Alien Skin

Grave Concerns Interviews Alien Skin

Grave Concerns webzine interviews Alien Skin

by Lynda Dale MacLean
- June 9th, 2008

George Pappas is Alien Skin, residing in the idyllic country of Melbourne, Australia. He is well known for being the keyboardist and composer of the fabulous (and one of my favorite) 80s bands Real Life. George's talent has complimented Real Life for many years, and now his debut album, "Don't Open Till Doomsday", will demonstrate even more of his artistic brilliance. "Don't Open Till Doomsday", is exceptional, in all the ways that reflect the beauty and joy, the love of mysteriousness and darkness, and the allure of creating music from which those, and other emotions stem from. George is an amazing artist, but an even more amazing person. For me, this was apparent with the very first time we had corresponded, until, most recently, with my letting him know his album will soon be reviewed for Grave Concerns E-zing. He's a gentleman, a wonderful man of respectfulness, warmth, and generosity within his words. And it's an honor to call him a friend. Once you read of George's interview, you'll know why he's such a special person---blessed with humour, intelligence, and kindness, and where his artistic soul shinned throughout. Thank you again George, for the interview you did with me for Grave Concerns E-zing---it's truly an honor for us all, and especially for me. (;

Grave Concerns: Beautifully dark greetings George, it's truly an honor to have you here at the grave---I'm floored by this opportunity of interviewing you. Since I first heard the song "Send me an Angel" by Real Life, it has stayed within my heart. There is something so magical and haunting about that song. And still do this day, when I hear it on the radio I get filled with such fond memories---truly a classic for me.

George: Hi Lynda, Ms Grave, and thank you for having me here at the 'grave'- a place of angels and demons - this is as good a segue as any into Send me an Angel. Yes, the song certainly has achieved timeless status. Blissed out faces always greeted the tune with excited enthusiasm each and every time we, as Real Life, performed it. It has such a strong appeal for so many people, with its haunting as you put it, minor key melancholia and yearning. To me, the magical female siren in the chorus is the piéce de résistance. Ms Grave, Angel follows me on the radio everywhere I go too, by choice or not, whether while choosing the best dishwashing liquid on the supermarket shelf, or finding myself lost in a giant shiny shopping mall!

Grave Concerns: Now I like that…I really like that; what a lovely way to start the interview George…thank you sir! (: "Send me an Angel", as you probably already know, but I have to say it anyway, was in the 80s movie "Teen Wolf Too", with Jason Bateman, the sequel to Teen Wolf, which starred Michael J. Fox. I taped the scene in which, "Send me an Angel", was playing in the background. (;

In 2003 you underwent major surgery---and the night before you went into surgery, you were inspired, thus, creating a draft of your song "Alien Skin"---isn't it amazing how life speaks to us in some of our most difficult times? How are you my friend, doing presently?

George: Presently I am doing just fine, and thank you for asking may I add. People suffering from Crohns disease, which is what I have, will understand the situation. I feel the most helpful thing to do with any disease, especially a chronic one, is to talk about it, because it's the best way to not feel isolated and victimised by it. To share the experience with others who may be going through similar issues is important. I'll spare you the details in this instance, but you're always welcome to look it up.

My main concern during that period, just before being admitted to hospital, was to complete 'Imperfection', the most recent Real Life album. Surprisingly, the timing was perfect and even allowed me enough breathing space to wallow in uncertainty as one does before impending surgery and create the basis of the song Alien Skin, which closes my new album 'Don't Open Till Doomsday'. The song name came first, then the band name!

Grave Concerns: I'm happy that you're doing better---and you're very welcome. I am so sorry though, that you have to go through such a disease. I know a bit about it…my dad actually had a bout with colitis, not as serve as Crohns, but I can emphasize with how you must feel at times. Yes, talking or even writing about it is very therapeutic. I'm glad that you were able to constructively use that time before surgery to bring creativity to life…that is a gift.

I read that you've been with Real Life since the 90s---was it a difficult time in the beginning, or did you feel at ease? And did you stick to the formula of the band in the musical sense, or did you want to add your own personality as well…when a fair amount of time passed?

George: Firstly, before I joined the band I had known Danny - Real Life drummer – for quite a number of years already as we had shared the same girlfriend, umm, but not simultaneously let me add before your mind races ahead J In the mid 90s, the band was seeking a new keyboardist for live work and I was conscripted. This led to my involvement in the co-writing and recording of the album Happy and a tour of Australia, the US, and Germany followed soon after.

One of my main tasks at the beginning was to program, mostly from scratch, the entire live show, and as Real Life was heavily reliant on electronics it was now my job to laboriously recreate every synth sound used and computer-sequenced performance information of every song. I had a couple of weeks to put together a 90-minute show, learn the back catalogue and to fit in! It was a difficult and exhausting time but the result worked well, and there was genuine chemistry within the band.

David Sterry (Real Life vocalist/guitarist) encouraged my creative input, there were no rules to be obeyed and we consciously wanted to break away from the 80s typecast, so yes I did bring much of my own musical personality into the new songs. The darker, harder soundscapes of Happy were a move away from what the band was doing in the 80s. And it all sounded so good live as well.

Grave Concerns: Heh, heh, heh…wow, George, I, for a split second, thought we were about to get a backstage pass… into the past, for some wild stories. (: Sounds like you have had some extremely creative and wonderful times with Real Life---that's so awesome to know. That's what makes a band so soiled as individuals, and as a team.

Please share with us how you got started on your debut album "Don't Open Till Doomsday"---IT IS an INCREDIBLE album, sir. Your vocals are mesmerizing…beautiful, uplifting and pure. I'm so looking forward to reviewing it. (:

George: Well thank YOU! After so many years co writing with David and also feeling the frustration of the 80s media typecast of Real Life, I decided to release my own body of work. Returning home after our 2004 US tour on a high, I thought this is the time to do it! I began writing a number of songs in preparation, this was going to be quick and fast. Alas, it didn't quite unfold as I thought. A number of health and personal issues saw the project delayed by years.

Ms Grave, I shall happily cut and paste your testimonial that my vocals are 'mesmerizing, beautiful, uplifting and pure' where ever I can J It has been compared to Martin Gore of Depeche Mode, which I take as a compliment! Thank you for the kind words, I am very pleased with the way the album has turned out and been received.

Grave Concerns
: You're VERY welcome…and yes, copy and paste away! You are in such fantastic company as Martin Gore. Depeche Mode is one of my favourite bands.

Which songs are you most proud of on "Don't Open Till Doomsday", and why?

George: Hmmm, always a hard one, similar to asking a parent which of their children they are most proud of and why? If I have to be brutally selective and please don't tell the other children this, and if you twist my arm in an unfriendly way, I may say Razor Arms because despite the fact that it had the greatest number of reworks, I still love the deep melancholic feel of that song. The chorus is, I think is emotionally strong and one of my most satisfying.

'Saviour' is another of my faves. It's minimal, the melody possibly the most contagious on the album, and I think the vocals work well as they drift almost endlessly in delay effects. The chorus release is like opening up the drapes to welcome the sun in.

