Sarah Mary Chadwick
writes a love letter
Karl Von Bamberger
Image by Lily Hayes
Born in New Zealand, Sarah Mary Chadwick moved to Melbourne in 2007 with previous band Batrider and has become a fixture in the city's thriving music scene ever since. Performing as a solo artist since 2012, she is known for her candid, raw vocals - her 2019 live album 'The Queen Who Stole The Sky' was described by The Guardian as 'terrifyingly loud and heartbreakingly vulnerable, often grotesque in its sadness'.
In 'A Love Letter to', Hook asks musicians to pay tribute to someone who has inspired or impacted their work. Sarah chose her friend, and much-missed Melbourne musician Karl Von Bamberger.
Karl's world was smutty but beautiful, a kind of cracked hysterical crystal running through the night and rolling around in the dark. Karl has influenced my work arguably more than anyone. Usually I hang an album on a face, and then when its done, so is my infatuation. I work through their image and my pretend love for them. Maybe because Karl died, his hand still touches much of the work I do.
Karl only liked my songs when he was in them. Once I was playing a show at a magic shop and I heard him arrive late while I was playing, loudly announce that he was on the door list, then dance around with his friend just out of my vision, to songs he knew were about him. I think he may have even left that night without saying hello to me.
Karl made life big, grandiose and a spectacle. In that way he influenced me. In that way he spoke to me. In that way he was me and I was him and he is alive and I am dead.
Karl was a wonder like everyone is. And I touched him with my hands. I liked our filthy interaction. I wish we could have done it more, so now he's gone I play it out.
I don't want to spill my memories - as Chekov knows, when you speak of precious things, the magic is lost. I can't give enough time to memory, it overshadows everything, beat by beat. Surprising things fill your life. Surprising people mean it all.
- Sarah Mary Chadwick