First Show in Ten Years

I played live for the first time in about ten years on Wednesday night, at the Grace Emily hotel. Overall I’d say it was small, messy, high energy and fun. Bob and Emma came on afterwards and things swelled up quite a bit in terms of crowd size, including some (rather noticeable) members of The Beards, but generally it was fairly quiet and informal, which was probably a good thing for a starter show.

A few folks asked me when I was playing again, to which I had to reply that I did not know, having only just worked out that it’s something that I actually want to do regularly. So far I have some plans to support the Fiddle Chicks that have not yet been made official. Check back here in a while and look for the ‘Upcoming Shows’ page in the top bar – which I’ll make when I’ve got something to put in it.

In other news, I’ve had two recent recording sessions, and will be putting up some sample tracks of what my collaboration with Emma on violin sounds like, within the next week or so.

After that, I’m heading over to Germany for a month with the family, so this blog is going to be quiet for a while.



Unbeknownst No More

Observant visitors will note that I have taken the ‘wordpress’ out of the URL and magicked it into another dimension. This post is for the rest of you.

The domain change means I’ll be uploading music files straight to my very own (pretend) website. It also means that unbeknownst recordings, former host to my jazz recording project ‘unbeknownst’, is closed for business. I have had a chat with my singer and recording partner, Lee, and there’s no possibility of turning that particular project into a gigging concern. So, after a final recording session in July, I’ll be drawing it to a close – and posting the full results here. In due course I’ll also be transferring all the bio details over here as a record of the whole thing from 2005 to 2009.

I have a live gig coming up on May 20 at a local den of iniquity, more gigs coming up in July and the possibility of forming a country outfit by the end of the year, so I am of firm resolve and generally undeterred, although honestly, it could have been a kicking band.

C’est la vie…


Unbeknownst: Sinking in Quicksand

INTERESTING MUSIC (by Steve McKenzie and Lee Pfitzner):


Bring Out Your Dead

Down Below



Song From Years Ago

This is fine music, if I do say so. Punk and post-punk afficianodas might not like it as much as other stuff I do but as far as I’m concerned it’s the equal of all my other gear. It was made between 2006 and 2008 in Adelaide and Honiara. If I ever end up settling in one place, I might like to form a band doing this sort of thing. There’s more to follow in this vein, too.


Back about eighteen months ago I had the zany notion that it would be possible, somehow, to market and plug all my various different musical products under one name: Unbeknownst. (I chose the name partly because I liked the idea of forming a band by stealth over the internet). I made a website – now stangnant – called Unbeknownst Recordings where I intended to put up all my different styles of music. I got the domain name, bought a space upgrade so I could host mp3s, and I was cooking with professional-smelling gas. Temporarily…

Looking back, I now realise this was a bogus idea, borne in a tropical heat haze and fuelled by whiskey and soda. I record with Lee only very rarely and haven’t added anything new to that site in over six months…except that all the mp3s for this site have to be hosted over there. But this site is where the action is. So, it’s really starting to look like this has all ended up the wrong way round…

To cut to the chase, I’ve imported the old Unbeknownst mp3s post over here. That domain and upgrade will expire in May. All the old files will remain, but beyond that, I’ll do all my hosting over here…

Great Southern Steve.

My Dad died

My dad died on Friday. He was 70. It was sudden.

Really this is only just sinking in. I think I’m still sort of in shock.

You can expect less posting on here for a while, and at my other haunts, punkplanet and so on.

See you round later.


News Flash: I’m not actually a Golden Retriever, folks

Now that the initial flurry of hits from Punk Planet has slowed, by far the most common reason for people to visit this site seems to be searching for Golden Retriever on Google. I get about 15 to 20 hits a day from this, and most of those visitors all head straight to the relevant post, look at the picture and leave again without even listening to the song. Get Smart and Casey Kasem are distant second and third.

What’s even weirder, and more weird, is that I’m not even on the first ten pages of listings on Google for that search, meaning apparently that the world is full of people that are prepared to sift through more than ten pages of hits about Golden Retrievers looking for something new. For all I know, I’m not even on the first fifty pages, I only checked the first ten.

This must stop. I’m not actually a Golden Retriever. Nor am I really associated with Golden Retrievers in any way. It’s just a song.



The End of the Ancient World

Free Mp3 – Useless Life

Once, when I was an undergraduate in History in the early nineties, I had this bizarre anti-epiphany about life and knowledge while I was in the library.

The exact trigger for the episode was a book called The End of the Ancient World and the Beginning of the Middle Ages by Ferdinand Lot. While the library did have this French edition, the edition I used was an authoritative, blue-bound hard-back from Oxford UP, whose very appearance promised definitive solutions to an essay due at the end of the week.

I think it must have been the OUP cover insignia that did it for me – many other books in the section were equally weighty, but that one, above all, called out to me and said:

You will never write a book like me. You will never read enough to know enough to write it, and even if you did, you would never be able to write it down. And even if you did, you would never get it published. And even if you did, you will never get it published by a major university press and have copies distributed around the world.

Don’t get me confused with Mark C., the guy at my university who actually did hear the books talking to him and is now on sickness benefit. This was just a feeling, but a very strong one, and one which made me leave the library in haste, feeling quite useless. I did not get that essay in.

As the years have gone by I have told myself that my skills lie in other areas. You know the drill: Herculean labours are not for me, I am a mercurial and whimsical critic, relying more on nuance than on stodgy completist scholarship to produce my masterwork, etc. (A masterpiece which, of course, is yet to be produced. And then published. By a major publisher.)

While studying medievalism, I had scumbag friends. One in particular, Janet C., had a heroin addiction which probably predated Ferdinand Lot, and often used to have trouble walking upright, not due to heroin but a combination of alcohol and methadone. She once told me she was quite happy to be useless but didn’t want her friends to be that way; her idea of the perfect day was one in which she could get drugged up and then just lie there on the couch while we played music, or talked about what we wanted to do with our lives.

Somehow, those two things sum up a place I’ve been, in one way or another, most of my life; not happy being useless, but not willing to chuck it in either, just slowly working away at things to better myself, a process that seems to take forever. And part of me is always wanting to hang out with the sort of people who haven’t got the slightest intention of “making something of themselves”, just because that sort of company can be so much more fun than being with stressed out career-heads; but then inevitably I wind up feeling on the outer, because in another way, I can’t relate to that. I’d love to make something of myself.

So anyways this song, Useless Life, is about all that. It has a little banjo, for those that dig it, but it’s mostly about the lyrics:

Someone figured out how to put a man in space

But you still ain’t got the world right

Someone figured out the circumference of the earth

And you can’t even walk straight

I think I’d like to come along with you

You could show me how to get nothing done

But you’d probably get bored with me

You probably got no use for me at all

I envy you

Even though you think you never know what to do

Just because you’re happy to be useless

Because you’re happy to lead a useless life.

Oh, by the way, I’m moving to Australia next week.  And thanks to Janet for recent kind words, and to Kevin Dunn, who has been giving me props, and playing my tunes on his podcast.


Steve McK, November 14 2008

Look! It’s Great Southern Steve

Hey! It’s the first post on Great Southern Steve.

Here you’ll find clunky rock and roll, fucked up folk, dancey new wave and muzak punk by one of the great undicovered talents in the music world: me.

Plus, periodic podcasts and samples of stuff I like.


‘Great Southern’ Steve McKenzie

October 22, 2008.