'Gloomy Sunday' is one more I will mention. To me it best typifies the theme of "Don't Open Till Doomsday". It's very sparse, mostly post human effected vocals. It was inspired by voyeurism: people going past my window, back and forth all day long as I sat inside looking out; wondering about their journey and their lives, and also about being stuck inside on that gloomy Sunday with nothing else to do but wait for night to fall.

Grave Concerns: What comes first in your creative process of song making? Do you hear the melodies or feel the lyrics? Or do you go back and forth?

George: The music always comes first. My current method of writing is to sketch out a song with my acoustic guitar, get about 90% of a melody nailed and at least a verse and chorus of lyrics. I will then quickly record this and leave it for another day. If on coming back to it I still retain an interest I begin working seriously on arranging it electronically. If I hadn't already finished the lyrics, I finish them then.

Grave Concerns: How do you differentiate a real good song, from a classic? In other words, what really makes a song stand out and last? And with your music, which song or songs do you feel have met that challenge, have come close to it, or are you currently just enjoying the creative bliss?

George: For me a classic song is often readily identified by the fact that so many people choose to record and perform it over many years and not simply because they may think that if it's been a hit once it will be a no-brainer to redo it. Perhaps a classic also really needs the test of time to consolidate itself as such. Sometimes a song may become a classic due to the strength of its original performance and the uniqueness of its recording and become so identified with the original artist and their specific rendering of it that it becomes the final word on it. For me a song like The Beatles A Day in the Life, is such a song.

A real good song is always going to be more subjective, depending on taste. To me it's where all the elements, the melody and lyric, the sounds and the arrangement all work as a whole, the sum greater than the parts. A real good song will remain in my head nagging me to want to hear it again as I drift away with my conviction of the potency of music and the brilliance of great songwriters reinforced.

I find it difficult to judge my own work against the above criteria, it's for others to judge its merits and I wouldn't be so presumptuous as to include myself amongst the masters and mistresses. So I would simply say that I am currently enjoying the creative bliss.

Grave Concerns: What do think makes your music stand out among other artists in your field?

George: I have eclectic musical references going back many decades. These include the pioneering works of the early forebears of electronic music like Leon Theremin, Clara Rockmore and Karlheinz Stockhausen. Add to that, the explosive revolutionary works of the 60s; the minimalism of early 70s European electro; the brazen punk and post punk period of uninhibited self expression in the late 70s and its sideways evolution into electronic modernism in the early 80s and tie this all up with the educational influence of so many inspirational songwriters throughout the this whole period. From all this I have been spoilt for choice as to where to draw my influences from.

I don't believe anything can be totally original, that's an exercise in self deception; we all must bow to previous teachers, but my own personal mix of all the above influences, and the weight I give one vis-a-vis another at any given time and my own subjective outlook, ensures that what I create is uniquely Alien Skin.

Grave Concerns: Awesome music influences---if you were to cover one of your favorite artists, which song would it be, and why?

George: Well, that's an easy one to answer. The Model by the seminal and most influential electronic unit ever, Kraftwerk. Aside from the fact that it's a gorgeous slice of electronic minimalist pop - which made No.1 in the UK by the way - and aside from my love of its very cold 70s euro minimalist melancholia, I am actually recording it at this very moment. It doesn't sound like Kraftwerk it is identifiably Alien Skin.

Grave Concerns: My curiosity has been peaked---can't wait to hear how it will turn out. Although, I have no doubts, that it will be a piece that will showcase your talent and respect for Kraftwerk.

On your homepage, there is a link called "Electro History" which takes the reader to a section called "Electronic Music: an Alien Import?" WOW! You wrote that with such depth, clarity…I must say how super-impressed I am. How long did it take you to research and then, complete it? Is there more you'd like to add? You should have this published---have you?

George: Firstly thank You for reading it, and also for the sweet compliment! When I was considering the content of my website (plug, why not) I wanted something unique that would add more value to peoples' visits. I needed a related subject that I had a passion for. I decided on writing an article on electronic music in general; its history, which most people would be unaware of, and how this obscure musical form and method of creating music rose to become accepted as the music of the masses over a protracted period of years.

Most of the history I had been aware of, so let's say I already had the scaffolding for what I intended to write, from there it was a matter of fine tuning the details, like dates and finding the photos which were a lot of fun actually. On and off it must have taken a couple of weeks.

The history as told by Alien Skin, as I state at the beginning of it, is only a brief study. I don't think most people coming to my site would wish to spend the summer there, reading. Sure there is plenty more that can be added but my intention was solely to penetrate the readers interest in order for them to research the subject in more depth. There are already published books out there dealing with the issues I cover, I think I'm better at writing music.

Grave Concerns: Happy to have, sir. And you're VERY welcome. Plug away my friend…this is your platform. And I do hope that prole will check it out…go and check it out people! (: Seriously though, it's good stuff. And as I stated above, I'm very impressed by it.

Will you come to the U.S. for a tour---Boston, MA? I'd LOVE THAT! Please, if you can. (:

George: Of course I would simply love that! I last played in Boston with Real Life, in 1998, in the same venue Gary Numan had just performed at. I loved Boston. As far as revisiting, well if 'Don't Open Till Doomsday' sells a million, expect me at your front door. But I think that may not really happen in a hurry.

Grave Concerns: I hope it does! So would that mean I get front row seats? (; It would be so cool though, if a bunch of 80s GREATS came to Boston, and put on a day-long concert…it would be a HIT! I know it would, Boston would LOVE it! I'd LOVE it!

Other than musical influences, who else in the artistic world inspires you?

George: I have to say that music consumes much of my time, thoughts, energy and creativity…leaving little of me for anything else. I am artistically myopic in that, I am stimulated by sound, structured sound, and visuals have never had the same impact, aside from a shapely woman of course, but that's another story.

Grave Concerns: I bet it is…and a good one too! Another time then, my friend.

As a musician, how does the music in movies affect you? And if you were asked to compose a song for a soundtrack, which genera would that be in? Now let me take that question even further---actually backward; if you were to go back to the past, with your current music in hand, and were asked that same question, would any of your songs stand out as a good fit? If so, which song and movie would it have been?

George: I am rather selective about the music I like in movies. There have been some brilliant scores written over the decades and the music that probably has had the most affect on me would be the works of old masters like Bernard Hermann who penned a number of memorable Alfred Hitchcock movies, including the perennial favourite, Psycho. From a similar period I love the brooding, dark and often menacing soundtracks to film noir movies of the 40s and 50s and early 50s matinee sci fi, like the theremin soaked Hermann score to the Day the Earth Stood Still.

If I were asked to compose a song for a soundtrack, it would have to be for something of an introspective nature and theme, not bombastic, or frivolous, definitely not a comedy. Not that I don't enjoy humour or the lighter side of living, but I'm no good at writing that type of music. I'd love to do psychological sci fi and mystery, where you don't need to see the monster or the gore, but you can sense and can feel it's there, in the dark, waiting…waiting for you to fall asleep!

A favourite and seminal sci fi from the 50s, which I write about on my website in 'History of Electronic Music', is the film 'Forbidden Planet'. This is very much a psychological science fiction thriller of the period. The closing song from 'Don't Open Till Doomsday' is the eponymous Alien Skin and I can definitely hear this dark song fitting in well.

