DENIZ TEK GROUP + SOLO
Deniz began his solo career in 1992 with the recording of the album "Take It To The Vertical". The assembled studio band included Chris Masuak from Radio Birdman, Scott Asheton from the Stooges and Dust Peterson from Dust and the Rotorheads. The album was produced and financed by Deniz with Andy Mort Bradley engineering at the Sugar Hill studios in Houston, Texas. The album was sold to Red Eye Records, a subsidiary arm of Polydor Australia. It marked the beginning of an ill starred relationship with the major label.
The band, with Bob Brown replacing Dust on bass, toured Australia in 1993. The tour ended after experiencing artistic success and enthusiastic crowds on the one hand but a badly mismanaged, near career destroying financial disaster on the other.
From the ashes of the conflagration, and with the help and guidance of John Foy, RedEye label manager, Deniz assembled a stable line-up that featured Celibate Rifles' Kent Steedman on guitar and Nik Rieth on drums along with ex New Christs and Barracudas' bass player Jim Dickson. The new band rehearsed, recorded and began playing shows around Australia in mid 1993. This line-up was to become known as The Deniz Tek Group.
Early 1994 saw them release the hard rock album "Outside" on Red Eye. This release was followed by a national Australian tour, and then in 1995 a grueling world tour encompassing Australia, Europe and the west coast of America. In early 1995, while in Australia, they recorded six tracks for an EP, to be called "444: The Number Of The Beat". Four songs were on the final disc, renamed "4-4" by the label. One of these tunes, the instrumental "Hondo's Dog", was considered a potential hit. However, the needed airplay did not materialise.
At the start of 1996 they experienced major problems with Red Eye over the recording of their next album, "Le Bonne Route", in Montana. Tough and experimental, this record proved to be a departure in more ways than simply its stylistic differences to its predecessors. Under increasing pressure from the parent company, Red Eye was forced to drop the band, leaving them to pay the already spent recording budget. Red Eye was subsequently dumped in turn by Polydor, the name continuing to exist to sell back catalogue only. The wheel of karma rolled on.
July of '96 was spent road testing the new material in Italy during what was a chaotic and unpredictable tour. A limited edition CD, the "Italian Tour EP '96", was specially released to celebrate the event.
In November, three weeks of shows were undertaken in Australia to support the new album, by then released on Citadel. "Le Bonne Route", unfortunately, was to be the end of the road for this exceptional line-up. Differences arose between Kent and other members, resulting in the band finishing the tour without him. Deniz and Jim regretfully decided to abandon the line-up, while hoping to work together again some day. Who could guess that would happen in the context of a revived Radio Birdman. Nik, one of the most hard hitting, powerful and adept rock drummers in Australia, went on to play full time with Tumbleweed, prior to quitting music altogether. The postmortem EP "Bad Road" and the CD concert recording "Got Live" were released as final offerings.
For Deniz, maintaining an Australian based band while working in the US, without the benefit of significant financial support in the form of advances, was untenable. In the end, with the tyrannies of time and distance, and with ever rising transportation costs, he realized a US based group was his only option to continue to perform and record in America and Europe. Art and Steve Godoy, who had played with Deniz on and off since the mid 90's, fulfilled this role.
"Le Bonne Route" was then released in America through Minneapolis based Prospective Records. The disc gained positive responses from both US press and alternative radio. Deniz did selective shows around the country with the Godoys.
"Equinox", the next album, was recorded in Montana with engineer, co producer, sonic explorer and electronic guru Dave Weyer. Dave was once Jimi Hendrix's amplifier mechanic and confidante. "Equinox", like "Le Bonne Route" before it, was a transition to the next phase. A most unusual interface indeed. Some of the old fans were dismayed. The album contained some true gems: "Seven Is", in 7/4 time signature; the Hendrix-inspired "Christmas Eve", the furious Latin rhythm / SciFi fusion of "Agua Caliente, and the Who-like "Billy Was A Cathar", a leftover tune from the "Bonne Route" sessions. There were the brutal lyrics of the Stones-like "Shellback". There were some edgy sonic experiments, like "Tone Poem". In retrospect, despite the highlights, the use of multiple singers and songwriters on other tracks tended to dilute the focus of the album, and to many, "Equinox" was too eclectic, too diverse, and just plain weird compared to Deniz' usual narrow-beam hard rocking approach. The album was toured around the USA and Europe with a new band of Montana musicians, Todd Eagle on bass and Tony Horton on drums. (Tony replaced the session drummer and percussionist, Clay Green, for the live work. See this lineup in action playing "Shellback" on Canal+ in France.
"Equinox" sold disappointingly. Even further out in left field, and much less well known, was Deniz's studio collaboration with Dave Weyer called The Glass Insects. Using strange and arcane electronic gear that Dave invented such as the Choratone, the Kazani, the Davophone and obscure 1930's Gibbs units, they gleefully recorded an album called "Cool and Unusual Punishment". Only 50 CDR copies were made.
