Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Progress with Fireworks (yay/boo)

Well, it looks as though we should have enough money within the next couple of weeks or so to get our new album mastered.  Excitingly, this means we are right on track for hitting our Feb release. 

So Mike and I are currently setting out organising a nationwide tour for March next year to aid in the promotion of the album.  SUCH a shitty job.  I am not a good negotiator, nor do I feel comfortable trying to blow trumpets at people in order to convince them to sign us on at their bar.

More fun is had organising album art.  We have an eye on some very cool, potential work.

Another decision we have been pondering over is how much do we invest in physical copies of our album?  The potential to cut costs by distributing excusively digitally, is an attractive prospect, but is there still enough demand for physical media to warrant taking that avenue. 

Anyhow, Paul turned 21 over the weekend and had a sweet party at his flat.  There was many a wide eye, and much red wine spilt on the carpet.  Somehow we got hold of some tequila which resulted in a horror story the next day.  Many good people there and I thoroughly enjoyed conversing with everybody I spoke to.

Some people were lighting lots of fireworks, don't get me wrong fireworks are all good when handled with caution, but I can't help but get nervous when they're being lit at indeterminate intervals and thrown in random places.  Just isn't a recipe for a nice relaxing time.


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Saturday, November 8, 2008

Don't Vote For Government, Vote For Biffs On Radio 1

Hey do-gooders

Hope you all got your vote on today.  I had to do a special vote because my name wasn't on my local electorate.  Meant I had to line up to vote for ages.  Got really antsy, but then it made me think about how I have the 'luxury' of the right to vote, and that others in less fortunte positions would line up for days to be able to have their opinion, and an effect on their own living conditions.

Progress on the album:  Stu finished mixing before he left for London a wee while ago, and after winning some money in the Invercargill band wars, we were able to pay Stu in full for his services, which was a welcome relief.  Means we can now look toward getting money for the mastering process. 


Andy makes sure his machineheads are ok at Gluepot Band Wars

The Invercargill Band wars was a really fun experience.  We hadn't realised that the bar which was formerly the Gluepot, had been transformed into 3 different bars, a major overhaul since our last visit there, and the place is fucking great!  Saints and Sinners it is now called and the new venue is so much cooler.  We were stoked to come away with first place, especially against such talented musicianship.  Met a few cool individuals during the time there, and also a couple neo-nazi's who called me and Bugs a couple 'faggots' and proceeded to push Bugs around for a bit after we responded with a reasonable quip that we weren't and described in detail what we would probably be doing if we were.  Also have to make special mention of Bugs performing solo as Feeling Nauseous, with his loop mania in full swing, after a heckling, spent about 20 seconds stomping on pedals to stop all of these loops and effects and asking "hang on, did someone just heckle me? where's my band? well fuck you"

l_f7ebdb6c766e6a7bddbdc0e9ac80f6c2Andy, Skin and Ben jamming with Feeling Nauseous at Invers Band Wars

l_c6fa0529976ed085bfb849c53494b674Pauls space cello

We have entered a song in the Radio 1 BDO competition, so if your not sick of voting for shit yet, a vote for Biff is a vote for progress:

Vote For Us To Go See Neil Young Here!

(All photos courtesy of Verity) Thaaanks Verity.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

For all you gear heads
Here is something for the spank bank of all you gear heads out there. A list of gear we used on the recording early this last. This was all done at Sammy's live venue. A huge old theater with amazing acoustics and serious BOOOOOM!!!


Ben used his fathers 1970's Ludwig Vistalite for Kick, rack tom and floor tom. John Bonam steez. It's an orange perspex kit and sounds so awesome. It's vintage; I'm pretty sure Chris has owned it since brand new. He also used a rebuilt Rodgers 18" floor tom and a home re-built snare of unknown origin. AWESOME EH?? It sounded bad arse.


Mike played through his Epiphone Fire Bird into an Ashodown head played through some home built cabs made by Chris and Nick(Ben's Brother). We used an 18" Speaker for fatty boom boom and a 2x12" speaker cab for punch. 18" speakers usually go with 2x10" if your looking at the tried and true 'modern method'. But 2x12" is old school, and when your playing in a rhythm section with a 30 year old drum kit you don't want a bass sound from today. It sounded fucking stupidly awesome. Like Entwistle but on less drugs and without the skeleton suit.