Grave Concerns: You've been asked to create a new word defining your style of music. What is that word?

George: Electro melancholic.

Grave Concerns
: How did you meet your wife Iryna, and how long have you been together now? She lent her vocal talents to a few of your songs, designed the album artwork and website, as well as, being a writer of poetry and short stories---I'd love to read her work, does she have a website?

George: Iryna and I met through mutual acquaintances over 16 years ago. She's very talented in her own right, her preferred medium being poetry. She did indeed design the album artwork and website and some of her poetry can be found on MySpace at ''. She hates her recorded voice but I nevertheless gingerly asked her for its use on a few tracks to add a further dimension to those particular songs, especially Alien Skin.

Grave Concerns: Thanks George! I'm VERY much looking forward to learing more about her, and her poetry. (:

What if, in the year 3309 trees had human skin, and we had bark…how do you think we'd be able to cope? What if we had a choice…would you want to try it out? Why or why not?

George: Firstly, I would have to imagine that dogs evolved accordingly, dismissing therefore, their need to urinate on us. That is an essential pre-condition to this whole mental scenario J I don't quite know whether we'd cope as well as trees, after all many still live good lives after hundreds of years with bark skin and perhaps even more if we didn't kill them off unnecessarily, but I'll assume we would.

I think humans would have a hard time though as our own flesh is so sensual and it's an important part of our existence as feeling, sensitive, tactile and loving creatures who enjoy being touched and touching back. So, if I had a choice would I wish to try it out? Well sure, if I could easily return back to original skin then all experience is of value. Would cannibals change their diet to trees, do you think?

Grave Concerns: Hmmm, would they be called treeibals? As long as it didn't hurt the trees, that is.

Did you ever stare into the flame of a candle and felt you could move the flames with your mind?

George: I find it very mesmerising to stare into a candle's flame. The aroma of burning wax is so alluring as well. The only moving of the flame I have done is to place my palm between it and my mouth and blow. The flame is drawn towards me rather than away. I always found that fascinating as a kid!

Grave Concerns: What's your favorite Australian magazine?

George: If I believe the TV ads, I should be reading the Australian Women's Weekly everyday. Apparently I can't live a day without it but somehow I think I can. If Grave Concerns was Australian, then I would certainly say it was my fave! Aside from that I don't really have a special Australian one.

Grave Concerns: Oh, you are a charmer--- WE love that! Thank you George. (;

You were born with eyes that weren't human---what do they look like?

George: Astute octopus eyes!

Grave Concerns
: Very cool!

If your were to write a short story or a novel based on one of your songs, which one would it be? And if it was to be adapted to the silver screen, who would be your leading actor and actress?

George: Dust to Ashes 1945 is the most narrative song on the album and would be the one I would choose for a novel. It tells the story of a contemporary day man looking back to the atomic bombing in 1945 of his city, Hiroshima, Japan. He recalls the day, Monday, August 6, vividly. It was an otherwise ordinary sunny morning around 9 am, when suddenly it became Black Monday – as I name it, the first detonation of a nuclear device over a populated city. He constantly wakes from nightmares of ghostly and contorted carbon shadows upon walls, being the imprints of vaporised bodies. He remembers his lover and the mangled, tortured crater of humanity that simply disappeared in a flash.

Now, if adapted to the silver screen I confess I would have trouble casting it myself as I don't really know many Japanese actors. I'd leave that to the discretion of the casting agent.

Grave Concerns: Do you wash the dishes? How about making the bed?

George: Dishes: everyday; very therapeutic. Bed: everyday, unless the bedding needs changing, then apparently I have no idea!

Grave Concerns: If you had the chance to have any dream within your lifetime come true, what dream would that be? And this is actually a dream---you know the one that comes to you in your sleep. (:

George: A sleep 'dream' as opposed to an 'ideal'? I can honestly say the best dream I have ever had, and I can only recall it two or three times in my life, is flying like superman over green fields and hills. A sensation of gliding peacefully, securely and blissfully in the air. The silent beauty of feeling absolutely free, that is the dream I would like to come true.

Grave Concerns: What are some of your hobbies?

George: At a pre-teen age my hobbies included philately and phillumeny. I gave up on those when I was about 13 because I became overwhelmed with the adulation of pop and rock stars of the period and I made up my mind at that point that music was the life direction I would pursue. Ever since then, writing and performing has pre occupied my time and efforts. It hasn't left much opportunity to develop other interests into real hobbies as the creative process is so demanding.

Grave Concerns: You got me on both of them---I had to look them up. Fancy words used to describe those hobbies. (: I won't say what they are, for those, like me, who didn't know, you'll just have to look it up. (: That's cool though. Do you still have them?

If you were to create your own memory time capsule, to be buried in four days, and dug up twenty-five years later…what would you be putting in there right now?

George: Funny you should ask the question at this point. We are currently about to begin renovating our home and have to move into a smaller unit for a few months. All our belongings are being packed up and stored elsewhere, so this has been the perfect time to start clearing out items that have been stored away for years. It's been difficult for me to part with some as they do indeed go back twenty-five years, but we can't afford to retain the clutter. The only reason I held on to these items was as you mention, as a time capsule, from my early youth. Now you want to open the sentimental wound and have me consider recluttering?

In answering your question though, from a contemporary perspective, I guess at this point in my life I've lived too many years to be overly sentimental about anything that I own currently, as opposed to belongings from my pre teenage years. But if I'm pressed for an answer…umm…let me think…how about a set of well fitting clothes so I can have evidence that I was once slim enough to fit in them; recordings of every song I've ever created since a teenager; a good photo of myself with my immediate and extended family still living and a recording of their individual voices. I think I'd probably be quite happy with that.

Grave Concerns: (: Sorry…I'm a clutter bug too, I understand. Those choices though, sound like good ones. I like the idea of the individual voices being recorded…very lovely, very moving.

You're in the recording studio laying out a track to an animated film---which Movie Company is it; what's the song called; and what's the movie about?

George: 'Another Stupid Movie' showcases 'Get Baby' from the animated film of the same name.

The movie is about four bumbling secret agent babies who try to solve very important mysteries in the baby world. They always come up against their own Professor Moriarty - their nemesis - a baby dressed in a black cotton jumpsuit at the end of the street with a wicked dark smirk, jet black hair with a long fringe to one side, his mouth always full of fresh worms. Somehow, against all logic they succeed of course.

Grave Concerns: LOL! That's awesome! Hey, maybe you got something there for a series of children's books.

Since nature is very precious to me, I tend to be drawn more toward the Earth element. Although each one has its own special attributes, together they are priceless. Which element do you see yourself more drawn toward?

George: I have to concur with you Ms Grave, therefore I'd say the Earth element. I too am drawn to nature and the older I get the more so. At an earlier stage of my life I could not imagine living beyond the urban throng. The action is in the city. Now I enjoy getting away – still very occasionally though - and possibly even living amongst nature, clear air, and pitch black nights and the call of native animals.

Grave Concerns
: What time is it right now? What did you do four hrs. and 9 minutes and 3 seconds ago?