Deciding it was time to return to his strengths, Deniz left experimentation on the back burner, and returned to basic high energy rock and roll with the album "Glass Eye World" under the band name Deniz Tek and the Golden Breed. Having Art Godoy on bass and his brother Steve on drums threw a powerful vintage punk element into the sound.
Deniz spent the next several years focusing his energy on the reformed Radio Birdman, with extensive touring and the writing and production of Birdman's final studio album, "Zeno Beach". Meanwhile, he found the time to fit in many various side projects (see: Last of the Bad Men, Deep Reduction, Powertrane, Three Assassins, Dodge Main, Angie Pepper, Penny Ikinger, Soul Movers, etc.)
Deniz's touring bands around that time varied depending on which continent he was on, and included bassists Andy Newman and Art Godoy; drummers Steve Godoy, Gerard Presland and Calvin Welch; and keyboardists Pip Hoyle and Ron Sanchez.
Radio Birdman took to the road with the release of "Zeno Beach", with exhaustive world tours in both 2006 and 2007. After induction into the ARIA Hall of Fame at the end of 2007, the band, suffering the loss of drummer Rusty Hopkinson and keyboardist Pip Hoyle, was put on indefinite hold. Never one to stand still for very long, Deniz began writing for a new solo project, his first in ten years. This work culminated in the 2013 release of the album "Detroit". Remembering lessons of the past, Deniz did all the songwriting, played all guitars, did all the singing, and even played bass on some tracks. With Bob Brown on bass and Ric Parnell, the extraordinary veteran of Atomic Rooster, Deviants, Spinal Tap and many more on drums, "Detroit" was sonically and artistically the most coherent, focused and intense of Deniz' solo work to date. "Detroit" was Deniz's first solo release on Bozeman label Career Records. The easy and productive partnership between Deniz and Career label boss Ron Sanchez has endured to this day. Critically acclaimed, "Detroit" did well, selling out its first pressing.
In 2014 Radio Birdman regrouped with the return of Pip Hoyle on keyboards. Nik Rieth was convinced to pick up the sticks again and took over on drums. Dave Kettley replaced Chris Masuak on guitar. The new lineup hit the world stage, to great success. Between both solo and Radio Birdman touring commitments, and working with James Williamson on his "Acoustic KO" ep project, Deniz wrote the next album: "Mean Old Twister" - the title taken from Lightning Hopkins' "Backwater Blues".
"Twister" featured the same lineup as "Detroit". In addition to release on Career Records, Wild Honey Records picked up the rights in Europe and did their own vinyl release.
In quick succession, the next album was conceived, written, arranged and recorded. "Lost For Words" was something Deniz had wanted to do for a long time: an all-instrumental album, featuring original surf, spy-fi and spaghetti western soundtrack music. "Lost For Words" was recorded for Career and Wild Honey with the same lineup, plus Keith Streng, guitarist for The Fleshtones, as guest on a few tracks. Deniz had been touring the US and Europe with Art and Steve Godoy, as a trio, but had recently added Keith to the band.
While continuing to play between 50 and 60 shows per year, Deniz, Art and Steve got together and recorded the next album, "Fast Freight", at Bob Brown's "Ship's In" studio in Billings, Montana. Bob had acquired and restored a couple of vintage tape machines, and Deniz jumped at the chance to go back to old-school recording techniques. The album was recorded on 8 track tape in two days. The band picked up Keith and after a warm-up show in New York City, went to Europe and then China to tour the new material.
With the aim to play in very small venues and bars, Deniz has played several small acoustic shows. Most recently, these have featured Anne Tek on guitar and Jim Dickson on bass, with no drums. The low key, casual approach, with plenty of audience interaction, has gone down well. It has proven to be a popular format, enjoyed by the band and the people alike.
James Williamson mentioned that he had been approached by Cleopatra Records in LA with an offer for he and Deniz to co-write and record an album of all new original songs. They were offering a budget that would allow for quality production. Deniz accepted the deal, and proceeded to write and arrange songs with James over the next six months. They recorded basic tracks at Studio D in Sausalito, CA with veteran rock and roll drummer Michael Urbano and bass player Michael Scanland, with James producing the sessions. Deniz recorded the lead vocals in Hilo, Hawaii, again with James guiding hand at the controls. After final overdubs, the album was mixed in San Francisco in March of 2020, just as the pandemic began. The resulting album, "Two To One", was released in September of that year.
During the pandemic, no touring was possible. Deniz and his wife Anne spent the next year and a half getting an album together. It was recorded at Ship's In in August of 2021. This time, Deniz and Anne play guitar, with Bob Brown producing and playing bass. Although best known as a guitarist, Keith Streng played drums on the sessions, drums being his first instrument. Recently mastered, the album "Long Before Day" is pending release.
Currently planning a tour of Europe for early 2023, Deniz continues along his path as an avowed industry outsider, to produce music for devotees around the world in the same uncompromising manner that has always been his way.