Paul played his Gibson through a Fender Deville 2x12" (after testing between that and a 15w orange head that was awesome but didn't quite gleam like the Fender) and used his boss multi effects unit too. It sounded dirty and fat which is a nice change from his Marshall. We managed to break the reverb tank somehow so that was shit, but i got it up and running on one spring which was better than none.

I played my Epiphone SG into a Fender Deville, passing through my Vox Valvetronix pre-amp via the Deville's effects loop. It was pretty rad hearing all my tones and effects, that I've worked on for four years, being slammed through some power tubes and really shimmering. I think Paul felt the same about his guitar tones.


Skinny played Graeme Tongue's Martin acoustic guitar in one of the changing rooms down the back of Sammy's. Stu miked it with both his Royer's and it sounded amazing.


Skinny recorded synth parts on Ben's Micro-Korg synth at Stu's parents place one awful hung-over morning.


Gotta thank Stu Harwood for all his work finding us the best deals on the best gear he could get. Also Tex Houstan, Rob Falconer, Mike Maroney, Graeme Peter's, Dale Cotton, Chris and Nick Sargeant, Lee Nicholson, and Chris Keogh for all the awesome gear they let us use, there's probably many others too but my memory is poor. Lyn Sargeant and Marg Konijn also must be thanked for providing us with food!!!! Cheers

Andy out.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Finished recording

We have finished recording our debut album at Sammy's Entertainment Venue.  That crazy bastard Stu Harwood is mixing the shit out of it and then we just gotta save so we can get it mastered and printed etc.  Donations accepted.  Rusty trombones also accepted. 

Sam from Sammy's was an excellent host and left us to our own devices in that monstrosity of a building.  We had heard tales of Sammy's hauntings but didn't experience any paranormal activity persay.  Although, Ben himself is a ghost, so maybe he had a word.  Also I think paul is a poltergeist.

Altogether we recorded 14 songs, and await the results with much anticipation.

Sammy drums

On another note, I'd like to discuss athletes ass.  If a marathon runner needs to take a crap, and don't really have time before the race starts... the bike shorts would certainly be in some poor shape by the end.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

this is skinny

i are twist

i have but one thing to say:

Another night, another dream, but always you.
It's like a vision of love that seems to be true.
Another night another dream, but always you.
In the night I dream of love so true.

Actually, i have a couple more things to add...

We finished recording in the labyrinth they call Sammy's. I was expecting David Bowie to appear round every corner levitating balls in his hands, telling jokes and saying "well... laugh".

Pretty hazy really, the whole 4 days or so... i'm so mute i would rather write this sentence than attempt to try and think back how many days we were actually there for. a rough guess is good enough for me.

I actually still have to overdub some synth parts today, which is gonna be pretty easy, but when your synapses aren't firing too well, everything is a chore.

Anyhow... Here is an excerpt from the book "How To Do Just About Everything" published in 1987.

Many men assume that beard care is less exacting and time consuming than shaving. In fact, whiskers demand daily care for three reasons: first, they trap dirt and bacteria, so a daily shampoo is necessary: apply conditioner to make the hair soft. Second, whiskers quickly get scruffy if you don't look after them. Trim them at least once a week and with each haircut. And trim them only when they're dry - wet whiskers lie differently than do dry ones. Finally, beards and moustaches can get messy at mealtimes; use your serviette often and, after you leave the table, check in a mirror for stray bits of food.

Valuable,....... valuable information.

Take this and disseminate it.



We Biff Merchants must be the least prolific bloggers in the known universe.

Last night we celebrated the end of our Sammy's recording sessions and got hammered drunk.

I'm tired.

Andy out

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Two nights of Queenstown = good/bad.

We headed up to Queenstown for two nights worth of gigging at the Dux.  The trip up was forgetful, and we met Andy up there. He had been sweet cunting ti up there a couple days earlier. 

The Dux had offered to put us up at a backpackers for the thursday night... not sure if they had seen this Mountain Scene article or not.