George: Current Melbourne time is 10:19pm. If you must know what I did 4 hours 9 minutes and 3 seconds ago I was masticating. Ha! You thought I was going to say something else! No, I was actually chewing on my dinner. I cannot be absolutely sure whether at that specific moment I was chewing on a seasoned, oven baked potato, steamed green minted peas, Greek black olives, blue vein cheese or continental Hungarian bread, but it was one of those, unless at that precise second I stopped to breathe.

Grave Concerns: OMG… you are so fresh! And that dinner of yours sounded yummy!

Besides the obvious necessities of life, what are six things that you can't be without?

George: My computer (which I use to write, record and playback music with)
The Internet (which is essential for research and communication)
My full collection of music in MP3 format (not just desert island tracks)
Hair products (without which I become totally limp)
My electronic pocket organiser (without which I have dementia)
And of course my gorgeous wife who would do me harm if she wasn't on this list!

Grave Concerns: Amen to the last one George! (:

You have five balloons you got at a, green, purple, red, and black. Two of them slipped through your fingers…which ones?

George: Purple and black. It's sad to see them go but they look so good together!

Grave Concerns: They do look good together. But just know that they'll be happy...because they have each other. Geez, what kind of carnival did we just go to? "Sappy Land" carnival! (;

A map is pretty big, has lots of pretty colors and a bunch of lines in all sorts of crazy, loopy patterns…do you know how to read one?

George: I'm a terrible navigator and very easily lose orientation. I do love my new GPS in the car. If push comes to shove though, I can read one but it's much more pleasant to have someone else decipher it.

Grave Concerns: I hear yah, loud and clear on that one!

Look out the window closest to your left---what do you see?

George: A black cat walking on the rooftop. It pauses to gauge distance then leaps ahead onto a thin ledge, stops, sits and looks back at me through the window. Cats have such acute senses and so agile, you can watch them as performance art!

Grave Concerns: That's really so neat that you just saw that. I love cats! They sure are. I have one…well, she's my brother's; I brought her home for him. Her name is Ashes.

I prefer my toilet paper to hang over, not under…how about you?

George: Definitely over, does that make me a girl?

Grave Concerns: No, silly. That just makes you right…like the girl. (;

Have you broken or lost anything recently?

George: Lost my cool, my mind, my way. Always losing things. Actually, I lose things and then find them most of the time, meaning I'm very absent minded.

Grave Concerns: Well, you do have lots going on. And you are human…well, human/alien. We're filled with so many emotions, and sometimes they just get the best of us. And that shows how strong we really are about things in life that matter. It may no be pretty, but it shows our passions. It shows we care.

I love the smell of rain, especially at night, during the warm months when the windows are open, and there's a soft breeze along with it. The sound of it touching the ground, and landing on the leaves is very calming. How about you?

George: Oh yes I do as well. For most of my life I've lived under a roof immediately exposed to the skies, the rain, the wind. I've always enjoyed the pitter-patter of raindrops above me. Home is now a ground floor apartment with another level above so I miss all that. But the smell of rain on soil and concrete is still close and intimate. The autumn leaves swim in a river of rainwater down the garden.

Grave Concerns: Do you like to garden, or go for nature walks?

George: It's a thought! It's on the To Do list. The garden around the apartment property is maintained by a proper gardener and I dare not tell him his job . I would love to get involved with dirt and plants some day though. I don't often leave the city to go on nature walks, again on the To Do list.

Grave Concerns: What's your favorite room in your house---what color most stands out in it?

George: The bedroom, it's the cosiest and has an open fireplace. I often do a lot of my song writing in there. We are about to have the whole place painted, haven't decided on the colors yet, but there will be a feature wall with its own unique color called 'enchantress'.

Grave Concerns: Ooh, I like that. Makes me envision what it may look like.

When you go to the movies where do you like to sit? And have you ever left because the movie was just awful?

George: I'm not an extremist. I don't like sitting too far up the back nor too close towards the screen. The comfortable middle section I should think is my fave seating area. I don't often go to the cinema and the movies I do choose to go to, I sit right through. I guess I learn or know enough about them to want to be there in the first place.

Grave Concerns: If you drink coffee and/or tea, how do you take it?

George: Black coffee no sugar, black tea and three sugars please!

Grave Concerns: I take my coffee now black, no sugar. I used to take it with lots and lots of sweet cream and sugar…WAY TOO MANY calories...and fat! Black tea too now. But I will splurge here and there (not often though) on a fancy coffee.

OK. You're not allowed to say no. Would you rather walk over a rackety 209-year-old icy wooden bridge, in the middle of a snowstorm, 127 feet above a frozen river that in 37 minutes will collapse…or would you rather lose your creative ability to be a musician for 3.9 years?

George: Well a 3.9 year hiatus will allow my ringing ears to recover a little from the din of making noise for so long…hmmm, and I loathe heights and old icy wooden bridges over 200 years old especially in snowstorms…. tough one. I bet you'd wish me to be the romantic hero and risk life and limb, but I may just choose to live and create another day!

Grave Concerns: (; Well, I guess that would give you some time to garden then.

Do you like to make pancakes? I do. But not the old fashioned way--- I make my pancakes in a muffin tin, then poke a hole in the top when done, and pour the syrup in. I don't have the patience to wait for all of the bubbles to form in the batter, plus, it kind of creeps me out, all those bubbles popping out so quickly, like a bad case of the chicken pox.

George: I have to say I don't eat pancakes, they make me queasy but I did have chicken pox as a five year old. I recall it quite vividly and I do remember it was a little like what I felt after eating pancakes.

Grave Concerns: Oh, that's such a bummer. Sorry. I can understand why though.

What is something about the human race that really gets you down…makes you wonder…how could that person do that, act that way…say that?

George: I believe the individual's personal and intellectual development is a product of their social, economic and cultural environment and ultimately I don't judge people divorced from this understanding. I am not an existentialist and as far as I'm concerned everything can be understood by seriously tracing the historical logic behind a person's behaviour or action.

Grave Concerns: What then, on the other hand, does the human race do to make you feel simply proud and amazed by?

George: It has become standard fare and 'trendy' by some to devalue humanity as being greedy, violent, insolent and obsessed with self gain and I do agree that our social organization can encourage that. The mere fact though that we have come this far into the future, our present, is a testament to the courageous and worthy resilience of humanity and in spite of all our differences (many that have been fomented for political and other reasons) we still have much more in common with each other than we may consciously understand.

Grave Concerns: How do you define love and friendships?

George: Unconditional commitment to another person is essential whether in love or genuine friendship, it can't be any other way. You become the second entity before the one you love. With friendships also, the connection with that other person cannot be dependent on any conditions.

Grave Concerns: If you were able to put on a concert for charity, which one/s would you be supporting, and which artists would you like to headline?

George: If I had to arrange a charity concert, I would have to immediately say it would be for the world's saddest victims, young children in crises. Young children do not have the opportunity to contribute to the world, whether positively or negatively, and thus can become its most unwarranted of victims. Most are found in impoverished countries, homeless, hungry, violated and diseased, but many are also in the world's largest economies including the US and Australia. I would have my favourite artists on the bill: Depeche Mode, Underworld, Kraftwerk, Goldfrapp and the Cure. Umm, not forgetting Alien Skin!

