Making and letting go.


I want to tell you a story about when I was 13 and I wrote my first song. Things weren’t great, at the time. I was a budding artist, and spent hours drawing and sketching away, working on my own little comic book. It meant the world to me, the story I was telling and the characters I had clumsily assembled. My inspirations were Todd Mcfarlane and Jack Kirby, weavers of dreams that were far beyond my abilities.

Unfortunately, drawing art like that came with an occupational hazard; my Dad. Dad didn’t like comic art. He thought I was wasting my time and my life by not learning to paint landscapes and freehand portraits. I guess he wanted me to go to art school and become a professional artist.

We used to clash about a lot of things, in a relationship that would only get worse as the years went by. But when I was thirteen, that was when I gave up on trying with him. Because every time he found the art that I put my heart and soul into, he’d tear up each piece of paper and throw out the remains. Without fail.

I used to go to my room and cry, wishing he could understand, wishing I could understand why he was like that.

It was in the middle of all this, in a hot Australian summer, that I discovered punk rock through bands like Black Flag and the Ramones. My older brothers gave me CDs to listen to, and for the first time the guilt that I had felt for disappointing my Dad began turning into anger.

I wrote my first song at the end of that summer. I wrote it holed up in my room, on the bunk bed that I shared with my younger sibling, and for the first time I expressed the way my Dad made me feel. When I finished writing the lyrics, I read back over them and I was calm.

I had clarity. I had made something new, something that he could never understand. I had made something that I believed in. The more I wrote songs, the more I made things that let my anger and frustration and depression out, the better I felt. I started my first bands, one after the other, and explored what I intended to be a career in music.

It was something my Dad didn’t understand, which appealed to me.

When I first started seeing a therapist, a little while ago, she told me that I needed to clear my mind and let go of the things that bothered me. She said I should envision myself placing each thought onto a water lily and watching it float away. When she said that, I realised something. For me, that’s what making things was like. I would put every fear and every emotion or memory that bothered me into whatever I was working on, and when it was finished, try to let it go.

Understanding this about my own creative process was a big step, and it wasn’t an easy one. The more I think about it, and the more aware I am of how I work, the better my relationship with myself has become.

My Dad and me? We haven’t spoken in years. And I like it that way. He was an angry man, and a man who made his family afraid of him. For me, knowing him is a lose-lose situation. So I don’t lose sleep over how or what he’s doing.

I still make things every day. They aren’t songs, anymore. Truth to be told, I think I said all the things that I wanted to say with music. These days, I write a lot more and I draw a lot more. I try to apply my creativity to business as well, which has helped me to found Reach and start planning an online magazine.

I’m a lot happier now than I ever used to be.
We are who we are, and we make what we make, because of some people. We are who we are, and we make what we make, in spite of others.

That’s it from me. Have a kick-ass week.

Henry Rollins On The Ramones.


Henry Rollins:

The Ramones are the lesson on how to do it. They worked tirelessly on the road and in the studio. They were great and they knew it. The challenge was bringing the world up to speed.

If you want to hear a band damn near kill their audience, check out The Ramones’ in-concert epic, It’s Alive. They are almost sadistic in how they tear through the songs, seemingly bashing them senseless to get to the next one, as if each song will never be played again and must be given proper trajectory into the stratosphere. They truly achieve something that is bigger than the four of them.

If you never had the chance to stand in front of this band, I dare say you missed out on something truly spectacular. I will never forget the first time I saw them. When they walked onstage and, within 10 seconds, started playing, I thought I was going to explode. The show was the very definition of how powerful true rock music is. I couldn’t understand how they could keep going. It was as full-on a live experience as I have ever had and almost ruined me for going to other shows.

I never did have the chance to see the Ramones live. Being born in 1989, I guess I lucked out. However, my first experience of the band was listing to It’s Alive. My older brother’s girlfriend gave him a copy of it on CD and I remember listening to it over and over again, just being blown away by how intense the music was. A song would still be ringing out as the band screamed “1-2-3-4″ and launched into the next.

Recently, I found a copy of It’s Alive on vinyl at my local record store, and I just had to pick it up. When I dropped the needle, it took me back. To the days when I was just a kid and everything seemed simple. To some extent, I think that’s what the Ramones will always do.

R.I.P Tommy, Joey, Johnny and Dee Dee. Here Today, Gone Tomorrow.



I recently flew interstate for my oldest brother’s wedding. I come from a large family, one of seven boys. We are all from the same marriage, but our parents are no longer together.

At the wedding, I was sitting down drinking my way through several bottles of excellent wine (cheers bro!) when the speeches started. The eldest brother close to my age was the best man, and his speech focused on his memories of our own “band of brothers” growing up.

The stories that he recalled were about the ridiculously dangerous games we used to play, most of which I remembered quite vividly. We weren’t a sporting family, preferring to play games that focused on far more sensitive topics. Such as World War One. World War Two. The French Foreign Legion. And, of course, the Belgians in the Congo.

