Bill Quinn – Writer, MC, Radio Presenter

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Bill Quinn and John Schumann (Redgum, John Schumann & The Vagabond Crew), Concert Stage, Woodford Folk Festival, December 2007

Owner/operator of Overheard Productions, 2003 to present


Sponsor of 102.1FM 8CCC Community Radio – Alice Springs & Tennant Creek (Dead Parrots Society and A Little Bit Country), 2021 to 2022.

Contributor to Trad & Now magazine (folk and anything roughly related), Ducks Crossing Publications, 2006 – present

Contributor
to Central Coast Newspapers, 2014.

Festival and gig MC 2005 onwards

Radio presenter:

2008 to 2012 – Artsound FM 92.7/90.3FM/artsound.fm  (ACT)

2019 to 2020 – 104.1 Territory FM/territoryfm.com (NT)

2020 – Guest presenter via phone, 107.5FM 2EAR-FM/2EARFM.weebly.com Thursdays at 7.15pm AEST on Ian Traynor’s Thursday evening show (6-10pm)

2022 onwards 107.9FM Radio Fremantle, ‘Folking Around’, Mondays 9-11pm AWST and online at: https://radiofremantle.com.au/shows/folking-around 

Trivia quiz host 1992 – 2012. Maybe again…

Peripatetic, interviewer, blatherer Ongoing. Always. Ever-present.

Gypsy. Effectively on the road from Ngunnawal (Canberra) since March 2013, with a 2.5 year stop in Darwin (March 2019 to August 2021).

Currently in residence in Walyalup (Fremantle, Western Australia), on the lands of the Whadjuk people, and I pay respect to the custodians past, present, and emerging. These are lands that are called ‘Australia’ and Terra Australis, a land of many nations, that were never ceded by the traditional owners.

More details at www.OverheardProductions.com/About

Bill The Housesitter
Bill Quinn, Bloke, v2011

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You Step In(trovert) I Step Out

Talking with Peter Buchstaller about Naked Tuesday
Bill Quinn (right) the introvert turned interviewer, Morialloc Beach 2013

Talking about introversion and extroversion over the years has gotten me into a lot of strife, and lost me a lot of friends and acquaintances, mostly because people leap to conclusions so fast they break their legs.

Here are some common myth-conceptions I’ve encountered repeatedly:

  1. Introverts are shy and wallflowers if they do venture out to parties. They’re hiding in the kitchen or outside talking with the dog or cat.
  2. Extroverts are gregarious, life-of-the-party A-list popular people who hate their own company. They also get more crumpet or schnitzengruben than Sinatra or Madonna.
  3. I’ve forgotten the third because I got carried away with the second one.

I have a little knowledge on these matters, but that’s all it is, and you know what is said about a little knowledge: it is truly a dangerous thing in the wrong hands.

I am no authority on personality types, Myers-Briggs Type Indicators, Belbins roles, psychology, psychiatry or any of the other dark arts.

I know a little and enough to instruct enquiring minds in the basics and then to use their finely-honed critical thinking skills and seek peer-reviewed research and findings, and further study, and of course, credible and authoritative sources for their enrichment.

Ack hack gargle splat.

Sorry, just had to spit the academic-speak out of my throat. I’m credibly and reliably informed as recently as last night at Corinda Compounding Pharmacy in south-west Brisbane (a fine, fine establishment with a wide selection of medicines, corn plasters, essential oils and unguents*) that there is a lurgy going around Brisbane.

I’ve remained immune, but that’s purely good management, not good luck.

Where were we? Introversion.

I believe I am innately an introvert.

For many reasons but let’s just skate over that and speed through to 1983 when a Year 12 career library dweller at lunch and recess decided this is no way to live and asked if he could accompany his mates down to the quadrangle.

Um, derr, of course. You don’t need an invitation! (Well, actually I did!)