Grave Concerns: Children are extremely close to my heart. I think your charity concert would prevail…with warmth. And of course, you'd be performing... you're putting the charity concert on…you'd better be performing! (:

If you had the chance to travel back to the past, where would you go, and what would you want to leave as a reminder of time spent, as well as, something to take back with you?

George: I saw a documentary where I discovered that at one point in our collective history (I think it may have been during the Ice Age, I need to research that again) there were no more than about 1,000 homo sapiens on earth. We are all descendants of these people - Ms Grave we possibly had similar forebears! I would like to time travel to this period, a bridge between possible extinction of the species and the present. It fascinates me.

What would even be more fascinating is to be there and in, say a one real time week, actually see and experience the earth's early development like watching film sped up - from one major era to the next. To watch the growth of trees and other vegetation and flora which eventually created enough oxygen to sustain primitive and then intelligent life forms. I would leave behind a copy of my new CD (plug) 'Don't Open Till Doomsday' to be found by a future generation, to confound and entertain them at the same time. From the period, I would of course take lots of photos and videos to similarly affect my contemporaries!

Grave Concerns: Maybe so George…maybe so. (: I do think it would be incredible to actually see how life was way back when. The simplicity of the world. The purity of it. And your CD "Don't Open Till Doomsday", would fit in there nicely with the beauty and wonderment of nature. (:

You've been asked to design two masks; one to represent your greatest fear… the other your greatest joy. What do they look like?

George: If we talk about the physical world, I have a deep fear of heights and depths; my first mask would look like Munch's 'Scream'. To be flippant, my greatest joy is having no conflict issues or any other problems with my overused PC, peripherals and software. This mask would just have the small but much used 'smiley face'.

Grave Concerns: Are you an organ donor? How about giving blood---ever done that? Oh, and here's a goodie---I LOVE getting my blood taken at doctor appointments! I actually look forward to it. I have my sleeve rolled up before I even sit down. Love watching the needle prick my skin, then, watching as the blood sucks up inside the needle. I should have been a Phlebotomist. (;

George: No I am not currently registered as a donor. Having blood removed from my veins is not the most promising thought to start a day with. When I was in hospital a few years back, I was having blood tests four times a day for about two weeks straight. I was black, purple and yellow with bruising. Dare I say I hate having blood extracted from me!

Grave Concerns: I can totally understand why…):

You're in the supermarket---what isles do your frequent, which do you avoid?

George: Supermarket visits are always pre organised so as to avoid wasting time and getting lost amongst mental wish lists. I have a pre written shopping list as most civilised civilians would have. So I only visit the isles I have to. If it's scorching day outside though, the refrigerated area suddenly becomes a favourite.

Grave Concerns: Have you bought or sold something on eBay before?

George: No I haven't. Don't even really know how it works. Am I alone here?

Grave Concerns: Hmmm, maybe. Hey George, if my dad can buy and sell on eBay…you can handle it too. (:

Where are some of the most beautiful places to see the ocean, hike, or to just enjoy the sight of nature in your country? How about some local hotspots?

George: I live in the southern most state on the Australian mainland; we have a beautiful bay south of Melbourne. I love looking out into it. Even though I have a phobia about depths and the sea in general I still find it calming and mesmerising looking out onto the ocean from a high vantage point. Australia is a continent full of charming flora and fauna, way too much to list.

Observing a ship come into port and berth, the physical enormity of such a construct navigating slowly towards land, is something I personally find fascinating to watch, so my local hotspot attraction would be Port Melbourne pier.

Grave Concerns: I do love the sea…the water, in general. I have to take swimming lesion soon. I swam when I was a kid…but for some reason I can't seem to remember how to do it now. Such lovely images---like a painting.

You've been asked to be immortalized in Madame Tussauds' Wax Museum in New York; do you accept?

George: As long as I am displayed next to the wax figures of the hushed Roswell aliens, then of course I would accept!

Grave Concerns: (;

If it were possible to have trees and flowers which only bloom in the springtime, be able to bloom once every other year in complete safety, for three extra weeks, which trees and flowers would you like to see, and what season would they bloom in for you?

George: Actually quite a number of native plants and trees in Australia bloom at various times other than spring. So I will twist the question 90 degrees using winter as the blooming month. I think the endangered White Spider Orchid is a charmingly unique, tall and proud flower from the mountainous region of southern Australia, it can be seen from quite a distance. Ordinarily blooming in winter rains, I would like to see it covered by sunny summer skies for a unique aesthetic experience.

Grave Concerns: That is truly lovely.

Same question as above, although this time it's in regard to birds. I'd love to see the Hummingbirds…in winter. It would look amazing to see snowflakes and a thin glaze of ice on their wings, and iridescent bodies.

George: The Australian white native cockatoo is one that I would love to see and hear in winter and all year round actually. The cocky is a bird with great humour and you can't have enough of that. They will often demonstrate this sense of humour in silly acts like trying to balance on thin branches when their feet are too big and their body weight is clearly too much. They drop upside down trying to stay up there. I think they challenge each other as to who will last on branch the longest. They look so immaculately elegant yet have the most cacophonous screech!

Grave Concerns: Do you have any regrets?

George: The lyrics of the song My Way, as written by Paul Anka, answers this best, so I'll leave it to the man to say: "Regrets, I've had a few, but then again too few to mention. I did what I had to do, and saw it through without exemption".

Grave Concerns: Are you missing someone right now? If you were, what would you like to say to that person? And the beautiful thing about, is, that I truly believe our love ones do hear us…wherever they are.

George: Actually all the people I care for are still around me. My mother has been suffering from dementia for a few years and in a poor state. If I miss someone right now it is her former self, when she knew who she was and who I was, when she was able to communicate, when she was able to walk and live normally. I would let her know while she was still cognitive that I will always be there for her, and even though the dementia is taking over rapidly to the degree that she will not mentally comprehend any concepts, I'll be there, nonetheless.

Grave Concerns: I'm so sorry George. Having to see your mother like that is so painful. As wonderful and beautiful and full of miracles life is…such sad things happen too. Things I just don't understand why. But I do believe there is a better place after here. You are there for her…and that's a gift. It shows that you are a caring and strong person. And when faced with such darkness, you have found it in your heart to see the goodness.

If you could live without one of the following for one-year, without any kinds of side effects, consequences, worries---how ever you like to look at it as, which would you choose and why?
1. Sleeping.
2. Food.
3. Air.

George: Definitely sleeping. It's the only one of the three that if I could do without I could extend my conscious life. I spend about 8 hours sleeping per day; I could only imagine how much more I could accomplish if I could dispense with this time demanding need.

Grave Concerns: You've been asked to create your own signature sandwich at your favorite hometown eatery. What's your sandwich going to be called, and what's in it?

George: Capsicum Red. Well I love grilled red capsicum and eggplant, together with cooked mushrooms, feta cheese, pine-nut pesto and fresh basil, all in a toasted big pane di casa roll (not sandwich)!

Grave Concerns: If I ever make it to Australia (don't know, I'm afraid to fly) I'll sure know how to eat well…and healthy! (: You're making me hungry!

You've been given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame---whose name are you next to?

George: Definitely Humphrey Bogart.

Grave Concerns: Would you perform on SNL if asked? If so, which two songs would you perform? Would you also like to perform in a skit?

