DIARY - 20 JUNE 2004 - ANNE MCCUE
MCCUE - FROM JESUS TO JUDAS
"I wanted to be like Jesus/ but I turned out like Judas/ I schemed
a lot and cheated my way through/ I lied to me and I lied to you."
- Gandhi - Anne McCue.
landed songs in TV series diverse as Dawson's Creek and U C Undercover
and plans to shoot a video in the Joshua Tree national desert near
where Gram Parsons won infamy for a creative cremation.
Anne McCue has come a long way since her debut with ARIA nominated
hard rockers Girl Monstar and Melbourne band Creatures
From The Blue Lagoon.
McCue, youngest of eight children of a milkman from the southern
Sydney suburb of Campbelltown, performs here in July before international
tours with mentor Lucinda Williams and Heart.
between those tours the latter day L A "valley girl" wants
to shoot her video at her producer Dusty Wakeman's ranch.
has a ranch in the Joshua Tree desert," McCue told Nu Country, "we're
going to make a western for Ballad Of An Outlaw Woman."
Wakeman's ranch is near where Parsons, just 26, was cremated when tour
manager Phil Kaufman and Aussie mate Michael Martin stole his body from
an airport hangar after he died of a booze and heroin overdose on September
McCue's song, from her Wakeman produced third album Roll, has a
videogenic theme not quite as surreal as the Parsons creative cremation
that earned the villains a $500 fine - not for stealing the body, but
a great western fan," McCue revealed, "I've seen so many
movies, especially with John Ford. I love westerns because of the
archetypical characters, the same stories, sort of like Shakespeare.
Westerns don't have much to do with reality."
McCue is well qualified to delve into videos - she is a graduate of
Sydney University of Technology with an Arts degree in film production
And it was live shows in L A that were the catalyst for her songs
being used in TV shows and movies.
McCue & Dusty Wakeman
people heard my songs when they came to my gigs," the guitar slinger
"Sam Bottoms from Apocalypse Now is making a movie and used
a song of mine in it."
It's long after leaving Campbelltown - source of her title track, Roll,
and paternal eulogy Milkman's Daughter.
So how accurate were those songs?
"I was kicked out of school," McCue admitted.
"I felt I had to leave town, Sydney, for my own survival. My father
died a long time ago, just after he retired. The song mentions the graveside
and the rain did fall down at the funeral. He never really heard me play."
McCue played with Girl Monstar and Creatures From The Blues Lagoon before
scoring a Vietnam tour of musical duty from blues man benefactor Geoff
She returned home and recorded most of her debut disc Amazing Ordinary
Things at Tim Finn's Periscope home studio in Caulfield.
But she joined Canadian acoustic rock band Eden a.k.a for two Lilith Fair
tours in 1998 and 1999 before finishing her debut solo album.
AND JOHNNY CASH
But it was the Vietnam experience that inspired her song 50 Dollar
"It was inspired by the time I spent in Vietnam," McCue explained
of a song that used the desperation of a whore as a metaphor for a ruptured
"I was really still in love with someone. I came back and wrote it
much later. It was not all true. I had really broken up. You do things
you shouldn't, if you had more self-respect you wouldn't have. I was playing
music in Vietnam for almost a year where I saw all the poverty and corruption.
I went to Hanoi, it was a beautiful city where people had national pride
in their culture."
McCue's album kicks off with I Want You Back - a videogenic love
"I had been through it years before and a friend was going through
it," McCue explained. "I heard a radio interview with Johnny
Cash by Tim Robbins - the actor. For two hours he talked about his whole
life. The twang in my song came from his music, hearing him talk. It was
the emotion he put into the words, just to hear him talk. I had already
read his autobiography. He was a great guy, a great human being. He led
an incredible life."
wrote Hangman after reading The People's History Of The United
States Of America.
"It's a history of minorities, slaves, women, Irish, minorities,
underdogs - the oppressed," McCue says.
"It was inspired by the Ku Klux Klan. There is always a mask
on the executioner's face. It's just cowardice.
This woman's lover had been hunted down and strung up. She's mad
to the point of hysteria and wants to look the hangman in the eyes."
Several songs such as Gandhi - in which she draws contrasts between
Buddha and Nixon, Jesus and Judas and Gandhi and Hitler - came to
McCue with swift spontaneity.
bought this line unit when you loop the guitars, I played over top
of that and made up the words," McCue says, "it probably
took only 10 minutes, divine inspiration."
the singer draws from The Byrds and sounds like long time friend Sherry
"We were both listening to Lucinda and other alternative country
music," McCue said.
"For me it was The Byrds with the 12 string electric. It came in
just 20-30 minutes, came out really easily. I was not sure it was any
good but Dusty really loved that."
So how did McCue, who recorded live album Ballad Of An Outlaw Woman
at the famed Fillmore in San Francisco while on tour with Lucinda in 2002,
hook up with Wakeman?
was a series of coincidences," recalls McCue.
"I was opening for Jim Lauderdale in L.A. Dusty was playing bass
in the band. They saw me play. I met Jim but I didn't meet Dusty.
I met Lucinda and ran into Dusty again and gave him my live CD from
the Lucinda tour. I had written this song I Want You Back and
cut it with him I then went back and cut the album with him on bass.
Dave Raven was on drums and Carl played organ and accordion. I played
lap steel on Hangman. I just wanted to do it 3 piece with drums and
McCue with Lucinda Williams
track is a nine minute plus version of Jimi Hendrix instrumental Machine
McCue returns to the scene of a previous rhyme - the Cornish Arms, Brunswick,
on July 10 for a triumphant launch of Roll on Cooking Vinyl and
distributed here by Shock.
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