Goya's Child (1 & 2) were an early to mid-90s alternative rock group situated in Central Victoria, Australia. Over its two incarnations the band produced a number of tapes and CDs but the full ouevre has never been generally available (over 50 songs) - though a number of the band's songs featured on national and Victorian radio stations in the early to mid-90s. Goya's Child (2) also contributed many songs to the sound track for the Australian SF movie 'Freedom Deep' (three versions: 1996-2008). The band (both incarnations) has been listed in the 'Whos Who of Australian Rock' since the mid-1990s This page gives an overview of the early history of the band - the period when Ian was lead singer and co-lyricist (1991 to October 1993). Moves are currently afoot to make the full ouevre (1991-1998) available for online listening - building on recent work done at Reverbnation which mostly showcases GC2 material (though with reworked arrangements of a number of GC1 songs).
"Goya's Child were probably the most haunting 90s alt rock band you never got to listen to ..."
[Click the link to go to music by Ian's more recent (2012-2013) recording projects with the band 'Interstitium']
As of 2013 Goya's Child strikes me as an 22 year old 'entity' - almost an archetypal-transpersonal energy/force - that simply refuses to die/fade out, despite the best efforts of its various members over the years! It muddles along in a coma, on resuscitation if you like, neglected, bigger than all of us, but never quite achieving more general currency - perhaps its perpetual closeness to oblivion has kept GC strangely authentic and beyond simple commercialisation. Interestingly, in the last couple of years songs by both versions of the band have gained wider distribution in more countries than at any point in the band's history. GC (1&2) songs, with accompanying hastily created videos (some with live audio recordings at Australian pubs and venues from the early 90s, others connected to Freedom Deep) have recently featured at (or been embedded into) hundreds of sites in numerous countries (including the US, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Australia, Thailand, Russia, Czechoslovakia, Malaysia, the UK, Canada, etc.
After my last gig with the band in October 1993 I had a long time to meditate on the archetype behind the band and its music and this page starts to tell something of the band's early story, for the sake of posterity. My goal here is to honor the 'meme like', i.e. 'virus-like', will of the theme/concept/energy behind many of the GC1 songs.
The overall feel of a GC1 performance is that of late 80s early 90s alternative rock, think The Cure, Interpol, The Pixies, The Smiths, Nick Cave, The Smashing Pumpkins, U2 etc. - our trademark was a certain kind of hypnotic distorted/echo rhythm and lead guitar backed by expressionistic vocals, heavy bass riffs and haunting gothic synth sounds.
The History of Goya's Child (Version 1 - 1991-1994)
Goya's Child (1) was founded as a musical entity in the winter of 1991. Its inception was slow - something like a Tolkien epic. The actual idea was first mooted in 1987 when I was sitting around with my then partner, Dalia Estrin, my brother Andy Irvine, and his girlfriend, Christine, and a fellow flat mate and long time friend James Gaghan. I went for a stroll with two ponies who were shitting all over a bare field and came back with the name 'Goya's Child'. We were thinking about Arthur Janov's Primal Scream psychology - Janov had theorised that childhood in the modern industrialised world was inherently traumatic. Needless to say Goya's famous painting, 'Saturn Devouring Cronus' encapsulated the theory most clearly. For years after that day out at Emu Creek road - the back-blocks of Bendigo - I used the name as a kind of magic charm to go with the copious amounts of original (but incomplete) music I was writing about teenage/ early twenties angst.
When I went back to university in 1990 I became good friends with James Mannix, at that time a classical guitarist intent, like myself, on a humanities education. Both of us were frustrated by the lack of original music in Bendigo. We thus decided to form a band of our own. I had messed around since 1988 with a recording band - also called Goya's Child - and I'd recorded dozens of songs with John Drougas a then friendly commercial cleaner (later fellow Humanities student) who ran a low-cost local recording studio as a sideline business. The musical skill necessary to take my ideas for songs to the next level had however, evaded me, until that is my meeting with the then 'clean cut' young humanities student Jamie Mannix.
At that time James was playing classical guitar in pubs around the region: 'digestion music' as he called it. He professed to have no idea how to play electric guitar. However, his skill with the classical guitar impressed me and tentatively we began writing songs together - the dream was 'simply' to earn a living from music.