George: Saturday Night Live? I don't know if we get that here in Australia perhaps on cable TV. But hell yes, I'm waiting on the invite as we speak! If I perform two songs from my album 'Don't Open Till Doomsday' the set would have to be darkly lit with a hint of nothingness surrounding Alien Skin. Performed would be: 'Saviour' and 'It Doesn't Matter (I Want You). I am hopeless with something like a skit, so I will refrain from that before I embarrass myself.

Grave Concerns: I hope Lorne Michaels is reading this…you'd be so awesome there George! And I'd go to New York…it would make for a great weekend. And I get my "boss lady", Julie Johnson to go too. Hey, this sounds like so much fun! (:

Do you have any food allergies?

George: Not that I'm aware of, although I can't stand milk, it can make me sick. I've had the test for lactose intolerance, but I came through with flying colours. I just don't like milk!

Grave Concerns: That's OK. (:

OK. After reading below, see what you can come up with. Grab a dictionary. Close your eyes---keep them closed until the end. Open the dictionary. Spin your left index finger around 14 times, counter clockwise, then, reverse, and spin 12 times, drop your finger on a word. Now write a phrase, question, poem, whatever you like with that word. BUT…you only have 10 minutes to do this. Seriously 10 minutes. Get cracking! (;

George: Never mind the pain it's only life (the word was 'only')

Grave Concerns: It's rings of dark humor. Nicely done!

You're in the process of designing your own night club…what's it called, where is it located, and how does it look on the inside?

George: The Purple Dress. It's below street level, down winding steps, not too winding though, which can play with your footing after some intoxication. The walls will be exposed bluestone with crushed purple velvet drapes of course, the bar staff in umm…purple. Occasionally you will see facades of vintage electronic equipment mounted on the walls and ceiling, and a purple lit corner inhabited by showroom dummies. Will I see you there? The drinks are cheap!

Grave Concerns: You know you will! And I'll wear purple. (Purple was my grandmother's (on my father's side) favourite color. She loved Donny Osmond's purple socks! (: I even have a reversible cape; purple and black. I have vintage earrings that are purple and silver…my outfit is almost complete---yeah! (;

What movie character's name do you think is cool? And if you were to be cast in a movie, what cool name would you go by?

George: Napoleon Solo, from 'The Man from U.N.C.L.E' being an early 60s secret agent TV series staring Robert Vaughn, and David McCallum as Ilya Kuriakin. You can call me 'Philip Wubber', playboy and philanthropist (it says so on my card), at your service ma'am!

Grave Concerns: When is your birthday?

George: Will I get a special present if I tell you? I was born on a Wednesday morning in April, I remember it well.

Grave Concerns: (: One day you'll tell me…and when you do, I won't tell anyone else, if you don't want me to. Well, other than my family and friends…animals, nature. But I won't mention it to anyone else. I really am good at keeping secrets…I really am. Seriously.

You've discovered a new planet--- how far away is it from Earth? What did you name it? And what are the pros and cons of humans being able to live on it?

George: 186,000 light years away from Earth. I love the name 'litmus' from my old chemistry set days as a youth, so I will call it 'Litmus'. Humans will travel at the speed of light through a time warp to get there and back in moments meaning we have achieved the impossible, with that in mind the pros are certainly endless. Civilisation on Litmus knows no boundaries, the cons are that Earth now becomes 'the old country' and there will definitely be a melancholia for the way things were back in the old country by those of us who grew up there. But I am definitely looking forward to 'Litmus'.

Grave Concerns: Sounds like the start of a short story…or novel. Hmmm. (:

If you had the ability to change the color of the sky during the daylight hours to a color of your choice…once every 3 months, what four colors would you choose, and why?

George: Red, green, yellow, tangerine. Just because I like those colors. Tangerine because I've always loved the sound of the word ever since I first heard it in the Beatles' Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. The same source from which the electro pioneers, 'Tangerine Dream', was named.

Grave Concerns: Tangerine; it just has such a crisp and refreshing sound throughout. I think the rest of the colors would be lovely to look at…especially when the elements of nature are added into it. Striking, I think it would be to see.

You've been asked to update the movie "Forbidden Planet", as a director and composer. What would be the first scene you like to take on, whom would you cast, and which bands would you like to have contribute to the soundtrack?

George: The first scene I'd like to tackle is when the crew of the landed spacecraft from Earth first encounters the unknown force that plagues them through out their mission. In the movie up to this point, we don't actually see any tangible entity, just a cacophony of sound and a formless shape attempting to break through the ship's force field as the crew begin to set up camp beneath the elevated craft. As the protagonist and commander of the ship, I would cast George Clooney, an intelligent actor and his second in command, Kevin Spacey another great thespian. I think they would make a formidable team.

For the soundtrack I would invite Underworld, Depeche Mode, Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream, The Cure, NIN and from their gorgeously cinematic 'Felt Mountain' period, Goldfrapp.

Grave Concerns: You should do it! Seriously. Kevin Spacey is a remarkable actor. And the soundtrack…wicked awesome--- It would be an amazing remake! (Yeah, I did say wicked awesome!) (;

Have you ever had to perform CPR?

George: Luckily I have never found myself in this situation!

Grave Concerns: Not on humans. But I did bring a spider back to life…that's another story. (:

OK---we're going to play a card game---poker. Deal yourself 5 cards. The 9 of spades is wild. Discard what is not wanted, and pick off of the deck, the card(s) needed to complete your final hand. What did you get? I'll tell you my hand when I post your interview.

George: 5 of clubs, 8 of clubs, 2 spades, king of clubs, 7 of diamonds, what did you get?

Grave Concerns: A pair of 9s (clubs and hearts), queen of clubs, 4 of diamonds and a 3 of clubs. So I take it with a pair. That was fun!

Ever get a piece of a popcorn kernel stuck in your tooth, then two days later…it fell out?

George: Actually, I don't like popcorn!

Grave Concerns: Have you seen any cool new movies or shows you'd like to talk about?

George: I haven't seen a movie or show for quite a while even though I have a cinema located adjacent to where I live. I'll always remember a few years back, during the day as I was in the back garden, hearing Elvis Presley crooning away behind the cinema walls. They must have just got the reels in of a live performance show and were doing a check of the film for the night's viewing. It was quite ethereal actually.

Grave Concerns: NICE! (:

What is your drink of choice? And what are some of your favorite foods?

George: Cranberry juice is a favourite as is any thick fruit juice combo with a dash of lime cordial for extra sensation. Alcoholically speaking, I don't drink much, I like a Guinness stout every now and then. As a kid I was given ouzo by my mum to help with an aching tooth, and I vividly remember a Sunday afternoon when I was 5 getting drunk on less then half a glass of beer at lunch. I stole someone's passport out of their jacket, as I must have been attracted to the officialty of the document. He never ever got it back, that was a bad me!

As for foods, I love a good pasta as well as fresh just baked bread with seafood and salads, and crunchy baked potatoes too.

Grave Concerns: Cranberry juice is one of my favourites…sometimes I'll add orange juice to it…I like the idea of the lime in it though. Guinness is my favourite beer. Pasta and bread…man, that's delicious! And with a crisp salad…I'm hungry again! (: And I can see why you don't drink that much, George! Yikes! (:

Do you think evil is born or raised? How about the goodness in people? Can people change…for the better, and for the worse?