At the backpackers, there were backpackers doing backpacker type things, and a Lord of the Rings session was going down in the lounge so we ended up taking our box of beers outside so as not to upset the jerks watching the movie.  In fact, we ended up sitting in the van for a while so we could listen to some music. Losers.

We mosied on down to the venue around half an hour before we were to start to punish a few tab beers.  They set the tab at $150 for us, which actually doesn't last ridiculously long when they are charging through the nose and out the anus for beers. 

The gig was pretty sweet, the staff to our surprise were wearing Biff Merchants t-shirts printed from the poster we had sent up.  The chalk board out the front once again described us as 'punk rock' but this time also 'high energy'.  I'm certainly not convinced we are either of those so with a lick of the finger and a few strokes upon the chalk this was changed to high energy pink rock. 

After the gig, we hung round for a bit and finished off the tab.  As Andy was about to leave, he gave us a bottle of scotch which was maybe halfish full.  Poured this into a couple glasses, which we attempted to drink but then had to get some sneaky l &p from the bar to disguise the colour. fucking genius.  I'm quivering with disgust as i remember back to the taste of that muck.  Paul and Andy went home and Michael, Ben and I continued on into the night, cruising the bars,  scotch fucked.

This ws great, we went to a few places and got chatting with lots of different people, and as Mike recounts it, we were in this one bar, I fail to remember which one, but all three of us were in different conversations with different people, after piecing together our different perspectives we figured out that Ben had spewed somewhere in the bar, mike turned round and saw me being wrestled to the ground by the bouncer, and we deduced that he must've thought it'd been me that'd been performing the Pantera covers.

So after getting home and not quite managing to get all the way into my bed, we got up after about 3 hours worth of sleep as we had to vacate the backpackers.  Needless to say, there were three drunks and five walking dead. 

Andy convinced us to go to this animal reserve type place, where we paid 20 dollars to get our van load of scum in.  You drive through this park and there are llama, bison, yaks and assorted shit.  We bought pellets to feed them and fuck it was fun. its great seing an animal you've never seen before.  We highly recommend going there and checking it out, especially while trashed.  We got reasonably amorous with some thar and kune kune pigs.. as this video will attest:

Also there was a donkey singing Bocelli.

The rest of the day was a write off, we had nothing to do and eventually ended up at an irish bar trying to get right before our gig that night.  It was much more fun that night having Sunset Cinema to play with... We got very drunk with them and headed to watch The Julian Temple Band who were playing down the road at revolver.  They played an awesome set. 

Three f us did end up sleeping in the van again, i got fuckin sick cos i was sitting up freezing in the front seat with no blanket.  I wanted to post up a couple videos of our Invercargill episodes but fucking youtube is under maintenance so I'll get them for the next blog.


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Sunday, August 17, 2008

Snow, Slow, and Automobiles


We played a gig down in Invercargill at a bar called the Gluepot last weekend and were lucky enough to be joined by our friends Tono and the Finance Company. We decided we would convoy down in two vehicles to make the trip more interesting, and decided to take the scenic trail. Which was longer and cost more petrol but was totally worth it's weight in laughs and scenery. I was manning the merchant vehicle, a grey toyota townace which was a lot more comfortable this time around as we were being supplied somewhat of a backline by Sector 7g who were playing with us.

Anyway, we were cruising around the hundred kilometre mark, and we were listening to something funny on the stereo, and I was looking at the speaker (as you do). Waihola seemed to morph around the vehicle and I cruised past a speed camera in the 70 kmh zone doing 100. Oops. Not sure what speed Bugs, who was driving the following vehicle was doing, but he didn't see it either. So i'm eagerly awaiting some good news mail, that'll tell me I owe about 400 dollars and have some demerit points taken off me and shit. I haven't even finished paying off my seatbelt fine yet! Ah well...

So we turned off at Balclutha to take the scenic route. There was a nice wee stop off at a cafe in Owaka I think it was, so, so quiet there and we must've been the only customers in that cafe the whole day. We then played for about an hour at the playground across the road. A seriously good playground for a town that size... even had a noughts and crosses game.

We stopped at this nice little inlet and played 'someone throw a big rock into the water, and while it's in the air, everyone else try and hit it with little rocks'. We're thinking of copyrighting this game as the Finance Merchant's Game, so look out for specialty rocks on sale at upcoming gigs. Anyway we played this for a good 45 minutes.

