Real Wild Child – An Insider’s Tales From the rage Couch - Narelle Gee Book Review - www.impulsegamer.com -
REAL WILD CHILD
An Insider's Tale from the Rage Couch
Narelle Gee
 
 

Review Information

Reviewer: David Murcott
Review Date: Nov 2010

Book Information

Publisher: ABC Books
RRP: $35.00

7.0

out of 10

 

 

Narelle Gee spent fourteen years as head programmer of iconic Australian music show rage, during which time both she and the program’s infamous couch cosied up to hundreds of the world’s most famous, and occasionally infamous, musicians. 

The resultant list of guest stars is, of course, a who’s who of the music world.  Over the years the show has been graced with the likes of Nick Cave, Beck, the Strokes, Public Enemy, Greenday, Kings of Leon, KISS, Coldplay, Chris Isaak, Tool, New Order, Gwen Stefani, the Prodigy, Ray Manzerek from the Doors and many others.  Gee saw her fair share of tantrums, rampant ego and prima donna preening, but more often than not was relieved that her idols were as cool, and relatively sane, as she’d hoped.  And as for the poor couch?  Its fabric, we learn, has been marked by all manner of substances, including cheap wine, fine Champagne, cocktails, beer, cigarette ash and a variety of foodstuffs.  One time it was even set on fire, when a shoot with the newly-famous Avalanches got particularly rambunctious. 

Perhaps slightly surprisingly given the vices and predilections of some of the above luminaries, and occasional bouts of arson notwithstanding, Real Wild Child is hardly an unceasing compendium of vice and vitriol.  Gee is incapable of saying a bad word about anyone and the guest programmer’s are, for the most part, on their best behaviour, seemingly rather honoured to have been chosen to spend the next several hours as music video demagogues on a renowned national TV program.  

In fact many of the book’s mini-chapters, each of which runs about 4 or 5 pages, consist of Gee expressing considerable relief that a number of rock’s ‘bad boys’ – Trent Reznor, Marilyn Manson and Billy Corgan among them – are actually rather likable, if intense, fellows.  There are bouts of extremely non-rock star behaviour, such as when Gee answers a knock at the door, only to find an immaculately dressed Andre3000 helping an assistant lug the rage couch into the room designated for filming.  

Other musicians, however, are more than happy to live up to their not inconsiderable reputations.  Courtney Love arrives five hours late and immediately begins barking orders at a hapless cameraman, declaring she’ll only be shot from certain angles and demanding a demonstration of his lenswork before allowing the actual filming to commence.  James Iha and D’Arcy from Smashing Pumpkins, so affable when interviewed by Gee in 1994, have, unbeknownst to her, ended a relationship by the time their turn as rage hosts comes around in 1996.  The tension in the air is palpable, and the pair’s bickering makes for one of the most unintentionally entertaining, and popular, episodes of all time. 

So while it doesn’t exactly dish up an abundance of dirt, Real Wild Child is still a sprightly, readable and eminently enjoyable account of Gee’s time as rage director.  Interspersed throughout are dozens of pictures, factoids and snippets of insider info, and while it may not be exhaustive it’s still the next best thing to actually guest programming the show.  And for us music lovers of a tone-deaf persuasion, that may be the closest we ever come.






 
 



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