George: I have a problem with the idea of 'evil'. One school of thought says that acts of evil are inhuman; another school says that it is very much human and we need to be delivered from evil by a 'saviour'. I personally don't subscribe to either. In my perspective all human consciousness is shaped by the immediate and broader environment we develop in.

To me, the social, economic, cultural and therefore overall political landscape that influences the way we live and see the world and each other, is the greatest influence upon our consciousness. To understand the actions of 'evil' one must thoroughly and honestly study the impact of all these factors on the life of a person from birth till his/her present and also the recent history that lead to the creation of these factors.

This analysis is rarely carried out by political and media pundits, it's easier to splash the idea of 'evil' before the public, and the public over time - in the absence of alternative explanations being given the same weight and exposure - often regurgitates and accepts these poisonous ideas as 'received wisdom'.

Flowing on from this, I do believe therefore, that people can change for better or for worse, and I also suggest that if the world we live in was of a higher social and economic organization - and that's certainly not outside the realm of possibilities - with genuine social equality much of the struggle to survive and a higher quality of life will be ameliorated. Goodness, therefore, can definitely be learnt from our early life experiences.

Grave Concerns: A fictitious record company (you can even name it too, if you like) has the tough decision of choosing only one band to sign, out of three possible ones. The bands are ALL fabulous, the decision then---is to choose the band based on their name.
1. Liquid Eyelashes.
2. Questionable Logic.
3. Rashin-Blue.

George: 'Sounds Purple Records' would definitely choose 'Liquid Eyelashes'

Grave Concerns: Very, very cool record company name…and they seemed to know just what they wanted. Excellent creative business skills, George!

Being a member of MySpace, how has it helped, or hindered your musical endeavors? And which countries do you feel have embraced your music the most?

George: I have only recently joined the MySpace network. To me it's an extension of my website presence, a place where I actually communicate with people. In days past, Guestbooks were more prevalent where fans could leave messages. MySpace has taken it a lot further than this of course, and far more interactive. I don't think it has hindered my endeavours, although I don't really know how much it has helped either aside from cursory meetings with people with who I may only have one encounter ever. I prefer to direct people to my band website which is far more comprehensive and has on it everything I wish to convey about Alien Skin, 'Don't Open Till Doomsday' the album, and everything in between and sideways. The US has been the main demographic followed by Germany, Russia and other European countries.

Grave Concerns: Have you used an Ouija board, or had your fortune read?

George: No. I must add that I have no belief in the occult.

Grave Concerns: Write whatever comes to your mind after reading the following:

George: 1. The darkness felt so inviting, and the misty air around me was…
clawing at my flesh.

2. She was so tired of everything that they have been doing to him, so she took it upon herself to just let…
her frustration and anger take charge of her actions.

3. It was a small purple crystal that caught my eye. And inside of it was something remarkable…
a pocket of air, trapped from the early days of the earth's birth.

4. Two stars dancing within a storm of…
a cloudy nebula.

5. Saying goodbye was not what I…
had in mind when I said 'see you'.

6. People must begin to realize that our world will not…
continue to support us if we do not support it.

7. The lights flashed in the colors of pink, green, silver and black…they were coming from…
the belly of the small craft descending slowly above the moonlit water 1000 feet below our isolated cabin.

Grave Concerns: Well done, my friend! So great! And I have to say that your response to #6 hits hard.

Thanks so much---we needed MORE kinds of greeting cards with a dark flare to them. What's the name of your greeting card company, and what are your three top selling cards?

George: 'Disturbed Cards' - Our 3 top selling cards are: 1. Blue Birthday: the death of another year of our existence; 2/ Mother's Doomsday; a thank you for the pain she went through giving birth and trying to bring you up as a human being; 3/ Black Wedding: the passing of the first significant part of our lives, as 'single' individuals since leaving our parents home.

Grave Concerns: I'll take a box of each! You're so good at these questions…lovin' the creative responses. THANK YOU!

What are a few of your favorite local radio stations?

George: To be honest I don't listen much to radio, it bores me, rarely does it play music I like, the older I get the more irrelevant it becomes.

Grave Concerns: You just opened your fortune cookie---what does it read?

George: 'Another day, more of the same; but here's your chance to do it better!'

Grave Concerns: Hey, that's really good! And it has hopefulness attached to it. Very good, I like it!

I'm giving you 13 letters to choose from, in any order; you only have to use 6 of them (you can use more if you want, but not less than 6) and you have to tell me what the saying is, after deciphering this code, that an alien sent me to give to you. But only with these letters...NCBJGASLPUWTI.

George: 'Nurture The Blue Planet We Can See U'

Grave Concerns: Yeah, this one is SO cool---LOVE it…awesome, George! (:

What is one of the most beautiful flowers growing now in Australia? What colors does it come in? How does it look? How does it smell?

George: I would say, native Australian succulents. They rarely flower but come in a multitude of amazing, vivid colors. They don't look like they're from this planet and are incredibly pragmatic but bizarre looking flowers. The succulents may range from having a negligible fragrance to sometimes smelling putrid. But they have such an individual character.

Grave Concerns: They sound beautiful.

What are some of your favourite TV show themes?

George: The Persuaders, X-Files, Dr Who, Midsommer Murders, Star Trek, Lost in Space, Adventures in Paradise, Twilight Zone.

Grave Concerns: Love the X-Files theme…and Doctor Who is fantastic!

What sections of the newspaper do you read?

George: Generally the political sections, the main significant events of the day, anything with history involved and some entertainment as long as it's not of a crassly commercial content.

Grave Concerns
: Movies and The Arts section. Help Wanted. (;

Do you have endangered wildlife or plants/flowers? If so, how is your country going about finding a solution for them?

George: Australia actually has the most extensive list of endangered species of any continent. Some endangered animals for instance include the numbat, Australian sea lions, black-footed wallabies, the dugong and many more. One of the chief reasons for their status is externally introduced animal species into the country over the past century or more, like foxes and rabbits for example. Unfortunately, the culling of these introduced species is necessary to protect some of our beleaguered and threatened wildlife.

Grave Concerns: I'm thinking of a number from 0 to 5,109. What it is? I'll tell you what mine is when I post your interview.

George: 3,568.

Grave Concerns:

If you were to plant a tree to symbolize something special in your life, where would that tree be planted, and what kind is it?

George: As a kid at home, we had lemon trees in the back garden and I remember planting seeds near our school yard on the last day of primary school with a couple of friends. We returned to water them for a while during the ensuing holidays. The school was adjacent to a main river, the Yarra that flows through Melbourne. I guess at the time it was symbolic to my friends and myself, of an era that had just ended and we were now to be dispersed to different schools and lives.

Grave Concerns: If you had the power to live the life of any character in a movie for one-week after the end credits rolled, who would you choose and why?

George: It would probably be superman, the opportunity to fly is just too irresistible to me to let pass, not to mention x-ray vision, which always comes in handy. Not too sure about the cape, maybe a Count Dracula cape would be an improvement.

Grave Concerns: X-ray vision---you're such a guy! (; Dracula's cape will do VERY nicely!

