Maurice Flavel’s Intensive Care launch a self-titled album this Friday, September 26, at the Rosemount Hotel, with help from The Painkillers and Childsaint. BOB GORDON checks in with the rock’n’roll veteran.
You’ve played music for many years in a lot of bands. In terms of your history, how would you describe this new album?
Well I have only ever played in my own bands. I have had a lot of people play in my bands over the years, a few that have gone on to be well known, which is great. Anyway, on this release there is a couple of songs from the past that were never recorded which I really needed to record and they have come out well with the same intensity in which they were originally played. The songs show very contrasting styles – there’s grunge and whitey gospel without Jesus and a beautiful slow song with girl backing singers. It’s really an sample of where I want my next recording to go, it feels like a new beginning.
Peter Gordon (guitar), Miles Hitchcock (drums) and Stefan Hamilton (bass) have been musical cohorts of yours for a long time. What does it mean to you to still have these guys in your corner, creating music?
It is nice to know that after all these years that when people go away – like Stefan and Miles – for a long period of time they may have changed and other priorities are in their life but then when we get together we still have that wonderful feeling of making music and that the connection is still strong . It’s fantastic to have a stable band where you don’t have to worry about not showing for rehearsals, getting people to gigs or playing in other bands as they are mature and well organised and it allows me to concentrate on songwriting.
It’s also great for songwriting as you can show them how the basics of a new song goes with new ideas in my head and they have enough musical know-how to polish and perfect what I’m trying to say. When you have fantastic friendships in a band it makes it easier to create without all the ego bullshit. Stability is something I have always been longing for, as so many people play in lots of different bands in Perth it is very difficult to manage sometimes.
You have a full backing singer situation happening, what’s it like being able to write songs and have that explored?
There’s five or six of us singing together, sometimes I wish I could have another 10 more. It is a great feeling when you are the songwriter and you have backing singers all joining in, it allows you to stretch certain songs out or break them down with beautiful harmonies and it becomes a very spiritual feeling. It sounds corny but when you’re singing all together and you’re not playing a musical instrument it makes you feel the music inside as it’s coming from your body and not just from you ears and hands. It can really emphasise what your are trying to sing with certain words to make them stronger and it makes the band have to turn down the volume so you can hear the vocals!
What kinds of songs are you writing these days? What are they about?
I am still writing about the same subjects. I always have written about love, sex, death, war and hope. I like to write basic songs with basic words, but now with more vocals it’s a great challenge to see where the ideas of backing singers can go without being samey. As someone described, some of my music is sounding like a mantra so you have to think of a bigger sound and how you can make the songs more uplifting. I’m bored with just guitar rock so I just want to write well thought out songs that weren’t written in five minutes and have some depth and longevity. I have a keyboard/synth player (David Sireon Cizza)in the band now, so it will be interesting to see where the next lot of songs will go.
With the album released, what are your plans and indeed hopes for it?
Even though I have spent a fair bit of money on this release, I’m really hoping to use this as a stepping stone to record my next release as it’s expensive to do a good recording. So hopefully get some airplay, tour over East again, follow up with another release and play plenty of decent shows.. and ask for some favours from my now famous ex-bandmates!