Then to 1985 when I was a mild-mannered, quiet, reserved, clerk class 1 in the Australian Public Service, dressing like a computer programmer who thought Billy Joel and Jackson Browne were the height of hip.

And sat in the corner not saying a lot. Until Monday 1 April 1985 when he burst into the office in an old suit with suspenders, outrageous fedora, huuuge fake moustache, carrying a violin case with his lunch in it, and smoking a big fat cigar.

He then jumped in one leap onto his desk and announced to a variously amused, bemused, c-mused, embarrassed and calling security office:

“Hey ever’body! Ima Luigi Quinn! Ima Bill’s a cousin from Verona. I come a into work a today for him cos a he’s at home. He’s a sick. He’s a in bed. With my sister! I told you he’s a sick!”

I did not break character even once for three, three and a half hours until midday when I leapt onto my desk again and announced (while slowly taking off the hat, moustach, etc.) that they had all been fooled and, “It was me all the time!”

There were a few head-shakes, a bit of a titter, but mostly: crickets and tumbleweeds.

Ok gag, wrong crowd, wrong setting, and so and so.

I toyed with the idea of repeating the effort only coming back stronger in 1986, but by then I had left Chandler Street Belconnen and was all the way across town at West Block in the shadows of Parliament House (now Old Parliament House; the new one was just over two years away from being opened).

There, I did not need to wait for April Fool’s Day to be a dork. It had passed into my daily schtick. My favourite gag was to walk in the entrance to our large open plan office, and get from there to my desk at the far end of the room near the window looking east out to the carpark – and not touch the floor.

Desk-hopping. We debated whether I would be covered for compo if I fell. Most older, wiser heads said no, but my boss, mentor and only occasional micro-manager fully believed I was covered under a ‘youthful exuberance’ clause.

Funny bloke, Bruce. A wonderful morass of conundrums and enigmas (much like personality types and typing). He had a gorgeous French wife, and one night when we were all out, we talked and talked and talked in my level of pigeon Creole conversational almost-there Frenchi-speak. And danced! Oh, how we danced.

And I was beginning to really develop those extrovert skills that I really wanted and have honed and continue to this day to develop and practice daily: talking, engaging, connecting, interacting, sharing with beautiful* people with no sleazy, slimy, nefarious agenda.

* My use of beautiful in this context comprises inner and/or external beauty. They’re overlapping, not mutually-exclusive concepts. Not in my book.

The above could be the first couple of pages to my introduction to a book on personal insights into the two personality types and how I’ve seen them present, and 36 different facets of each.

It may well be.

But I’ll finish with this.

In 1986 I did Myers-Briggs for the first time and I was rated INFP.

In 1992 I was tested again at a middle-management week long retreat and I was rated ESTJ.

In 2012 I was tested as part of my communication section’s team development and I was rated ESTP.

A couple of days ago, a new acquaintance heard me precis the above without the fine detail and dismissed my reaction to the meaning of it.

“Your MBTI score doesn’t change. Your personality type doesn’t change.” Or words in the second sentence to that effect.

And here’s my takeaway point which you can extrapolate to almost any observation on humans and the human condition: we’re seven billion carbon-based, ape descendant life-forms. (Douglas Adams.)

Consider that when you make any sweeping statement about people. Does your Yoda-like wisdom apply to Billy Quinn currently of Capalaba Queensland as equally as it does to Hank Jeugen Fleugen Of Heugen Deugen in Hoofddorp, Netherlands and Sun Ji Park in Seoul, Korea?

Then keep moving through the other 6 999 999 997 – please correct me if I haven’t got enough digits up there, as the proctologist said to the masochist.

And if you remember only one thing from this eclectic spray, it’s this: the most important letter in MBTI is the I: indicator. It indicates a possible reality or experience. It does not dictate nor guarantee it.

I think we’re done. Shall we end the class here?

We shall.

