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Howzat! Archive - July 14th 2010

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You gotta love the Melbourne music community. "It's a real force, isn't it?" says Charles Jenkins. Already this year we've had the SLAM Rally, the Community Cup and Ash Naylor's surprise 40th. Now, Chuck is going back-to-back with his Balls. Last year's Blue Atlas Winter Ball was voted local Gig of the Year by Off The Record listeners on RRR. "See you next year," Chuck declared at the end of the all-star jam version of Dylan's Baby Let Me Follow You Down. True to his word, the Charles Jenkins and the Zhivagos' 2010 Winter Ball is happening at the Corner on Saturday, with an incredible cast, including Stephen Cummings, Rebecca Barnard, Nick Barker, Rob Craw, Rob Snarski, Suzannah Espie, Ash Naylor, Kat Spazzy, Jeff Lang, Angie Hart, Davey Lane, Georgia Fields, as well as the return of the redoubtable Ron Peno. As well as singing with Chuck, Ron will do two sets with his new band, RSVP and The Return To Senders. He agrees that the Ball is another great example of the beauty of the Melbourne music community. "It is beautiful," Ron remarks. "I came here in 2003, and I'm never leaving."

The Winter Ball is also a celebration of Chuck's songwriting genius. Rebecca Barnard says: "Charles Jenkins is one of those rare generous musicians who wants to see us all doing well. He is a beautiful songwriter and it's a pleasure to be singing one of his songs at the Ball."

Last year's Winter Ball was unforgettable. Howzat!'s friend Michael mentioned that he hadn't seen so many pretty girls in the one room in a long time. But Chuck's memories are a little, er, hazy. "The very large backstage bar tab still haunts me," he laughs. But when pressed for the 2009 highlights, he lists: "The stunning crowd, the way the venue was dressed Davey Lane's white suit was pretty cool, I reckon, and Zhivagos drummer Dave Milne was heroic, I thought."

The 2009 Ball was filmed, so will there be a DVD release? "I don't know, perhaps," Chuck says. "There were some real performance peaks, but, unfortunately, a lot of the footage involved my appearance, so I think we would struggle to get a decent censorship classification."

Howzat! can reveal that the new Charles Jenkins and The Zhivagos album - to be released late September - will be called The Diamond Light. "The title comes from a John Pilger description of his boyhood spent at the beach," Chuck explains. "It's a big, beautiful, sprawling record made at a sheep station homestead near the South Australian border and mixed in St Kilda." Expect to hear some big hooks. "Prior to writing the album, Zhivagos bass player Art Starr mentioned to me the idea of putting choruses and riffs into songs, a practice I'd long abandoned! Anyhow, I started to take a shine to that novel concept, and the album is littered with the things." Remarkably, two Chuck gems, In Your Arms and I Booked An Ambulance, failed to make the cut. "I don't know why," Chuck says. You can find them in the "Songs Lost At Sea" section at

Fresh from re-forming The Dead Salesmen, Hap Hayward is now focusing on his other band, Underminers, who are getting set to release their third album, Heart Part Of Mind. "It's a beautiful thing," Hap tells Howzat! "It's right up there with [The Dead Salesmen's] Amen, in my books. I haven't been able to write anything since we finished recording it. I feel like I've literally said it all now. If it does nothing, I will know in my heart that I didn't get it wrong and that's just the way it is." Heart Part Of Mind is being released by Popboomerang Records and will be launched at the start of October.

So what's the greatest Australian album of all time? A new book is sure to generate plenty of debate. Three former Juice editors - John O'Donnell, Toby Creswell and Craig Mathieson - have teamed up to compile 100 Best Australian Albums, which will be out in November ($59.95, Hardie Grant). Meanwhile, the Paul Kelly book, How To Make Gravy, will be published by Penguin at the end of September. Paul describes the book as "a mongrel memoir". Word is it'll be a whopping 576 pages (retailing for $49.95). It will be accompanied by a box set of Paul's A-Z recordings.

Kyle Sandilands' wife lands at 38.

We No Speak Americano, YOLANDA BE COOL (number nine)
All The Lovers, KYLIE MINOGUE (18)
Lying, AMY MEREDITH (24)
Mousetrap Heart, THIRSTY MERC (30)
Big Jet Plane, ANGUS & JULIA STONE (34)
Baby, I'm Getting' Better, GYROSCOPE (36)
Closure, SCARLETT BELLE (38)

Kylie sells 15,000 albums, but can't knock off Eminem.

Aphrodite, KYLIE MINOGUE (number two, debut)
A Beautiful Exchange, HILLSONG LIVE (three, debut)
Cinema, THE CAT EMPIRE (six)
Deep Blue, PARKWAY DRIVE (seven)
Restless, AMY MEREDITH (eight, debut)
Down The Way, ANGUS & JULIA STONE (12)
We Are Born, SIA (13)
Immersion, PENDULUM (21)
Iron Man 2, AC/DC (23)
Mousetrap Heart, THIRSTY MERC (24)
April Uprising, THE JOHN BUTLER TRIO (29)
Intriguer, CROWDED HOUSE (35)
Golden Rule, POWDERFINGER (40)

Shelley Winters, CHARLES JENKINS
Everybody's In Debt, JASON WALKER
I Come In Peace, ROSS WILSON
Always Coming Down, CORDRAZINE

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