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Welcome to Living in the Land of Oz

Howzat! Archive - December 12th 2012

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THE SON ALSO RISES
It's a fascinating premise for a book: What if Elvis had a son? "Maybe that's my problem," Angus Flynn says at the start of Zippin Pippin, the new novel by Benjamin Grant Mitchell, "maybe I don't really know who I am?"

Zippin Pippin ($24.95 through benjamingrantmitchell.com) - named after Elvis' favourite roller-coaster - is a rollicking ride; part road trip, part romantic adventure. It tells the tale of Angus Pippin Flynn, the son of a country singer, Hank, who relocates from Memphis to Australia. It's like a classic country song, filled with drinking and regret. Will Angus be able to find true love, discover the identity of his real dad, and experience life on his "own terms instead of accepting your fate as some other person's shit-kicker"?

Benjamin got the idea for the book while living in London. He wrote a song called The King (which can be heard at myspace.com/zippinpippin), which "really inspired the whole darn thing". The book quotes a stack of "Angus Flynn" songs. "Every song is a 'real' song, written by me," Benjamin tells Howzat! There's also a Hank Flynn "Christmas hit", My Best Present Ever. It sounds like a seasonal smash: "All my Christmases have come at once, now I have you in my arms/ All my loneliness has disappeared, now I have you here/ Oh, I thank the heavens, for my best present ever." "I have a songbook of all 27 songs, which I'd love to record. As yet, I've only done home demos. Ideally, I'd love to go into a studio and catch some of that live magic you can only find when a band gets going. Maybe if the book goes well, I'll get that opportunity."

With Zippin Pippin and his autobiographical debut, The Last Great Day, Benjamin has emerged as one of Australia's finest new writers. And he's forging his own path. As Hank tells Angus, "Don't ever compare yourself to anyone. There might be some more famous than you but that don't make 'em better. Popular ain't good - just popular. Just write what you like. You'll know whether it's good or not. Good's good." A meeting with an old musician in Mississippi is instructive. "The only thing kids worship these days is fame," the old man tells Angus. "They think doin' what everyone famous has done before 'em is gonna get them famous too. But they're just scared. Too scared to stand up for anything, they follow everything." Benjamin, a musician (he released the album The Stars Can See in 2006) and former Neighbours star, has found his calling. Zippin Pippin is a rippin read.


P76 MOTOR BACK
Danny McDonald ranks alongside Bernie Quinlan and Kelvin Templeton as the finest talent to come out of Traralgon. He knows how to write a nifty pop tune. Danny's most-loved band, P76, is "taking a road trip back to the '90s" to celebrate the release of their catalogue on iTunes, including the Dom Mariani-produced album, Into The Sun. P76 are doing a one-off show at Yah Yah's on Friday, 21 December.


HAPPY MAN
Howzat! bumped into Danny McDonald at the Sunnyboys show at the Corner. As Ron Peno sang, God bless them and God bless you. It was great to see the 'boys back in town. They still possess a remarkable guitar sound, and drummer Bil Bilson reminds of the E Street Band's Mighty Max Weinberg - they don't look like drummers but, boy, can they play. The Sunnyboys return for A Day On The Green with Elvis Costello next month.


GOTYE'S GRAMMY WHAMMY
Only one Australian has won a Grammy for Record of the Year - Olivia Newton John for I Honestly Love You in 1975. Gotye has a chance to match that feat, with the nomination for Somebody That I Used To Know (which has been in the ARIA Top 100 for 74 weeks). Gotye and Kimbra are also up for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, and Making Mirrors is in the running for Best Alternative Album. The winners will be announced on 10 February.


CHART WATCH
Justice Crew have the week's highest new entry.

What You've Done To Me SAMANTHA JADE (number six)
Get Along GUY SEBASTIAN (17)
Best Night JUSTICE CREW (18, debut)
Battle Scars GUY SEBASTIAN (22)
Party Bass BOMBS AWAY (34)
Rock Star REECE MASTIN (39)
Boom Boom JUSTIC CREW (40)

The Seekers celebrate their 50th birthday by leaping from 31 to 14.

Armageddon GUY SEBASTIAN (number five)
The Golden Jubilee Album THE SEEKERS (14)
The Sapphires SOUNDTRACK (15)
Live At River Plate AC/DC (17)
Beautiful Nightmare REECE MASTIN (19)
Flume FLUME (21)
Falling & Flying 360 (26)
The Temper Trap THE TEMPER TRAP (28)
Child Of The Universe DELTA GOODREM (29)
The Ol' Razzle Dazzle MISSY HIGGINS (33)
Lonerism TAME IMPALA (36)


HOWZAT! PLAYLIST
Broken Heart Attack BEKI COLADA
Breathe LAUREN BRUCE
Saturday Night Fever DAN LETHBRIDGE
Blue Solitude LIVINGSTONE DAISIES
Sleeping In P76

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