Bill Quinn
The Strawberry Flavoured Big Cheese
Overheard Productions

05:36, Tuesday 6 September 2016
Capalaba, Queensland

‘All I Want’ by Sarah Blasko. All rights reserved.

I have a love-hate relationship with this song. The melody, the lyrical richness, the production values are just sumptuous and relentlessly infectious. The lyrics give me the heebie jeebies.

I met Sarah in 2008, I think, and introduced her on stage to about 2-300 adoring fans and new likers. That experience of meeting her, getting her to sign my copy of her then current double album – I’m going to say ‘Songs From The Sea’ or ‘She’ but I won’t Google it, please tell me if you would like – that whole process of meeting, chatting briefly about the intro, then casually observing her in the hour leading up to go time and the introduction and performance is enough to explain quite a bit of the mystery of introversion versus extroversion.

But that is for another time.

ENDS

Epilogue

I make a lot of comments on musicians’ pages and their personal Facebook walls if I’m friends with them. The issue is that most musicians tend towards the INFP which is GREAT for art creation, hopeless for admin.

Just this week I have tried to engage with a dozen or more to offer my old services, new title, at no cost to them, lots of added value – and have got nothing in return.

Even a comment to them directly should at least get the tacit acknowledgement of a click on a thumbs up button. But no.

One band I have tried through three different media to ask about helping them publicise a CD. The most recent attempt went unanswered, and just now, one of the members has posted this to their timeline: I like everything bagels with peanut butter.

That may be my new ironic rallying cry to get these lovely creative petals to open up.

Drop the bagels. Step away from the peanut butter. And FFS: how much are you selling your trio’s CDs for!

END OVER END

In Praise Of The Itinerant Peripatetic Lifestyle

 

A little post in salute and celebration of the ‘work from home’ opportunities that house-sitting affords (no pun intended, well maybe just a little unintended! 😉 )
 
It’s just past the witching hour in east coast Australia, which I usually refer to as the Antipodes, which is accurate and a misnomer.
 
But I like the look and feel of the word; much of my literature and cultural background comes from Mother England or ‘Blighty’, so it fits. And if my ‘mother’ is England, my father is ‘Ireland’, though the older I get, the less I feel those ties unless there’s a pinte of Guinness on offer!
 
So hands up who knows I’m a cultural communicator! And I run two enterprises being the Bill the Housesitter and my entertainment presentation entity.
 
Where were we? Just gone midnight.
 
While most of my Australien compadres, copains et vrienden zijn tucked up in bed, ready for the morning commute, drudgery in a wage slave’s airless office, office politics, squabbles in the tea room, I have the sun and the sand and the clouds and the roads, and the parks and the pubs/clubs/cafes that are my offices.
 
It was at a quiet moment last week (I choose not to have too much quiet in my life for two mostly physiologically-based reasons. Let’s call them both ‘noise’, as one literally is noise, and the other is something we communications exponents term ‘noise’ to capture the gamut of interferences in what would otherwise be a perfect communication environment. e.g. static on the line, bad reception, visual cues, our cultural biases, distractions, etc.)
 
And at that time I had a reverie and reaslisation. I fantasised in about 2006 of a time when I could flip around the country and the world, following the festival guide, always living in the festival moment, or going to, just leaving from one.
 
This lifestyle now allows that dream to become reality. I’ve just rolled out of one and I have two more planned. Come April 2017, some of the shackles that keep me Oz-bound shall be rent and ripped and broken. Free bird.
 
Ok, now you are all being ‘Quinned’!
 
The original meaning comes courtesy of my late brother (6.Nov.1971 – 22.Aug.1998) who would just drop a song lyric seamlessly into a conversation, so much so that his now widow got her copy of the Oxford English Dictionary and wrote the word and her meaning into the appropriate place under Q.
 
Greg was a muso, and he would play at a local Mexican restaurant in Canberra at the pleasure of the owners who saw him busking late one night and really dug his stuff.
 
