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DIED PRETTY
Doughboy Hollow
Label: Citadel Records (Australia)
Catalogue No: (CITCD560SP)
Format: Double CD (gatefold cardboard wallet)
Reissued: 2008
Price: $ 25.00
 
Died Pretty - Doughboy Hollow
Also from Died Pretty:   Various Releases   Associated Releases:   Noise And Other Voices:  Self Titled
Doughboy Hollow is the band's landmark album and there's hardly a bad moment in its entirety. Aided by the hands on approach of UK producer Hugh Jones, everything just went right with this record. The songs, the performances, the sound. Even Australian FM radio embraced the band's singles for the first time and they were suddenly perceived as mainstream and suburban. Needless to say that despite this perception the band remained at its core inner city and indie.

Despite almost going gold at home, the European and US releases were, for a multitude of reasons, complete failures. The European fan base disappeared into thin air despite the extensive touring that had accompanied previous releases. The UK press panned the release with NME describing the record as being made by an Oz boogie band. Seems Australian bands without mainstream US success as a rule only win acceptance in the UK by living there in squalor for some years before any form of acceptance is gained. Beggars, after mishandling particularly the US release, cut their losses and dropped them, leaving the way open to sign a worldwide deal with Columbia ...
Tracklisting: Disc 1 (Doughboy Hollow) (47:08 m:s)
  1. Doused (B Myers / R Peno) (4:12 m:s)
  2. D.C. (S Clark / R Peno / B Myers) (4:33 m:s)
  3. Sweetheart (B Myers / R Peno) (4:12 m:s)
  4. Godbless (J Hoey / R Peno) (3:28 m:s)
  5. Satisfied (B Myers / R Peno) (6:09 m:s)
  6. Stop Myself (B Myers / R Peno) (3:37 m:s)
  7. Battle Of Stanmore (B Myers / R Peno) (2:23 m:s)
  8. The Love Song (B Myers / R Peno) (5:06 m:s)
  9. Disaster (B Myers / R Peno) (3:59 m:s)
  10. Out In The Rain (B Myers / R Peno) (4:25 m:s)
  11. Turn Your Head (B Myers / R Peno) (5:24 m:s)

Tracklisting: Disc 2 (Bonus Disc) (62:02 m:s)
  1. Wonder (B Myers) (3:33 m:s)
  2. Disappointed (S Clark / R Peno) (4:15 m:s)
  3. Lonesome Bull (B Myers / R Peno) (5:12 m:s)
  4. Time (B Myers / R Peno) (3:22 m:s)
  5. Let Me Be (B Myers / R Peno) (2:45 m:s)
  6. D.C. (S Clark / R Peno / B Myers) (4:26 m:s)
  7. Battle Of Stanmore (B Myers / R Peno) (2:17 m:s)
  8. Satisfied (B Myers / R Peno) (7:13 m:s)
  9. Godbless (J Hoey / R Peno) (3:28 m:s)
  10. Sweetheart (B Myers / R Peno) (3:38 m:s)
  11. The Love Song (B Myers / R Peno) (5:11 m:s)
  12. Doused (B Myers / R Peno) (3:58 m:s)
  13. Disaster (B Myers / R Peno) (3:54 m:s)
  14. Out In The Rain (B Myers / R Peno) (4:02 m:s)
  15. Turn Your Head (B Myers / R Peno) (4:48 m:s)
The Musicians
Disc 1 - Doughboy Hollow: Ronald S Peno - Lead Vocals  •  Brett Myers - Guitar & Backing Vocals  •  John Hoey - Keyboards  •  Steve Clark - Bass  •  Chris Welsh - Drums & Percussion with Amanda Brown - Violin on tracks 2 , 7 & 8  •  Sarah Peet - Cello on tracks 2 , 7 & 9  •  Sunil De Silva - Percussion
Disc 2 - Demos and B-Sides: Ronald S Peno - Lead Vocals  •  Brett Myers - Guitar & Backing Vocals  •  John Hoey - Keyboards  •  Steve Clark - Bass  •  Chris Welsh - Drums & Percussion
Studio Details
Disc 1 - Doughboy Hollow: Produced and Engineered by Hugh Jones  •  Recorded at Trafalgar Studios, Sydney  •  Additional Recording at Powerhouse Studios, Sydney  •  Mixed at Maison Rouge & Powerplant Studios, London  •  Remastered by Don Bartley at Benchmark Mastering, Sydney, December 2007
Disc 2 - Demos and B-Sides: Track 1: Produced and Engineered by Hugh Jones - Recorded at Trafalgar Studios, Sydney - Mixed at Maison Rouge, London  •  Tracks 2-15: Produced By Russell Pilling and Died Pretty - Recorded at Damien Gerard Studios, Ultimo, December 1990 - Remastered by Don Bartley at Benchmark Mastering, Sydney, December 2007
Liner Notes
When Died Pretty convened in April 1991 to make their 4th studio album, the band was at something of a watershed. After five years of intensive touring in Europe they had made great inroads, entering the top 40 in several European countries and building up a solid audience base. However, despite being indie darlings in their native Australia, they had failed to make any commercial impact there. Bassist Steve Clark had just quit the band and their signing with English label Beggars Banquet was yet to bear real fruit.

