I've been a singer all my life. I remember being around 9 years old and entertaining my siblings and cousins on our Christmas Holidays in the Tallebudgera tent city of the 60's Gold Coast. I would sing Beatles and Rolling Stones songs a- capella - there wasn't a lot to do then but I am sure I would have done it anyway. It must have been pretty ordinary for the family but somehow I knew even then that is what I would do for the rest of my life.
When I joined my first band, Captain Jack with Bruce (aged 14) I thought I'd died and gone to heaven. Most days I still do. It is just the best thing to write songs and play 'em. The fact that so many people seem to enjoy them always blows me away and I really am humbled by their love of my music as well as inspired to write more and to constantly improve as a writer and player.
I played with Keith and Robbie in Brisbane band Carnival during the 70's. Carnival played some of the most interesting and soulful music I have ever played. It was as much a learning experience for both band and audience as we tackled some fairly complex material and for the first time some serious attempts at writing. After that Rob and John invited Keith and me to join them in North Queensland in a band called Razz. It was this band that really showed the potential for using our own songs as the basis for performance and happily large numbers of audience members agreed. Razz broke all the attendance records in most of the venues we played and while it did not go on to the bigger and better things that it maybe should have (ah the follies of youth!) it was an experience that none of us ever forgot.
During the 80's and 90's I worked in broadcasting as a producer for public radio station 3RRR-FM in Melbourne and with live acts like the Pete Best Beatles, North to Alaskans, Slim Whittle, Wilbur Wilde, and a whole host of indie bands that were an integral part of Melbourne's alternative scene.
I went to Sydney and produced recordings for Rockabilly/Rn'B legends The Eddys, some of which you can hear on the Canetoad compilation Rockin' Is Our Business (available through Robot International web site) and on the live show One For The Money which starred LRB singer Glenn Shorrock along with The Eddys and Danielle Gaha (one of the great female singers in this world). It was absolutely amazing - hard work and good times - nothing like it. More than half a million Australians saw the show and we also performed in SE Asia . The EMI album I produced of the show was sadly neglected by the record company and wasn't released until after the show had finished its 7 year run. Unbelievable! Still it was a fantastic experience to work with Glenn who is an incredible singer, a wonderful songwriter and well, a bloody good bloke. (Thanks Glenn)
From out of left field I was given the job of entertainment manager of a casino on the tiny Australian island in the Indian Ocean - Christmas Island . I decided to remain on the Island after the casino closed in 1998 - my two youngest children were at school and I thought it would be a great way for them to grow up in a community where English is not the first language and the pseudo American/WASP Australian culture was not the dominant. CI is populated mainly by Malay Chinese and Malay people descended from the "coolies" sent there to work from Singapore during the 20th century. It is also a wonderfully inspiring place for song writers1 While I live in one of the last primitive rainforests I wouldn't call myself an environmental song writer ,quite the opposite really - you'd never know I lived on a tropical island from my lyrics. John is the man for the environmental anthems (listen to Never Be The Same) , Rob's got the handle on the exotic rhythms (Eimeo Song get your hips are swaying)- and there ain't none better so I can safely leave it to them while I get on with the dark underbelly of the urban wasteland we have learned to love and hate at the same time.
I'd love to hear from other writers and players so please use the email page and let's swap ideas.