And it was 9 o’clock on a Saturday when the regular crowd shuffled in, and there was an old man sitting next to him who was, get this, making….. ok, you got it! #BillyJoel
 
And I swear I am not making this up, but at this very instant, the Billy Joel mix on @youtube has just flicked up ‘I May Be Crazy’ which I was having great fun sharing with one of the HSW members from…..agh, forgotten which state of the union. But my comments were pure Quinning.
 
Back to topic.
 
Hooray for house-sitting. Hooray for facilitating the lifestyle. Hooray for Tim and Lou and Jodie and Nat et al for doing the behind the scenes work, and shepherding/funnelling discussion of a far-flung, disparate group, with many cultures en heel veel talen et beaucoup des langues and even lots of languages. And cultures and perspectives.
 
“Herding cats” is my go-to phrase for this!
 
I’ve been a manager most of my life, a manager of volunteers, and a volunteer in (no exaggeration) at least 36 different ways and settings since age four when Dad used to drive around to various houses in the parish after Sundee church and sell Silver Circle tickets. For that, I think my Irish Catholic background – we are relentless volunteers and givers of our own time for worthwhile causes.
 
It’s not notable or laudable. It just is. It’s how we’re hard-wired.
 
So as we cruise into the first hour of Wednesday 14 September 2016 in the deep south — happy 48th birthday to my sister; sad five weeks since my benevolent, lovely, stoic, always ALWAYS smiling yet deathly sick mum died just a smidge short of 80 years — I fully intend to kick on through to probably see the sun come up.
 
Because I can!
 
Yours in housesitting
 
Bill Quinn
Capalaba, Redlands Council District, Queensland, Australia
(until 28 September)
 
P.S. The photo is on point! I might include the reason in the next market day or blog spot! 😉20160914_0015131

Greenacres Motel & Van Park, Benaraby

BQ: Roughly a week ago, I came wandering up the path here at Greenacres Caravan Park and Motel, singing, “Greenacres is the place to be…!”

And there was a tall streak of pelican shit we’ll call ‘Les’, and he was there by the pool. He turned around and he saw this bloke walking up his drive and probably thought, ‘What fresh hell is this?’

He’s shaking his head and saying something I can’t repeat on tape!

Les from Greenacres, g’day and how’re you going?

LD: I’m very well, thank you.

BQ: Now Les, tell us about Greenacres Caravan Park and Motel, and how long you’ve been here for.

LD: Greenacres is a lovely place to relax. It’s 22kms south of Gladstone. It’s probably half way between Brisbane and Mackay. We’ve been here two years now (as of May 2017).

We kicked out a lot of permanents, a lot of dogs and a lot of cats.

BQ: So, it’s more of a tourist park and not so much a residential place, yeah?

LD: That’s right mate, yeah. We got rid of all the residentials!

BQ: Let me start by saying what I’ve observed from being here for a week. I have never spoken more Dutch in my life as this week. There was a family of three, then there were a couple of footballers from the south of the country, and then most recently, a lovely young couple were here the other night.

So, are they mostly backpackers? Are they travelers? Are they Aussies? Who are you getting in here?

LD: This time of the year, the last few months. It’s backpackers. And overseas people of different nationalities. And at the end of July, we’ll start getting all the grey nomads heading north.

BQ: And do they already know about you when they come here, or are they like me and come walking – or more likely driving along the road; not everyone’s mad enough to be walking around the road! Are they driving along and see that you’re here, or they know about you and they’re coming back?

LD: Because we’ve only been here two years, mate, we’ve had to change the reputation of the park. It didn’t have a very good reputation. So now this year, we’re starting to get bookings from people who’ve been here before. Some people are just driving past and then all of a sudden, they think, “We’ll just pull in here”.

And we also have a couple of websites like WikiCamps and all that kind of stuff where people can find us.

BQ: One thing that I saw that resonated with me, because it has to do with what I do in housesitting is “pet friendly”. That’s a bit rare for a caravan park.

