DENIZ TEK GROUP
Le Bonne route
Company: Citadel (Aust) - Cat No: (citcd534)
Format: cd album - Released: Sept 1996 - Status: in print - To order, click HERE
Le Bonne Route was recorded at the end of 1995 prior to the band's departure from Red Eye Records. Red Eye had promised to pick up the tab for the recording when their yearly budget became available in January 1996 so the band proceeded to outlay their own money on the recording in advance.
When the time came for repayment by Red Eye, the money was not forthcoming. They were served a letter stating that their option on the band had expired or the money was to be paid immediately. Being unable to rectify these problems by the contractual deadline, they unceremoniously dumped the band, who simply walked the one block from Red Eye to Citadel for their new deal.
In fairness to Red Eye it must be noted that the core problem was more to do with their fatally deteriorating relationship with PolyGram Music rather than with their actual relationship to the band.
The inside colour band shot was taken somewhere in Tuscany by the band's Italian buddy and A10 bass player, Romano Pasquini. The US release is missing this photo.
People keep asking about the title's bad French grammar. It ought to be La Bonne Route. Some reviewers have bluntly stated the band should have used a dictionary but the title was intentional and the idea of Jim Dickson. You'll have to ask Jim why he pushed for this. No one in the band really knows.
Prospective Records (USA)
Cat No: (trg 89 363-2) - Released: July 1997 - Status: Out of print
Imaginary Man ( D Tek / K Steedman ) (2:06 m:s)
Lunatics At The Edge Of The World ( D Tek / N Rieth ) (2:20 m:s)
Away From Here ( D Tek / K Steedman ) (2:53 m:s)
Tubular Dreams ( D Tek / K Steedman ) (3:01 m:s)
Rabbits' Foot ( J Dickson / N Rieth / K Steedman / D Tek ) (4:22 m:s)
Clear Itself ( D Tek ) (3:42 m:s)
Salted Leeches ( D Tek ) (3:21 m:s)
Saucer Pilot Blues ( J Dickson / N Rieth / K Steedman / D Tek ) (2:28 m:s)
Ze Good Way ( D Tek / K Steedman ) (2:48 m:s)
Dave's Insanity ( D Tek / K Steedman ) (2:31 m:s)
VMO ( J Dickson / N Rieth / K Steedman / D Tek ) (7:57 m:s)
Deniz Tek - Vocals, Guitar, Harmonica / Kent Steedman - Guitar, Vocals
Jim Dickson - Bass, Vocals /
Nik Rieth - Drums, Percussion, Vocals / Clay Green - Percussion
Produced by Deniz Tek, Kent Steedman and Dave Weyer
Engineered by Dave Weyer
Recorded at David Weyer Systems Billings, Montana, 1995
Deniz wrote a track by track description for Citadel's press release:
Imaginary Man: Fast traditional Stooge-based rocker with a syncopated, key shifted middle 8. Chief feature: dual power chording. Lyrics metaphorically describe mans' imprisonment within himself, and his inability to know even the interior of the prison.
Lunatics at the Edge of the World: Ode to Syd Barrett and Roky Erikson featuring Mallard-like drum based instrumental verses and heavy power chorded verses. Outstanding one-note solo by Kent. Caliente'!
Away From Here: Tight, claustrophobic tension filled verses with desert-dry guitar chords give way to expansive, open choruses that shimmer with reverbed depth and machine gun drum fills. Lyrics written and sung by Kent.
Tubular Dreams: Medium paced ballad starting with a nearly a cappella vocal intro, moving through changes featuring disharmonic guitar chords played simultaneously, giving the otherwise straightforward approach a slightly bent edge. Acoustic slide guitar from Deniz, comes close to folk blues, later electric slide from Kent resolves our path safely back into Beefheart territory.
Rabbits Foot: Each band member wrote and sang a verse. Verses sung behind loose polyharmonic guitars and polyrhythmic percussion effects. Think: what if Bonzo Dog had a track on Trout Mask Replica. Chief feature: the sound of an electric sander spooling up. Hard rock is fun again! An alternate song title could have been "You're Never Alone With A Multiple Personality Disorder".
Clear Itself: Straight-ahead fast rock with melodic choruses. Like Tubular, the lyrical content deals with personal contacts in another world. Dream or reality? Who knows? For those with inquiring minds, the Boss PN-2 tremolo pan unit is used to good effect, and the guitars and bass resolve in a round, as in Row Your Boat.
Salted Leeches: Stones-like medium paced guitar rock song, which ends up with a free jam at the end. The engineer fortunately let the tape (sorry, hard drive) run. An experiment with less distorted, cleaner guitar sounds.
Saucer Pilot Blues: The working title was "Yard Cult" because while writing it, the guys thought the song was evolving into something between the Yardbirds and the Blue Oyster Cult. Fairly challenging riff based rock, which goes through the changes at a breakneck pace. Deniz and Nik say "don't ask us to do this one live", with good reason. The song could explode at any moment.
Ze Good Way: Tribal percussion/drum polyrhythms lock horns with a heavy industrial bass riff in the instrumental choruses, contrasting with power chord verses. A late 60's psychedelic inspired guitar solo and one of Deniz' best hard-edged vocals to date complete the picture. C'est "in ze good way", mais certainment.
Dave's Insanity: Some may be put off by Kent's seemingly murderous lyrics, but can you believe this is really about food? The most traditional rock 'n roll song on the album, with searing distorted harmonica, vocal harmonies in the middle 8, and a standard issue Birdman solo. A disrespectful salute to the past.
VMO: Written by the entire band from a free-form jam, VMO is a slow droning dirge-like ballad. Lyrically and musically surreal, dreamlike, multilayered, and laced with chilling percussion effects, it's just the thing to drift off to after a heavy dose of insanity.
Review from CMJ:
In the mid-to-late '70s, Australian rock 'n' rollers kicked out the jams, so to speak, producing seminal proto-punk bands like the Saints and Radio Birdman that borrowed heavily from the Midwest's protoproto-punk (i.e. the Stooges and MC5) and that, quite frankly, could have given the punk rock being made halfway around the world in England at the time the brassknuckled beating of its life. Both rock fans in Australia and beyond have Deniz Tek to thank for much of that apocalyptic sonic ass-kicking: Not only was he the lead guitarist in Radio Birdman, but the Ann Arbor, Michigan, native can be credited with introducing many of those Australian musicians to his assault of a record collection when he emigrated there in the early-'70s. And now, as 1997 brings us a tidal wave of electronica, who could complain that the mighty Tek has decided to take the road of the MC5's Wayne Kramer and return from at least a decade of whatever-happened-to status? Le Bonne Route explodes with Tek's ferocious guitar style; he tears through these cuts like a man possessed and, as always, plays his solos at the altar of the aforementioned Kramer. By comparison to recent rock 'n' roll efforts, Tek and co. will practically shock you with their raw, primordial approach to rock 'n' roll, but it's just the jolt you need. Blow the roof of the joint with these riot-starters: "Rabbits' Foot," "Imaginary Man," "Tubular Dreams," "Salted Leeches" and "Ze Good Way."
Cheryl Botchick © 1978-1998 College Media, Inc. All rights reserved.