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Deniz tek interview - 1995

by Phil Harmonik (Aural Pleasure)


notice : I don't remember where I get this text. If you know, please leave me a note, and i'll put the right credits.


G'day and welcome once again to Aural Pleasure.
By now you would have heard that Radio Birdman are getting back together to perform at The Big Day Out.

This is a good enough reason within itself to grab a ticket. It's gonna be sensational. I recently had a chat to Birdman's songwriter/lyricist/guitarist Deniz Tek, who is now living in Montana, USA.

Whether it be flying jet fighters, saving lives working as a doctor in hospital emergency or blasting out a riff on stage, Deniz Tek seems to enjoy stimulating his adrenal glands. I began by asking him what led to the demise of the band back in 1978.

"It just ran it's course. There were some pretty intense personal dissatisfactions amongst some of the guys and we were on a heavy touring schedule in England and Europe. We were doing five cities a week for several months. To summarise it in a few brief words isn't easy. It was changing without our input and guys were going crazy, a little bit neurotic or psychotic at times."
Tek was without question the dominating force behind the Birdman repertoire, penning both the music and the lyrics for frontman Rob Younger (now with The New Christs).

"It was inspirational more than anything else. These songs would generally come to me while tuning up a guitar or even practicing a bit from another song and you'd go off onto a tangent andthere'd be some other idea that could be pursued. I didn't set out to write a song on a given day, it would just come to you. I'd get a bit of music and try to find some words that would go with it."
Tek wrote the lyrics for every Radio Birdman original except for the classic 'Aloha Steve and Danno', which Rob Younger wrote as an ode to Hawaii 5 O copper Steve McGarret and his partner Danno. Word is that Jack Lord, who played McGarret, actually heard the song and likes it.

The lineup at the BDO will please die hard fans of the band.

"It will be a 100 per cent pure original line-up of the last version of Radio Birdman" says Tek. "We're working on a couple of new songs for the live shows. We'll play the old songs but hopefully play them in new ways and improve on them."
Many of you would have seen Deniz Tek and his band at the Somerville Hotel when they toured earlier in the year, with guest Celibate Rifle Kent Steedman on guitar.

Tek has good memories of that tour and derives a lot of satisfaction from this current outfit.

"The band that I'm in now is fully enjoyable to play in. Kent and myself seem to work well together on guitar. We seem to be able to interweave our two styles to good effect and it's fun. There's some of the old spirit in it."
Radio Birdman have produced music of a timeless quality. Testament to this is the fact that so many young people wear their T-shirts and buy their records. Silverchair's recent Aria Awards version of 'New Race' with Tim Rogers of You Am I is a perfect example of the appeal of Radio Birdman's sound.

I wondered whether Tek had heard about Silverchair's Aria performance.

"I did hear about that. In fact I got an emergency request on my fax machine for the lyrics about two days before it happened so I had the idea something was up. When it happened a couple of people rang me up and told me that they'd seen it. It's great, I'm really pleased that they did that."
Like fashion and hairstyles, music seems to move in circles.

I asked Tek what his thoughts were on current popular music such as the whole Californian punk pop thing. He sees the renewed interest in this music as a natural progression.

"It's pretty close to what we had back then. Music does seem to have come around full circle. It's funny how the old trends pop up again 20 years later.
The production values are different, the type of songs they're playing and the way they're playing them are fundamentally rooted in the 70's stuff we did. I don't know why our music has remained popular for a long time or why it's resurgent now, I really have no idea other than people like to know where the music they listen to comes from.

When I was a teenager I was into The Stooges, MC5, The Kinks, The Who, The Stones and Johnny Winter and people like that. They introduced my generation to the old blues guys."

Who really cares why the guys are getting back together, the fact is they are.
But I asked anyway.

"There was some talk amongst ourselves first. Every couple of years there's an offer to do this but the time has never been right until now.
In February we were all together doing a remix of the Living Eyes album which is due out soon. We realised that all the old problems had gone, the misunderstandings had been cleared up, the bad blood had gone, so all the reasons we had not to play had gone.
We thought it would be a fun thing to try, then a couple of months later we got the offer to do the Big Day Out. We think it would be experiment 'cause we've all done other things in the meantime so we're different people than we were then, we're different musicians.
To put it all back together will be interesting to see what comes out."
Well I'll definitely be there to see what comes out. Do yourself a favour and go see them too.
It will certainly open your eyes as to where the good tunes we're hearing now came from.
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