LD: We like to pick and choose what pets come in here. Mate, we don’t encourage permanents anymore. But we have pets. It’s mostly just people passing through. A lot of people travel with their small dogs or cats, whatever they’ve got. We’ve seen birds as well.

It’s up to our discretion really.

BQ: How does that work if somebody comes in with Foofy the small poodle that’s going to run around and yap all night? Do you just say, “Look, sorry; no good”?

LD: We tend to put those down the back, the yappy ones! I know it’s hard to tell which ones are yappy and not. But we do tell them that they must be on a lead and under control. Not roaming around.

BQ: How about the yappy people like me? Do you put them down the back as well?!

LD: No, we love yappy people, mate! That’s what caravan parks are all about: talking and mingling with other people, learning different stuff. It’s great.

BQ: You said that when I turned up, and I must admit, I was very attracted to this area that we’re sitting in. And I must admit, it’s become a bit like my home for the last week: I’ve just perched here and have hardly moved.

It’s a beautiful spot. We’ve got two BBQs, we’ve got a roaring open fire, dartboard. There’s a fridge, a microwave, a grill, double hot plates. It’s well set up as a camp kitchen, isn’t it?

LD: Yeah, it’s good for travelers and backpackers like yourself that don’t have anywhere to cook. There’s room to put stuff in the fridge, and as long as people keep it all nice and tidy – which most of them do – it’s a good place to hang out.

BQ: And it’s one thing when I go camping I like to get away from, but this week it’s been good that there’s a little TV in the corner.

LD: Yeah, that’s to watch the AFL, mate!

BQ: And when we’re watching the AFL, Les, who are we barracking for?

LD: We’re barracking for Port Adelaide, mate! They come from South Australia. Best team!

BQ: Port Power, who I believe had a little win over in China, is that right?

LD: Yes, they did, actually. Did you watch the game?

BQ: I saw a little bit of it. Your lovely partner Sue was there and she had it on. And as I said, there’s a blood bath over there with the Gold Coast Suns not doing too well, and I went back to watching my late father’s Parramatta Eels getting on the end of a smacking around too.

LD: It was Mr [David] Koch, the president of the Port Adelaide football club, he started organizing that match a few years ago, and it’s finally come true. Getting everyone together, and the Gold Coast Suns jumped on board, and I think it was very successful for the team and the game.

BQ: Well, hats off to Mr Koch. I can’t watch his breakfast program, but good on them, they do some wonderful stuff and if they’re opening up markets for our sports people…

We seem to have wandered off caravan parks, haven’t we?

Tell me about your lovely pool.

LD: You did that!

The pool. I love my pool. It can get a bit chilly this time of year, but people like yourself don’t seem to mind it.

BQ: People from places that, this time of year, are gearing up for -6C or -7C?

LD: Yes, because I believe that you’re from Canberra, so you’re used to those temperatures.

My pool’s not quite that cold, though!

BQ: I was just saying to somebody yesterday that in this region (Boyne Island, Tannum Sands, Benaraby, Calliope) I have actually stood and shivered at night in 20C+ temperatures. It gets that way, doesn’t it?

LD: Yes, in July it can get down to 8C at night.  But then we have fine, sunny 26C days. It’s beautiful.

BQ: Well, I can tell you that the pool is big enough for doing lap swimming. I’ve done lap swimming twice a day some days, and at least once a day the other days. Ten strokes will get you from one end to the other. It’s a lovely clean pool, and you can stand there drying yourself off while people are passing by in their cars.

LD: I notice someone had been in my pool because I had to keep topping the water up! The tide was down a bit.

BQ: I do draw a bit of a bow wave!

So Les, if someone’s trying to find Greenacres Caravan Park and Motel online, where would they find you?

LD: You can Google Greenacres Motel Van Park, Benaraby. You can find us on Facebook. You can find us on WikiCamps. And GeoWikiCamps as well.