James and I eventually moved into a two bedroom flat only one hundred meters from the university (we still never quite got to lectures on time!). The two of us were in our second year of a B.A. Humanities at Bendigo's campus of La Trobe University. The heady air of student life combined with the frustrations I felt at being separated from my children (I'd split with their mother in late 1990) began to produce a plethora of original compositions by the middle of the year. Together we wrote dozens of songs. The purchase of both a top of the range synthesiser (Yamaha SY77) and top quality sound system (with the requisite 'vocal effects' unit!) also sent us looking for a bassist, a drummer and a synth player. It also sent me close to the poverty line since I was still paying back a large Austudy debt!
By September of 1991 the problem had been resolved (though I was still eating badly!) ... two local psyche nurses, Liam Thorpe and Richie O'Neil joined the band. Liam to play bass and back up vocals and Richie to play drums. Liam's capacity to improvise musically and create lyrics and Richie's steady drumming on a beast of a kit allowed the 'band' to take a new direction (Goya's Child was about to become .... a garage band!) [Link to themes behind the name and music of Goya's Child (1) 1991-late 1993. See also Chapter 16, 'Isle of Ecstasy and Holy Terror', (also features images) from my up-coming non-fiction book Muse of the Long-Haul: Thirty-One Isles of the Creative Imagination up at SCRIBD, 2013. ].
The music began to flow fast and furious, many of the band's better songs came in the next six months. It was during this period that our own peculiar style - gothic, bleak, melodic, dark, and poetic - was established. In general I sang lyrics into a microphone, Liam backed them up or sometimes sang his own stuff, James improvised on guitar and Richie tried to set the rhythm tone. Often songs came out all but complete on the first recording. Our general theory was that a musician/artist/poet should open up to the unseen inspirational elements in one's unconscious and the cosmos. The muse continued to visit us at regular intervals. It was during this time also that our fifth and final member joined - Steven White. Steven had never actually played synth, but since the band was guitar based we figured it didn't matter! After diligently learning the music set him he began to improvise and add mood to the strange and disturbing musical sounds that the band were producing in the latter part of 1991. The other key element at this time was Scott Hunt the band's mixer.
Typical Goya's Child (1) Gig - September 1991 to October 1993.
A typical 22 song GC gig featured our 12-13 main songs two or three others and five or six covers. We tried to organise gigs in terms of an arc of intensity - starting with lighter lead in songs then descending into darker more intense pieces climaxing with songs like 'She must be Sleeping' and 'Dark song'. The latter part of the gig was then given over to lighter more dance oriented numbers - celebration for thos who had endured the catharsis of 'Act 2' of our show! The main songs (1993) [WARNING: the bulk of these are old pre-digital recordings from live GC 1 gigs, jam sessions or old tape based recordings - and in MP3 format. For better recorded, more recent versions of some of these songs go to the Reverbnation site of GC2]:
Turn that Clock Around, The Loser, Underground, Wasteland, Day After Day, Candleflesh, Arabian, Nobody's Child, With the Muse, Goya's Child, Haunted Lullaby, She Must be Sleeping, Dark Song, Again and Again, Words of Warning, 'Get Me a Lawyer (Evil), Insanity, City Lights; 'The Gods of Autumn'... [Click also for a recent (2013) version of 'Turn that Clock/Letter to You' (3 min sample copyright Ian Irvine 2013 - based on the original by Irvine/Mannix 1991, all rights reserved)]
In looking back a typical Goya's Child (1) gig was profoundly 'intense' - perhaps the lighter, more mystical overall tone to Goya's Child (2) was an unconscious attempt to rectify the obsession with life's shadow side that had dominated the early year's of the band.
*More about Goya's Child from the Reverbnation site (New York) - contains mostly Goya's Child (2) info and material at present - i.e. 1994-1998, after I'd left the band - (though some material up there was played by GC 1). The site also features a useful band bio/history (though there are some inaccuracies) and other band memorabalia stretching from 1991 to 1998. The site may grow to be exhaustive of all GC 1 & 2 material in coming months. You can also watch GC2 videos - many connected to the movie Freedom Deep. Enjoy!
* What songs did we perform, record or jam? Go to draft song list for all Goya's Child (1) material 1991-1993 - NB: this is not yet definitive - former members are still trawling through many hours of old recordings!
