Could you take us back to how you started on guitar?
I think there’s always a moment for musicians. I remember when I was twelve, I saw the film Crossroads in which Steve Vai and of course Ry Cooder did all the guitar work for it. I think that was the first time I faked a sickie and wagged school and watched the film like 13 times in a row or something. It really put me on a path to discover blues music and I grew up in a town that I suppose wasn’t really exposed to blues music. So I went on a journey and asked Mum if I could have guitar lessons. For years when I would play in bands, I’d just sing. It wasn’t until later on that I started playing. Every player has a different style and I suppose my vocals were really being dictated by a certain style. It was actually Chris Wilson (Australian Blues Legend) that grabbed me one day and said ‘don’t just let the boys dictate what you do, pick up the guitar yourself!’ And I did! I’ve often brought that one up with Chris and thanked him for what he said, so that really got me back into playing guitar.
You guys are known for a fairly energetic live show – is that something you’ve always worked on?
Our style has definitely evolved like any band does. We’ve got two guitarists and a drummer with no bass. So with our song writing, we do come across some challenges to fill out the sound, therefore the drums are really integral to our song writing. We also use octave pedals and things like that, but Jeff [Curran – guitarist] and I have been playing together for 10 years now so we write in this style where he might write a riff and then I’ll just kind of t around him. We’ve worked out our weird little formula. My vocals are bluesy, but it’s not just blues, for those that have seen us live it’s a pretty dangerous explosion when we get on stage.
Does the band have any particular instrument/guitar gear favourites?
Well, we really love old vintage music and I play a ‘67 Silvertone that I found at Swop Shop one day, and it’s such a great find. We’re pretty minimal with setups although we do have quite a bit of fuzz, which you’ve just got to have. And Jeff’s a weird guitarist because he’s a lefty playing a right hand guitar upside down. There’s not many like that, maybe Dick Dale and Albert King, but he’s phenomenal. He’s self-taught and he doesn’t play like anyone I know – he really plays from his heart.
You’re playing at the Melbourne Guitar Show. What can people expect?
Who knows, we might start the show with Jeff on my shoulders (laughs). It’s super cool though. For us we get to look around and check out some gear. Jeff is the biggest gear junkie in the band by far, so he’ll love it. There are some great acts playing, which will be awesome to see but our show won’t change. We’re used to playing all types of shows to all kinds of audiences. I think Jeff and I have about 750 shows under our belts over the last 10 years. We’ve played everywhere from theatres to the Sydney Opera House; we’re just going to go and have some fun. The Guitar Show is a great thing for those wanting to learn guitar or anyone that wants to be inspired. And especially for the girls, get down and please come and say hello! If you want to get into music, this is a really good place to check out gear and ask questions.
And on a new music note, you guys are close to releasing a new album?
I was just listening to the masters the other night and I’ve cracked a bottle of wine! You know people think ‘musos have it easy’, but this has been 8 months in the making. Writing, re-writing, scrapping tunes and starting again. For all musicians out there, it’s such a huge feat to complete a recording because there are so many stages to get through. We are so pumped about this release and we’ll have details very soon along with some big news!
The Melbourne Guitar Show will be taking place at Caulfield Racecourse on August 6 and 7. For more information visit australianmuician.com.au/melbourne-guitar-show.