BQ: And just for those playing at home, spell Benaraby for us.

LD: [Well, this is the printed version, so let’s not bother spelling that out again, shall we?!]

BQ: Benaraby: south of Gladstone, north of Jin Jin, and just about as close to paradise as it comes.

LD: That’s it, mate! It’s what it’s all about.

BQ: Les, thanks for having a chat.

LD: Thanks, mate.

 

Roy Martinez (Chilali And The Chief) – Chatting On Air

Bill Quinn: This evening I’m joined by Roy Martinez. Now Roy, you and I go back a long way.

Roy Martinez: A long way back. A couple of days? A few days?

BQ: A long. long way. Last Thursday evening. We were there [at The Local Hotel] for Local Heroes with Bob Gordon to see the amazing David Hyams in conversation and performance. That was a really fantastic evening, wasn’t it?

RM: Yeah, well I’ve known Dave for a long time, but I actually learnt a whole lot more about his history. It was very informative.

BQ: It was, and let me just ease your mind about when we start talking, because I want to ask you some questions in a little while (after I’ve done the gig guide and the parish notices). Don’t worry; I’m not going to ask you what your first memories were and what you were doing when you were five or six years old.

Because we did find out a lot about David Hyams!

RM: Yes, that’s right, of course. I’m going to do one of those Local Heroes myself (as Chilali and The Chief).

BQ: Chilali was going to join us tonight, and we were going to have live music here in the studio, but she’s not able to join us.

RM: She’s not. She’s listening to us now, probably. Her voice hasn’t quite recovered from her bout of whatever lurgie’s going around.

BQ: I’m so sorry to hear that. Chilali, if you’re listening, get the manuka honey into you.

Now you’ve brought in this EP. Tell us more about Chilali and The Chief.

RM: Well, Chilali is my wife. We met because she was writing some songs and we were actually working together, and developed a relationship.

Here we are fourteen years later, and now we’ve finally got a bit of momentum and are trying to make it a career now, the both of us.

BQ: Is that here in Western Australia that you met?

RM: Yeah, here in Western Australia. We met at one of my other gigs. I’ve got a little recording set-up at home, as a lot of musicians do. So we just started doing some demos, and of course with Covid you get a good chance to really have some time to delve into your music.

So we basically did this [the EP] about that sort of time.

BQ: Was Covid in any way an inspiration for it, or did it just provide you with the opportunity?

RM: It’s more the time and the opportunity really. We get inspiration from everywhere else. I suppose maybe there were a couple of songs that remotely had something to do with the whole world situation.

BQ: I guess from what I understood of how lockdown worked over here in WA – at the time I was up in the Northern Territory – I’m going to say you weren’t as restricted as, say Melbourne might have been. You wouldn’t have been as locked down.

RM: Yeah, we were lucky here. We only had week-long lockdowns here. We had just a few, so we were very lucky. For us maybe only a handful of gigs was cancelled, really. We were still working on our stuff.

And we’d meet friends from around the area. I live here in Hamilton Hill and there’s a lot of musicians there, so we’d meet at the dog park or something like that, and there was still some little bit of interaction – with six feet apart. of course.

BQ: At least you could get out, whereas if you were in Melbourne, you might have been writing some songs like, “Would You Please Pick Your Socks Up Off The Floor And Put Your Garbage In The Bin!”

RM: Yes, something like that!

BQ: Tell us about these two songs that we’re about to hear.

RM: Ok, the first one, Lua De Prata. My wife, pre-Covid – probably 2019 – she had the opportunity to go to Spain and do the El Camino pilgrimage walk, the Portuguese leg. The Camino Primitivo, probably the hardest one. A lot of mountains, a lot of hills, and a lot of tracks rather than roads.

So she did that, and of course being in that environment and that exotic Spanish scenery and all that, she wrote four or five Latin-inspired songs. Lua De Prata was one of them.