Belated Public Thankyous
After departing the band I didn't get a chance to publicly thank a range of people who had supported and inspired me during my years fronting Goya's Child. The new communications technology however allows me finally to make such a statement. The following people sustained, challenged, inspired and sometimes supported me during my time in Goya's Child (and in many cases after I left).
Firstly, I'd like to thank the guys themselves Liam, Y.T. James, and Richie. More personally: John Holton, Cath Holton, John Charalambous, Evelyn Charalambous, Sean Stanyer, Gareth and Meagan, Alan Simmonds, Kyra Bethell, Lionel Exell, James Gaghan and Jo, Deanne and Toby, Sean and Min (and Colin), Scott Hunt, Scott Alterator, Peter Pascoe, Gary, Duncan, Wayne Blakely, Graeme and Karen, Al Cole, Scott, Shane Kendall, Donna, Deb, Rod Blackhirst, Jo, Mary Katai, Jackie and Jeff, all the graphos who contributed to GC (1) cover art during that period, the members of The Poet's Mahone, Michelle Stadler, Peter Stadler, Chris, Simmone, Jules, Karen and Kengie Hepworth, Kristen, Tim Jenkyns, Sara Gormely, Chappy, Sara Grimmer, Brett Hicks, Claudette, Harry, Roger, John, Clive, Bob, Gwen, the guys in Teenage Head, the members of Tomorrow Wendy, the guys in Exit, the members of Behemoth, the publicans at the Waterloo Hotel, The Golden Vine Hotel, The Crown, Velvets, and the Brian Boru Hotel, owners/managers of other Victorian pubs, nightclubs and live music venues that employed us to play, all those involved with Art Space. I'm also grateful to the many GC regulars who turned up to our gigs simply because they loved the music. Finally, and most importantly, thanks to my fellow traveller in the world of the arts, poet/writer, Sue King-Smith.
Links to Video Files (MP3 and You-Tube videos) featuring GC (1 & 2) music:
* Go to You Tube Channel View of various Goya's Child (1) songs/videos (from rare audio recordings of live gigs from the early 1990s) These files up-loaded since late July, 2010 (6 song videos).
* Go to You-Tube: 'Arizona Desert Sandstorm' a short movie featuring live version (Velvets Night Club Bendigo) of the GC (1) song 'Wasteland'.
* Go to the 1993 recording of the Goya's Child (1) song Haunted Lullaby (at You-Tube). Apologies for the non-digital recording quality (it was recorded in 1993). Copyright notice: Music to Haunted Lullaby copyright Goya's Child (1) 1992, (this recording 1993). Lyrics/lyric melodies cowritten by Ian Irvine and Liam Thorpe, 1992, Music: YT, James mannix and Richie O'Neil all rights reserved.
* Go to You-Tube, Goya's Child (1) song:'Get Me a Lawyer (Evil)', copyright 1992 Thorpe, Mannix, O'Neil, YT, Irvine, all rights reserved. This arrangement copyright GC (1) 1993. [This version of the song received radio play on ABC Australia's JJJ in 1993-94 - a later arrangement by GC (2) featured on the Freedom Deep movie DVD, 1996-2008].
* Go to U-Tube, Goya's Child (1) song 'The Gods of Autumn' copyright 1991 Irvine, Thorpe, Mannix, O'Neil, White (Y.T.) all rights reserved. This version live at Art Space Bendigo 1992. A revised version of this song with a different theme and lyrics by Thorpealone was recorded by GC (2) in the mid-90s, that version appeared on the Australian feature film 'Freedom Deep' (1996-2010).
*Go to You-Tube film featuring: Underground by Goya's Child (1) copyright, Irvine, Y.T, Thorpe, O'Neil and Mannix 1991. This video recorded live at the Golden Vine Hotel Bendigo, 1993. AND 'Stonehenge Summer Solstice: images of UK and Four Corners US Neolithic monuments with Shamanic associations. Footage copyright Ian Irvine 2010.
Go to 'Freedom Deep' trailer featuring various GC (1) and GC (2) songs including1996-2008 arrangements of 'She Must be Sleeping' and 'The Arabian' from the GC (1) repertoire (originally written in 1992-1993 copyright GC (1).
*Go to the You-Tube Goya's Child (version 2) of the song Wailing to the Waves, copyright circa early 1994, Thorpe, YT, Mannix and Oneil, all rights reserved.