ticketing below.

$20 a ticket  P.S click on orange buttons below to buy shopping cart. You will be emailed directly by secure PayPal

Please use the buttons below for concert tickets

One ticket $20 (NZD)
2 tickets $40 (NZD)
4 tickets $80 (NZD)
Group of 10 -bring 9 of your buddies & you get a free ticket $180.00 (NZD)

P.s if possible please book tickets now to ensure a smoother production. The last show was a cliffhanger and somewhat shambolic due to the last minuteness of it. The Aug 6 gig is gonna be smooth and enlightening. It’s not just entertainment It’s therapy but with a real edge that addresses things the lamestream won’t ever contemplate

Not that we object to mainstream its just that it’s so constrained to please everyone that it pleases no one and tends to mirror society in warped looking glass.

“Let the people have their peaceful lives
A feeling of belongingness
Just like you
Before the war”

I will introduce you to Ardy and other friends during the show and an itinery will be posted so you know the lineup the ample running time will accomodate.


It’s going to be convivial. Feel free to enjoy the remains of the day with us.

Download the A3 version of the poster here. Luke A3 Poster August


To Be Perfectly Honest

Honesty is an elusive quality is it not?

“You don’t make money telling the truth”

So what do you do? Confess  to anyone who will listen?


I like the third option. My life in music has been one of a denial of reality in one sense and a keen awareness of it in another. It’s like there are two Lukes. The one who made Make Room and the one who made High Risk.  Working on the new album I discover a hybrid of the two.

The song – Honesty off the Reha album lyrics are below

Well I see you’re pretty young
And you’ve got a fine degree
And you look so beautiful
That you’d make the blind man see

When I saw you – I just knew
That you would be a friend to me
And I would be a friend to you
We could share some honest company

Honesty (honesty) means a lot to me
Honesty (honesty) means a lot to me

Cause a man could fall in love with you
If you gave him half a chance
But I wonder if this love is true
Or is it just romance

Just romance
Just romance

Honesty means a lot to me
Honesty, honesty means a lot to me

Honesty, honestly means a lot to me
Honesty, honestly means a lot to us – yes it does

Yes it does.

I wrote this song in the days when I visited Auckland to get a break from Dunedin. In those days no one busked. One day I was busking in Vulcan Lane  one very quiet mid afternoon in summer. When I say quiet…it was dead and I was playing at the High St end near the hot potato and yoghurt ice cream shop (a very popular lunch spot but it went broke on account of cash being extorted from the business on a daily basis).
A wonderful elderly gentleman was dancing to the music I played one very quiet mid afternoon in summer. When I say quiet…it was dead.

To give you an idea of how conservative Auckland was in those days way back in the mid 80s….The lady in the hot spud shop called the cops and had him arrested. The bottle he had been holding  was confiscated and left with her. She put it in my guitar case probably assuming it was a bottle of turps or something.Taking it out of its brown paper bag I discovered a brand new unopened bottle of Napoleon brandy.

Thank God things have changed. Nowadays you could dance naked  in Vulcan Lane and no one would complain
There was a girl who would often passed by  walking her dog .She was always friendly and appreciated the music. Few there were who did .So  bedazzled was I….and imagined her to be closer to an angel than a human. Young men worship beautiful women and this sometimes inhibits their ability to strike up a meaningful dialogue. Romance was out of the question….her being so perfect and unreachable.Just as well. Probably would hve been big trouble!

In the years since its dawned on me that society rewards  dishonesty. “You don’t make money telling the truth”…and commerce thrives on war.

But I wasn’t to know that then and still feel more drawn to the light than to the darkness but I’m just as much a creature of the night as the next guy…which leads to another song in another blog coming up soon


“If you do not tell the truth about yourself you cannot tell it about other people.”
Virginia Woolf

“The simple step of a courageous individual is not to take part in the lie. “One word of truth outweighs the world.”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Be safe and please respond if you have a thought for this little guy

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

This is the age of the civilised robot

I wrote a song called “Shadow Of The Factory”
At that time I was working at a slaughterhouse
Hosing down beef carcasses and listening to Hamlet on my sony walkman…

Here is that song. BTW – my Best of Album is now on bandcamp

The headphone speakers were installed inside ear muffs
I was pleased with my innovation
My dayjob was merely theatre
The Royal Shakespeare Company performed Hamlet with me in my little world of slaughter

All day long I would ride up and down on my pneumatic platform high pressure hosing down the bodies swaying on their hooks
I had the cleanest job on the line until………

One day I was shown another job ..this time in the offal department separating entrails.
The guy who showed me this job was-I thought- just being friendly and letting me see another side of the work being done in our house of horrors

I told him I was very happy I didn’t have to work in his department and thanks for showing me another side of the works.

He told me to wait a minute while he had a chat to his boss When he returned he announced cheerfully “Guess what your new job is?”

In my spare time I used to get wasted in The Tai Pei owned by Eddy Chin. He didn’t book me too often cause I wasn’t a BAND. One act he booked called COOL BANANAS didn’t turn up. His response was “They not Cool Banana..they rotten banana”

I felt like a rotten banana myself in those days. I was writing my best stuff but the venues paid nothing for original acts (they still don’t) Furthermore no one knew what I was on about

I wrote the Shadow Of The Factory to unburden myself of the sense of meaninglessness I was feeling in my work. I invented a factory and a disgruntled worker and put them in a song

“I worked for years and your factory
You say there’s no more work for me
For what its worth I’d work for free
For what its worth in your plastic money
You phase me out
You phase me out
I live in fear
Cold as ice
Just as clear
That you only be so strong
While the power is on
When the big fuse blows
Gonna have to go
Digital watch don’t tick or tock
This is the age of the civilised robot
Profit for the big think man
Do you fit that big think plan?”

A disgruntled factory employee is laid off by the factory boss who later re-employs him as a golf caddy
First opportunity the factory gets to automate what he’s doing
And he’s gone
All done with “plastic money” by masters of high finance

The last verse has our disgruntled working class hero playing his part in the leisure industry
His boss makes him an offer he can’t refuse
He reflects thus
“Pretty soon you gonna say
I can work as you play
Hey Louie be my caddie today
36 holes and I plainly see
36 holes in the shadow
Of the factory”

So he gets a new job working on the golfcourse next to the factory he used to work in
Same boss lower pay the shadow of the old world cast across the new

I am told that the NSA is known as the shadow factory
I had no way of knowing this then of course
I will have to sue the NSA for stealing my phrase
Ha ha

“This is the age of the civilised robot”

We can survive but do we have to dump heart and soul to do it?

“Not worth to do that” as Eddy Chin would say. What do you think?