January 03, 2008

Happy New Year From Chopper Read

Chopper.jpgSo, how did you all welcome in the New Year? I spent much of the evening engaged in the supremely dorky but strangely edifying activity of scouring a radio station’s CD library for rockabilly instrumentals, Vampisoul re-issues and tweaking French electro-schlock to be played on a ridiculously extended version of Daz’s drive-time show.

In the process, I came across a truly unexpected and mind boggling cultural artefact, an EP of mongrel mid 90’s country/metal/techno entitled “The Smell of Love” which features drolly intoned vocals by Australia’s most infamous hitman, Mark “Chopper” Read. (If you’re unfamiliar with him, you might want to check out his Wikipedia entry, or track down the DVD of his biopic, Chopper, which helped launch the Hollywood career of The Hulk’s Eric Bana.)

The music is nothing to write home about but Chopper’s contributions (which were clandestinely recorded while he was still in gaol) are genuinely creepy. Mind you, Chopper could recite lullabies in that menacing drawl of his and you’d still be nervously checking that all doors were locked and bolted.

The EP, which was released in 1997, earned Chopper and his musical collaborator, Colin Dix, an Aria nomination for best contemporary release and was followed up in 1998 by a full length album, "Get Your Ears Off" (a reference to the fact that Chopper had his ears sliced off while he was inside). Neither of these set the world on fire, so Chopper’s musical career remained on remand until its relaunch in 2006 by Australian hip hop impresario Jaydub, who produced the album, “Interview With A Madman” and got Chopper a run of gigs at the Sydney Opera House.

Despite the title and its marketing as genuine “gangsta rap”, this slick new product is a lot less chilling than its late 90's predecessor. Mind you, that’s still like saying someone waving a gun in your face is a lot less chilling than someone jamming a gun in your temple…

Anyway, here’s a couple of Chopper tracks from both of his “pop star” incarnations so you can judge for yourself. The first track is off “The Smell Of Love”; the second is from “Interview With A Madman”. Chopper’s website offers a number of options for purchasing his “gangsta rap” album, and one of his earlier albums can be purchased here.

Chopper - Another Day, Another Dollar
Chopper - Played More Gangsters

Posted by Warren at January 3, 2008 08:27 PM | Prison Music