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Spyros Charmanis: Our Time Expires

Elsewhere is frequently approached by musicians from all over the planet to review their work and perhaps interview them. But prog-rock maestro Syros Charmanis was the first from Greece and, given the poor nature of his country's economy and that he did a self-made and self-produced concept album, we were keen to hear what he was up to.

That album Wound is an impressive piece of work (it is reviewed here with a bit of his background) so the next step was to invite him to answer the Famous Elsewhere Questionnaire.

His intelligent responses below are indicative of the smarts he brought to the album also. So listen up (you can download his album for as little as NZ$15.50 from here) and read on . . . 

The first piece of music which really affected you was . . .

The first thing I remember when you say “music” would have to be the single “It’s My Life” by Doctor Alban and I must have been around 5 or 6. It affected me in that I remember it as the first thing I probably remember myself consciously listening to! Another benchmark, and probably a less embarrassing answer to your question, was when I first listened to Grace by Jeff Buckley back in 2005. I was too mesmerized.

Your first (possibly embarrassing) role models in music were . . .

Probably Nirvana, I was even in a cover band playing the drums when I was 13, not that anyone could see me as I was rather short.

Lennon or Jagger, Ramones or Nirvana, Madonna or Gaga, Jacko or Jay-Z?

Lennon, Nirvana, Madonna and Jacko.

If music was denied you, your other career choice would be . . .

Something in photography, or something that had a lot of interaction with other people, like a secretary for example. (Not the kinky kind). (Seriously).

The three songs (yours, or by others) you would love everyone to hear are . . .

Impossible question! I could squeeze myself in had it been ten songs, but three are limiting enough!

One would surely be Dream Brother by the aforementioned Jeff Buckley. Dogs by Pink Floyd would have to be one also, since that album is highly underrated I think and finally I will go for something quirky: Dancin’ Fool by Frank Zappa. And I have a headache.

ziltoidAny interesting, valuable or just plain strange musical memorabilia at home?

I have a small Ziltoid the Omniscient hand puppet and he’s very nice to me. Indeed.

The best book on music or musicians you have read is . . .

Easily “Riding Shotgun”, by Gerry McAvoy (assisted by Pete Chrisp) and that’s because I absolutely love Rory Gallagher.

If you could get on stage with anyone it would be . . . (And you would play?)

Undeniably Tom Waits. Depends on whether he asked. I don’t think anyone can resist him when he talks with that deep bass voice of his. I’d also like to share a stage with Annie Clark of St.Vincent, but I’d probably just stand there and gawk at her.

The three films you'd insist anybody watch because they might understand you better are . . .

That is also a difficult question! And my headache is still persisting. I would say “Coffee and Cigarettes” by Jim Jarmusch, “Oh Brother Where Art Thou?” by the Coen brothers and “Pulp Fiction” by Quentin Tarantino and that is because I adore Samuel L. Jackson’s character. And I hope people don’t make me as a “smoking escaped convict turned gangster”.

The last CD or vinyl album you bought was . . . (And your most recent downloads include . . .)

The last CD I bought was “All This Dancin’ Around” by the amazing Triggerfinger and that was last week. As for downloading, I believe that the last thing I downloaded was the first album of the Stolen Babies, “There Be Squabbles Ahead” about a month ago. I don’t download much though (not that I have anything against it).

One song, royalties for life, never have to work again. The song by anyone, yourself included, which wouldn't embarrass you in that case would be . . .

The most obvious answer would have to be anything by the Beatles, “In My Life” for instance.

The poster, album cover or piece of art could you live with on your bedroom forever would be . . .

As long as we’re in my bedroom I’d say that wonderful poster where six Pink Floyd albums are painted on the backs of six naked women.

You are allowed just one tattoo, and it is of . . .

It would have to be something small, probably that prism off of The Dark Side Of The Moon.

2545751342_1David Bowie sang, “Five years, that's all we've got . . .” You would spend them where, doing . . .?

Probably where I am, working, hanging out with friends and writing new music. Although for these five last summers I’d go on any water park and go ballistic.

And on those last moments before we go, I’d put on “Nighthawks At The Diner” by Tom Waits, open up a bottle of red wine and go happy.

And finally, in the nature of press conferences in Japan, “Can you tell me please why this is your best album ever?

Because I couldn’t come up with anything better for the time being!

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Your Comments

Vassilis Papaevagelou - Dec 21, 2012

Funny how things work with internet in our lives..I found about a guy from as close as London is to Dover through a website in New Zealand..amzing enough..and am amazed by Spyros inspirational work..thanks Elsewhere! thank god for free flow of information! Cheers!

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