The rules for the games invariably had the stronger and taller older brothers pitted against the smaller and more easily injured younger brothers. During the Battle of Britain, for example, I can remember being required to ram into a much bigger and faster bike with my tiny-barely-out-of-training-wheels vehicle. I was injured.

During the Belgian invasion of the Congo, I was required to jump out of trees that were twice my size in an attempt to tackle my brothers to the ground. I was injured.

Despite the Purple Hearts I earned on the field, these days were incredible. They were fun, but they were more than that. They were times when we created a bond that has never yet been broken, despite all the times it has been tested.

It seems strange, on the rare occasions when all seven of us gather in a bar and share a drink, to look back on the days gone by when we were all so young and playing outside in the Western Australian sun was the only thing that mattered. We have all grown up, started and ended relationships, been through our individual rough patches and tried our hardest to come out the other side swinging.

After everything that’s happened, I can honestly say that in my brothers I managed to find 6 best friends who will be with me for a long time yet.

So here’s to families. The broken ones and the ones that never crack, and the ones that manage to put themselves back together no matter how hard it seems.

My Rap Career


I think everyone, at some point in their life, should attempt a career in hip hop. They say we all have one novel inside us…I’d like to take that a few steps further and say you know what? We all have one knock ‘em dead down and dirty rap song inside us. Be it about cars, women or your unarguably dope individual skill as an MC, you must let that song out.

For me, it happened a few years ago.

As a teenager, I bounded through a number of different stages. I was a punk rocker, with safety pins and (because safety pins were inevitably sharp) paper clips stuck through my clothes. Next, I toyed with being emo. And yeah, I actually understand what emo is. I used to wear tight ass jeans and listen to Texas Is The Reason, Ink & Dagger, etc. While I am not proud of these stages of my life, I am at least not ashamed of them.

The same cannot be said for my brief dalliance with hip hop. In this period, I was prone to wearing flat brimmed caps, Nike and Adidas sneakers and streetwear shirts purchased with an exorbitant and frankly disgusting shipping markup from Karmaloop. Yo, @Karmaloop, for the record, the last time I bought a Black Flag shirt online, the shipping wasn’t $50 for one item, losers.

I digress.

While the fashion side of the affair would have been bad enough, it was unfortunately accompanied by a need to express myself through the ageless medium of “sick beats.” I began rapping. My flow can only be described as reminiscent of Jay-Z if, in fact, he suffered from a slight lisp and had no innate sense of rhythm.

I will not share that music with you. I will not share that music with anyone. Oh, rest assured, it exists.
But I take it to my grave.

The good news is, I outgrew that stage relatively fast. I grew up, encountered existential dread and became a Tom Waits fan. I discovered that cheap wine tasted better when drunk in one’s bedroom alone than it did at crappy nightclubs and I decided that film making was my spirit animal.

My flat brimmed caps now gather dust in my closet, and I totally gave my sneakers to my lil’ bros. It was a good move.
When I hear Lil Wayne nowadays, I look away into the distance with a hint of a tear in my eye, as my mind is cast back to what might have been. When people ask me about the heady days of 2008, I smile to myself and walk away. They think I am antisocial or at least have anxiety.

Maybe I do.

On Dreaming

Art, Creating, Culture, Dreams

When I was 16 years old, my best friend and I used to hang out as much as we could at his place.
He was one of the very few people I have ever felt truly understood where I was coming from as a person. We were different people, very different, but we had enough in common that whenever we were together, we would invariably end up dreaming.

Dreams, when you’re younger, can take some pretty laughable forms. When you look back on them, they seem strange, foreign, problematic and eternally embarrassing. Throwing my rather shaky/flaky memory back, I can tell you that with the two of us, most dreams revolved around traveling, writing and playing punk rock music. We were both very prolific readers and we would fill up notebook after notebook with poetry that, in all honesty, probably wasn’t that great. We wanted to write books that would change peoples’ lives. We wanted to create music that would awaken the feelings of freedom and excitement in other people that bands like Minor Threat, Fugazi and Bad Brains had awoken in us.

We had lists of places we were obsessed with. Boston. Washington DC. Paris. Dublin. Berlin. Moscow. Baghdad. Kuwait.
There were horizons that we knew we just had to challenge.

Years later, the fact is that we never did any of those things.
I know that sounds pretty sad, as if our dreams and wishes just fell apart with the passing of time.
But you know what? I’ve never found it all that sad.
Because somewhere along the way, I think those dreams that we had stopped representing things that I wanted.
Those dreams started representing someone that I used to be. Those dreams became just a part of the story.

I’m still going strong, making mistakes and learning. And some day, maybe I’ll end up exploring that list of places, even if I do it alone.
I will write. Perhaps the books I write won’t be amazing, and perhaps they won’t shape the world I live in. But I’ll be proud of them.

Dreams don’t have to come true to be an important part of you and an important part of your life.
The simple fact that you have or have had dreams is what actually matters.