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David Ewan McArtney


The Songwriter

Songs on the first two Hello Sailor albums written or co-written by McArtney – ‘Gutter Black’, ‘Hooked’, ‘All Around This Town’, ‘Tube’N’Train’, ‘Tears Of Blood’, ‘Chained All Round’, ‘The Boys In Brazil’, ‘I’m A Texan’.

More songs by McArtney – ‘Remember The Alamo’, ‘I’m In Heaven’, ‘Never Fade Away’, ‘Virginia’, ‘Pink Flamingo’. 

 

Quotes

Dave’s own 2004 bio excerpt about the Pink Flamingos: “Band Dave McArtney and the Pink Flamingos formed out of the ashes of the early demise of two Auckland bands in Sydney in 1980, Hello Sailor and Dragon. The latter had been hugely successful, the former had wavered between cultish notoriety in Los Angeles and a healthy pub rock reputation in New Zealand and Australia. It was in the dressing room of the Bondi Lifesaver that Paul Hewson, Dragon’s piano player, suggested we get a simple unassuming band together, write simple hooky pop songs, hide away in a club in Auckland, and play at being cocktail lounge lizards. We did, and became the house band at Jilly’s in O’Connell St. We played from dusk till dawn, four nights a week, and hosted and sometimes even backed just about every touring artist that came through town, from Tommy Adderley to the Cure.”

Inspirational McArtney lyric: “All right all right all right Virginia/You’ve got me loving every inch within ya.”

Asked by Trevor Reekie in 2005 whether he would have done it differently, he said: “I would have had my eyes completely open while I was getting fucked up the arse.”

Asked for words of advice to young musos: “Plan ahead with your personal career. Remember that the ingestion of toxic substances is cumulative – what’s fun at 20 is death at 50. And keep your eyes open when signing deals.”

McArtney’s near-death experiences were legendary. Graham Brazier gave him CPR in 1975 when his heart stopped after getting a shock from faulty gear (an experience that inspired the song ‘I’m In Heaven’), and more recently, he sustained a broken collarbone and ribs after being thrown off a horse called Dangerous.

 

The working title of ‘Gutter Black’ was ‘Sickness Benefit’. He was irked that people misunderstood the lyrics, as he told the NZ Herald in 2006: “It’s not a love song at all. I explore the theme of rivers, talk about the Limpopo and the Seine. It’s like a mother releasing the son from the comforts of the nest.”

  

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