The genesis of the material occurred during a short respite in the band's European touring schedule of early 1990. While the rest of the band took a brief holiday back home, guitarist Myers remained on his own in London. "I wrote most of the music for the songs on that album in my manager's (John Needham) flat in Highbury. I was on my own there for most of the time and it was a relatively bleak sort place - especially in winter - and there tended to be a bit of a melancholy air to most of what came out" recalls Myers.

The band resumed their endless European tour with a few festival dates in Denmark and France and, after a brief tour of the U.S., found themselves back in Australia where attention turned to the making of a new record. Clark was persuaded to stay on long enough to complete the recording of the album and the band convened at the familiar territory of Damien Gerard studios in Ultimo during the (Australian) spring of 1990 where they spent a number of weeks writing and demoing new material. Clark and Hoey both contributed what were to become key songs in the shape of D.C. and Godbless. Everyone was extremely happy with the outcome.

The band also returned to familiar territory when it came time to record, choosing Trafalgar Studios, located in the inner west of Sydney. It was here where all of their work, with the exception of the first single and previous album (Every Brilliant Eye produced by Jeff Eyrich in Los Angeles), had been recorded. However they picked an unfamiliar English producer, Hugh Jones, to work with. Jones was at once an obvious and also leftfield choice. He had a good track record of bringing commercial success to (at the time) alternative bands such as Echo and the Bunnymen, The Damned and Simple Minds, but had never worked in Australia or met the band.

His selection was also - in part - a reaction to Eyrich's stridently U.S. production sensibility. It was hoped a more organic, sympathetic sound would suit the band in deference to the dry and aggressive production values of the previous record. Jones was also riding high with a number one UK album credit at the time with the now - somewhat forgotten - U.K. band Del Amitri. "Hugh was just a lovely man - an incredibly hard worker as a producer. He helped us immensely (with) song structures " he was good at putting forth ideas, not forcing them, but always good suggestions. He was the producer we needed for that album." says Peno.

Initially, the band was somewhat shocked at Jones' work ethic. "He started in the studio around 11.00am and worked straight through until at least 3.00 or 4.00am the next morning " with only a small break around 6.00pm for a beer and a new supply of cigarettes. He also seemed to eat only once every second day or so." recalls Myers. After the band's experience in L.A. with Eyrich - who often came in fresh from a morning surf on the dot of 9.00am only to leave again at 5.00pm (and weekends off) " this was a completely new way of working. "We found out he normally wore through at least two sets of tape ops a day - or like the assistants at the mix in London - they bought in their sleeping bags and kipped down in the vocal booth rather than waste valuable off time traveling to and from the studio."

This pattern was repeated in Sydney where the band normally worked in two shifts a day - guitars, drums, bass etc. until 9.00pm or so " then Peno for the night shift. "Hugh worked really closely with all of us, but particularly Ron and Chris - especially after our LA experience with the session players." recounts Myers. "He said his nickname was 'Slasher Jones' and we soon realised why". The tape room at Trafalgar was strewn with long sections of two inch tape plastered to the wall "He would keep the best take of each section and just literally tape it to the wall and then attach it to the other 'best of' sections of the song until he had a complete drum take he liked." says Myers.

There weren't many extraneous musician used on the record " mainly the string section of Amanda Brown (from the Go-Betweens) on violin and Sarah Peet on cello. Plus the ubiquitous percussionist Sunil de Silva, who ended up playing on a number of mid"period Died Pretty albums.

