In 1997, Dave Graney, Clare Moore and Tony Mahony had a mad idea to get a tv show happenning. It was to be a late night show called "AO", and for the briefest of moments it looked like it was going to become a reality.
art tony mahony
The Situation and the motivation.
Six months before, I had won the ARIA (Australian record induatry award) for Best Male vocalist. The awards had been going for ten years and previously had been won by Johnny Farnham, Diesel and Jimmy Barnes. We had our records coming out in Europe and our meisterwork, "the Devil Drives" was just about to come out. We felt like we should try anything. (There is a time in the life of some musicians which can be described as "the Imperial Period". The time when all seems possible.)
 
The Concept.
AO was to be set in the vast mansion of a disillusioned rock singer. Rather like "the Great Gatsby" he wanders the endless corridors while an equally endless party (which he has thrown) goes on. He is very down and seeking answers to his funk, his malaise. He keep opening doors to find different people in different rooms and situations. Some of these people have been iinvited to stay and have been in the mansion for months. Dave Graney (for he is the disillusioned singer) is able to stop and talkto each of these people and ask them for advice, for directions out of the dead end he finds himself in.


art tony mahony
The guests.
In general the guests were going to be the feature. Dave Graney was going to be asking them for advice and they would be performing and doing their thing. Dave was not going to be a "wild and crazy guy, he was down and everybody else was up. The main idea was to feature people who rarely ever get onto tv . These people would be poets, actors, activists, musicians (whether they had a record out at the moment or not) and other people from outside the usual media window frame.
The Vibe.
There was to be a general vibe of artifice and unreality. A house, an endless party and a search for advice. Musicians were to just suddenly be playing in the corner of the room.Miming only. We thought it would be great if all the performers only had to worry about projecting for the camera, the sound would be that of their cd.
Dave Wray, (Frank Bennett) was to be my embittered offsider who was working all manner of scams around the mansion, selling stuff of mine out the back door and bootlegging the artists.

 
The Reality
We filmed two segments as a sort of pilot. These were to be the "interview" situations and most of the show would have been done in post production. The first was me walking into the mansions gym where Henry Rollins was lifting some weights. I talked to him about jazz, music, black flag, who else was at the party and his days as a manager of a Haagen Daaz ice cream store. Clare also backed him on vibes while he read a poem to camera.
We then filmed an interview with Perth socialte Rose Porteus Hancock (who is currently in a seemingly never ending battle for her late husbands multi milion dollar estate with the rest of his family. The papers being full of intimations of bad behaviour and foul play). She took 3 hours to get her make up on and then came blasting out onto the "set". I hardly had to ask a question . It was all stuff like "Look at my ass Dave! Yeah! I still got it!" She also dispensed a few homilies like "when I meet a man I look at his shoes and I look at his crotch!". Tony Mahony was killing himself beind the camera and came up to me and said, "I can see what happened to old Lang, fucked to death". She also made us buy her new cookbook and invited us all to her house, "Prix d'Amore" whenever we were over in the West.
The tapes went to a convoluted string of people at the ABC and the response was , generally, "why is Dave being so quiet?". It didn't get the nod and we ditched the idea.
In the next year or two, lot of stylistic devices were used on the tv show "recovery" such as filming it in a big house and the anchor of the show having an evil, disgruntled offsider that had a ring of familiarity about them. Oh well. After that little adventure we confirmed ourselves to just playing and writing music from then on. The rest of it was too collaborative and too hard.

pic tony mahony