Favorite holiday, color, number and symbol?

George: Christmas, purple, 86, peace!

Grave Concerns: Can you tell us something about yourself that you think we might be surprised to know about?

George: You mean like, after surgery for Crohns some years back, I spent a few months wearing a colostomy bag before a reversal operation, now that's one hell of an experience. Luckily I wasn't gigging and jumping about!

Grave Concerns: George, humor is a beautiful quality---and you certainly possess it! (:

This time around you've created a beautiful and darkly provocative "Virtual Sci-fi Game"---what's this one about? And can you tell us two of the characters names, and one thing about each of them that make them unique?

George: The game is about being intrepid and safely navigating through ultra deep space and all its natural splendour, many light years from earth to discover new life and befriend it. The more interesting and uniquely unearthly the form of life and their social organization the higher the score and if you, mind the pun, alienate it, you lose. Personally I have little time for virtual games that make a virtue of destruction and violence in order to win at all costs against an opponent.

Shona is the navigator and the one with skill, knowledge, motivation and resolve to push the team further and further into the dark realms of deep space and will always be there to support ideas and critical decisions brought forward or to debate them when necessary. She is accompanied by Bainbridge Carter, an expert on unearthly life forms. His background is in the study of alien life in the outer cosmos and is always the one to consult on the possible behaviour and actions of beings the enterprise may meet.

Grave Concerns: WOW! I'm so impressed…again. You're a creative mass, George! This is so cool.

What is your Australian zoo like? What kinds of animals do you have there?

George: Well, I've only been to the Melbourne zoo, and come to think of it, many years ago. I'm not sure these days what, if any, unique animals we may have there. When I was young I appreciated it more, seeing the range of animals all in one small area where I could simply walk past and observe a world of fauna before me. Now, although I'd still find it interesting, I don't think it would be as pleasant seeing these creatures imprisoned in small enclosures when their natural habitat is the exact opposite.

Grave Concerns: That is very interesting...and I agree. I can see it for strong reasons like protecting animals from extinction, and if they have been injured and sadly abused…but not for "show". I can't stand to hear of animal abuse…it sickens me.

Did you ever meet Steve Irwin, "The Crocodile Hunter" who was sadly taken away before his time?

George: No I never met the man. I guess he's one of the few Australians whose name is quite big in the states. Dying the way he did, at his age, was definitely a tragedy.

Grave Concerns: Yes. Especially when he was doing something he loved. Another Australian, whom I felt a terrible loss over, is Michael Hutchinson, of INXS.

If you could have a movie director direct your next video, who would it be and why? And which song would it be?

George: I would like something totally bizarre and eclectic for the song Alien Skin so I'd choose, if he were alive, Federico Fellini.

Grave Concerns: What kinds of shampoo/conditioner do you use? And what about hand soap---bar or liquid…what kinds? I do like the brand "Aussie". (;

George: Um, let me check…I shampoo and condition my hard to manage hair daily so I use products that are appropriate for everyday use. As far as hand soap and body soap, definitely liquid without soap. At the moment the ones sitting on the shelf are L'Oreal Elvive. Aussie brand I don't think I've used, actually I've never seen it, does it exist?

Grave Concerns: Oh, yes! Well, actually, it's made in the USA, but uses Australian extracts.

What's in your CD player right now?

George: John Lennon's 'Plastic Ono Band' album from 1970, the very personal and painful classic from his primal scream therapy period.

Grave Concerns: A favorite childhood memory?

George: Telling some neighbouring kids not to stamp on ants outside the rear of our house in Athens Greece when I was about three. I think it's a fave because I do still remember it, possibly my earliest memory of myself.

Grave Concerns: Good for you! That bothers me so much---let the ants be…people like to crush too many things, for no real good reason. They do it, for kicks…so sad.

Are you into the creative art of illusions? If so, whom do you admire?

George: Although I used to be when I was young, it's an interest that has faded. I always used to love watching old movies based on the life of Houdini. I believe someone at Grave Concerns recently attended a David Copperfield performance that was so so.

Grave Concerns: I heard that story too---it was quite the disappointment, for her, and her dad. It's one of those moments that leave a bad taste in the mouth.

How many e-mails do you write each day? Did you ever send one you forgot to spell check? I have. And it was to a previous editor…oops. (; And for the record, that's not why he became my previous editor…lol!

George: It varies of course, sometimes none, usually half a dozen, perhaps ten, twelve. I try not to spend too much time on it as it can consume your daily available time. Usually I reread them and run a spell check, but if I'm in a real hurry I may skip this essential process and yes sometimes some go through that I later reread and realise what a sloppy thinker and typer the receiver must have thought I was!

Grave Concerns: Well, I can say that your e-mails are very coherent and very well written. (:

Do you believe in ESP and ghosts or "other" unexplainable occurrences?

George: I have to say that I don't. I am in agreement with the idea that all things have a material i.e. scientific explanation, whether we know the answers at the time or not. Inexplicable occurrences occur only because the answers have not been arrived at as yet. For most of human history, much of what we understand today was considered unexplainable. I am open to be proven wrong but the onus is on the person trying to prove with an empirical method that paranormal phenomena are real.

Grave Concerns: Do you like the sounds of squeaking sneakers or chalk scraping down the board? What if it were pastel colored chalk?

George: I already have severe hearing damage from acoustic trauma; do you want to exacerbate it? Um, the answer is a resounding no!

Grave Concerns: Hmmm, maybe I should have kept it simple---just white chalk then? (: Yeah, I didn't think so.

What would you like to say to your fans right now?

George: Thanks to everyone who has made the effort to listen to my first release as Alien Skin. 'Don't Open Till Doomsday' is my definitive work outside Real Life and I will always appreciate people that take time to write to me and comment on the music. Thank you of course to all those who have purchased the album and spent some moments going through my official band website, the content of which took quite a while to complete. I find it rewarding when people do have a read, especially the History of Electronic Music. And a big thank you to all the good people at Grave Concerns and their fantastic support from day one!

Grave Concerns: We're VERY thrilled to support the music of Alien Skin---and we hope George, that only good things come from all the hard and beautifully creative work made by you, will continue to bring you joy and success as an artist.

Anything else you care to share with us about yourself and your beautiful and most impressive music?

George: I believe that anything shared is the best way to enjoy. I love writing and performing songs, especially when I have control of the final result. 'Don't Open Till Doomsday' would be nothing more to me than another bunch of songs I've written if it wasn't for people reacting to it in the way they have. It gives me, as I guess it would any other artist, splendid satisfaction to know I am reaching an audience that enjoys a similar musical and mood perspective as I do. Sharing this music with others is to me the ultimate buzz!

Grave Concerns: George, we here at Grave Concerns, wish you so much incredible support, and hope you'll continue to thrive in your artistic gifts and opportunities. You're such a gifted and kind man---a true gentleman and fabulous person to know. May your debut album "Don't Open Till Doomsday" be a smashing success! Please keep in touch! Cheers!

George: Thank you Grave Concerns, I honestly appreciate being here and the opportunity to speak with such a delightful interviewing hostess.

Grave Concerns: It is OUR pleasure George, OUR honor to have you here. Ahhh, you're so sweet---thank you George! (:

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