The band completed five weeks recording at Trafalgar after which Jones decamped with the tapes to London ready for the mixing sessions at Maison Rouge studios in Fulham. Myers also left for the U.K. to attend the mixes. At Maison Rouge Jones was re"united with engineer Helen Woodward who had previously worked with him on a number of projects.

Says Myers "Jones mixed the same way he recorded - round the clock. They had the usual two shifts of tape"ops working with him as no"one could keep up with the hours he kept." His work ethic paid"off and the songs were evolving beautifully. "I remember hearing them back to back for the first time " 'D.C.', 'Doused', 'Sweetheart' etc and just thinking 'This will change a lot of people's ideas about us'. It was similar to the feeling I had when I first heard the finished 'Next to Nothing' E.P." Peno remembers "I did my vocal takes in Sydney and heard some rough mixes here but when the tapes came back from London of the final mixes, I just thought it was great - I felt very proud."

The artwork also harked back to earlier times with Paul Tatz - brother of estranged ex"Citadel employee Simon Tatz - drafted in. Tatz had done both the Free Dirt cover and band photography for the follow up Lost. His rustic black and white photos of decayed vintage cars seemed to fit the mood of the album and many of the shots were taken in the same type of rural setting from which the original inspiration for the album title came. According to Peno: "We used to tour a lot traveling down the Hume Highway in various makes and models of Taragos - depending on how financial we were - and for some sort of reason a sign"post 'Doughboy Hollow Creek' caught my eye out the window one time and I just sort of liked the Doughboy Hollow part - just one of those things ... .. Then I saw another sign"post again going up the New England Highway with exactly the same wording and just said 'Fine! I've seen it again, it's a sign!' And that was it - Doughboy Hollow."

Doughboy Hollow was released in August 1991 to glowing reviews and - in Australia at least - this for the first time translated into real sales on a commercial scale. It stayed at No 1 on the Australian Alternative chart for several months and reached number 24 in the Australian ARIA charts. D.C. also gained high rotation on mainstream radio. This was unexplored territory for the former strictly independent band. "The crowds definitely got bigger." says Myers "We spent a lot more time in Australia - and started to become that thing I feared most - a working Australian rock band playing five nights a week to pay the bills - although it was fun for while!" Peno: "This was the easiest album I ever recorded. Everything about it came easily, lyrically, melodically. Usually the lyrics are a pain for me but they just came very naturally. It just flowed - it was an incredibly positive, uplifting experience for me personally " that whole album. It's quite a melancholy album - it's aged really well for me, I still love it."

The commercial success of Doughboy Hollow also led to the next stage in The Died Pretty saga - a major label signing with Sony - but that is another story entirely ... .

Ron talks about some of the lyrics:

Doused: "I centered the lyrics around the human cost I saw from gambling - this was long before Tim Freedman! A bunch of friends were just hooked and it was horrible watching them just destroy their lives."
D.C.: "You meet a person who really affects you and they leave - die rather suddenly - a lovely man - not everyone liked him - he spoke his mind and didn't always make friends - initials D.C."
Sweetheart: "I guess lyrically this is one of the most misunderstood songs. When were doing the demos I just threw a few key"lines in and really liked the melody etc. but 'Sweetheart' - it just sounded like an ice"cream or something! I just couldn't let it go out like that, there's got to be something to lift it from that title - it can't be a love song as such. At the time I was going through my serial killer phase - heavily into Ed Gein et. al, " so I thought 'Sweetheart, Sweetheart, Sweetheart, Heart, Liver, Lungs, Brains, Serial Killers " yes! I'll write it about Ed Gein!' So it's quite a dark song, not really nice at all. "
Satisfied: "Being resolute when it looks like things are caving in."
Stop Myself: "Not giving up, just enjoy yourself - 'I will not stop myself from trying'"
Battle of Stanmore: "A total stream of conscious lyric here - an Appalachian folk song combined with the Velvet Underground - at least that was my take on it!"
The Love Song: "Just one of those things - you fall in love and you write a song about it."
Disaster: "It's a really emotional song for me to perform. It just a nice pop song really but lyrically it's aimed towards friends, having friends, having good friends, you know 'Before we disappear my dear friend, is there time for me, to embrace this world of wonders as the shoreline greets the sea' - its about mortality, knowing that we won't always be around."