Interview: Al Grigg – Nothing’s Shocking at Tokyo Sing Song

February 28th 2014

Al Grigg has

Photo from Tokyo Sing Song facebook

Was it all a dream?

It can sometimes feel that way with Tokyo Sing Song. A late night venue dedicated to the eccentric. Every month a new curator takes over and provides a new element of madness.

Nothing’s Shocking curators Al Grigg (Palms, Straight Arrows, ex-Red Riders) and partner in crime Danny Dekeito (ex-Ernest Ellis, professional booze hound) have just wrapped up their February oddball music takeover of the drinking den.

FBi’s Daniel Prior found the hospital Al Grigg had checked into for his stage one recovery after the madness of it all to find out what it was like to take musical dictatorship of Tokyo Sing Song.


DP: What did it feel like to be a curator and how was it working with Danny DeKeito?

AG: This was my first time curating anything. I liked how pretentious it sounded. So much more impressive than ‘booker’ or ‘events coordinator’. Working with Danny DeKeito AKA Keita Tarlinton was great. It gave us a much bigger pool of friends to call up and hassle to be involved.


If you could sum up the aim of your curation of Tokyo Sing Song in one word, what would it be?

AG: Our main aim was to keep it as entertaining as possible while still being unpredictable, oddball and free spirited. We tried to book performers who were outsiders, but still strangely charismatic and engaging. Basically stuff that if you randomly stumbled into the bar, it would surprise you but draw you in too.

Also, to be honest, Tokyo Sing Song pays the performers quite handsomely, so we took it as an opportunity to help our creative friends make some dough as well.


How did you even begin to curate a month’s worth of shows for a place as eccentric as Tokyo Sing Song?

When Jack Shit first asked us to curate it I was pretty nervous cos TSS has a particular reputation and I felt too square for the job. But we just stuck to what we know and I think by trying to represent your own tastes it makes the place eccentric because it’s never the same thing twice. Ours was by far the most musical month and probably the most conservative too (except for the giant fluoro dicks, pussies and boobs on the ceiling). That’s what’s cool about the place, there is nothing that is quintessentially Tokyo Sing Song. It changes every week and it can truly be anything.


Now that you can officially put ‘Curator’ on your resume, if you could (or more correctly, were allowed to) curate your own art exhibition in any Sydney museum, what art would you display?

Firstly I’d need a resume to put ‘curator’ on, but I definitely don’t know enough about art to talk about it/put on an exhibition anywhere. There is a visual element to our curator-ship, throughout the month we were exhibiting video works from Angela Bermuda, a colourful installation by Raquel Caballero and Daniel Grosz, and a dream machine constructed by Laura Hunt that if you sit in front of with your eyes shut, you’ll start to see weird shapes and colours.


What has been the hardest thing about this curation? What has been the most fun about it?

The only hard thing has been finding the time to dedicate to it amongst the other things we’re doing like work/bands etc. The most fun has been going to the shows and seeing all these mad performances. We had Spod, Black Vanilla, a sweet classic rock covers band, so many good times.


And finally: What did you want to be when you were six?

A girl.


Eager to experience the madness? Head to Tokyo Sing Song tonight for their Madri Gras Parties. Late Night and Lockout Free!

(145 King St, Newtown, 2042)


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