For the second leg of the trip down, it got dark and started raining torrentially. Ideal driving conditions really. There was a lot of leaning forward and squinting through the rain at the road. We're talking some seriously fuckin chubby rain. So it was a bit of a relief when we finally got to Invercargill. The trip that should have taken around 2 nd a half hours, had ended up taking something more like 4.

Blair from the Gluepot is a really good guy, and he has a tough job running a music venue in a place like Invercargill. The gig itself was reasonably quiet, but we enjoyed ourselves immensely. Sector 7g did well to engage a small audience and I really dig their enthusiasm. Tono was privileged to have half the audience singing his lyrics during his first song... must've sold a cd or two during his last gig down there. We played an ordinary set, it was a long time between getting to the bar and actually playing mind you, and the beers was real nice. A few guys had to go back to Dunedin directly after the gig due to work and other commitments at home the next day. So they would've left at around 2.30am maybe, and ended up driving back through a snowstorm so didn't get back till about 5.30am. Bet worked sucked a fat one that day.

A few of us stayed and got festive, and the Sector 7g boys and their pals were nice enough to host a small shin dig at their flat after the pub shut. After a tribal jam in the laundry and a lot of shit talk we walked back to the Tuatara backpackers, which by the way, is an excellent backpackers. The staff there are awesome and very accommodating. The breakfast menu will attend to any ticks and diseases that can afflict you in the morning.

So in our drunken idiocy we stepped outside for a cigarette and left the key in our room. After scouring the building for possible entry points, we gave in and had to call Blair to let us in. What a bunch of cocks we are.

The drive home on Sunday consisted of 60kph through some abominably snowy conditions which on a number of occasions threatened to send us into paddocks, where the only survival option would have been to adopt a ewe for snuggles and milk from the teat. We listened to some stand up comedy most of the way, notably Doug Stanhope who is a fucking obscenely funny man. Some excellent views and rants that man has... insightful.

So on Thursday we head to Queenstown for two nights of gigs. Coincidentally, The Julian Temple band is playing up there on Friday so we'll get to watch them and I think Matt Brook is playing his last show with Sunset Cinema with us at the Dux on the Friday night. God that's gonna be awesome.

I will post some photos and video of this trip as soon as I figure out how to hook the video camera up to my computer.... I need a funny looking cable, and the camera is a vintage model.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

So, this being the first post on this blogspot, I thought I would just write a wee bit of history and a bit about plans for the near future.  

Biff Merchants have been playing together since around early 2007.  Beginning as a four piece, a shuffling of the lineup and some sabbatical behaviour has resulted in the current five piece lineup that exists today.  An Ep entititled, The Battle For Jubilee Park was released in October of 2007.  It consists of 5 tracks, with a running time of over half an hour.


The next step in the process that curtails merchant behaviour involves gigging lots over the next couple of months in order to provide us with enough cash dollars to fund our debut album, which is planned for recording at the end of September.  Regarding the album, we have been writing a fair bit in the hope that come track decision time, we will have a large base of songs to choose from.  Some concepts for the album were bandied about during an incredibly baked stint in Queenstown.  Whether or not these will see the light of day, I'm unsure.  

One issue we have been contemplating, is whether or not to re-record any of the songs from the EP.  Since these songs have now been developed and rewritten, the EP versions are mere shadows of the current incarnations.  So there may be a couple of tracks that will appear on the album, in new and refreshed versions.

We had initially planned to record in July of this year, but money issues meant we had to move it to September, which has actually meant that there has been more time for new material to emerge, and other song's potentials have been more fully realised.  The only way we have really managed to make it look as though we might have enough money to do this, is gigging outside of Dunedin receiving guarantees from venues.  

It is a real shame that in order to make money, you actually have to leave Dunedin and go to a smaller town, when Dunedin's student population really should negate the need to do this.  if you want to read more about this issue in Dunedin you should pop over to Tono's blog which is linked on the right.  Also there is a forum on Dunedinmusic.com which is discussing this issue. see that here: How To Make Dunedin Bands Rich.

Anyway, now that the boring introduction stuff is out of the way, we can begin to share our stories, experiences, highlights and traumas.