I didn’t go; I was stuck here in Perth, but she told me about these songs. So I was conjuring up with my production panel hat on, and thinking up chords while she dictated her lyrics and melodies to me.

RM: I’m a bit of a science geek, so at home pre-Covid, I was looking up a lot of things like conspiracy theories when it wasn’t the trendy thing. But I’m always interested in science fiction and celestial things. So I was looking up this thing about the moon, how weird and interesting in terms of its dimensions, how it’s freakishly the right size when we have a total eclipse of the sun. And the distances like how all the craters are basically the same depth even though some are big and some are small.

Things like when some of the American spaceships crashed onto the moon, the moon actually rang like a bell. Resonated for hours after. And stuff like that.

All these kind of weird things that have been on the fringe but seems to be now a little bit more accepted. Still don’t know the answers to them.

So I was looking up all the strange stuff like that, and Chilali, she’s in the other room doing all her beautiful, poetic, emotional sort of stuff. So we mashed them all together!

BQ: And called it ‘fusion’.

RM: Well, the EP here is called ‘The Moon Series’ because we just happened to have written about four or five songs that have this celestial theme and mainly about the moon. The Fool Moon is about all the effects that it does here on earth, like all the crime rates that go up at the full moon, and how it affects the tides.

BQ: That’s where we get the word ‘lunatic’ from.

RM: That’s right, yes. So this is a homage to that. And Lua De Prata was just maybe Chilali’s more personal thing, her take on our relationship where I’m the science geek guy with my feet off the floor, and she’s the grounded, more emotionally stable – not! – part of the relationship.

BQ: You mentioned that you guys got together about fourteen years ago and you’ve got the EP now. Where’s the duo taken you to? What things has it given you?

RM: Basically we were a bit restrained in travelling. We would have loved to have gone overseas. Pre-Covid, Chilali went to Spain and Portugal in 2019 with a friend of hers. She wrote a lot of these Latino songs when she was in that frame of mind and in that environment.

So that [album] is coming up soon. I’ve actually produced some of those songs. They have a definite Spanish – I think of them more like a Santana-ish kind of thing, because I get to play nice guitar on that, both acoustic as well as electric.

So we would have loved to have gone overseas, and we’re planning that maybe next year. But so far we’ve been trying to do a lot of local touristy type things. We love going down to Margaret River, virtually every month going down there, playing at places like Settlers which we’re playing next week. And the Brewhouse and Cheeky Monkey, and we’ve got one coming up soon at Xanadu Winery as well.

So we love going down there, and the bucket list thing is to maybe live down there one day. We’ve done Rottnest, we like going down to Albany quite a lot, Bunbury, and Kalgoorlie even. We love that kind of travelling life. Our ultimate goal is going around to all the festivals.

BQ: I’ve got this feeling from my four and a half months in WA that this region has a fair appetite not only for live music but for live original music. Is that a fair assessment?

RM: I think so, especially Fremantle and the nearby surrounds. They’re very open to original music. It’s funny, I always see there’s a big segregation between north of the river and south of the [Swan] river. I always say that the north of the river people think that the Fremantle crowd is a little bit out there, and as south of the river people think the north people are just too suburban.

I equate it almost like with Melbourne. I remember being in Melbourne quite often touring there, and people want to hear original music there. And Sydney is a little bit less; a bit more of the cover/tribute thing. RSL clubs and stuff like that.

BQ: Now, tell me about The Human Highway, because this sounds like a fascinating project.

RM: The Human Highway, for any Neil Young fans, is a tribute to him. There’s a few of us based here in Fremantle – Rose Parker, Dave Hyams and myself – we love Neil Young. I think it was Dave’s idea.

Dave’s got a great sense of humour; he said, “If there’s anyone you could mimic him with a high, male, weedy voice, it would be Neil Young. So Dave’s found his iconic place in that.

BQ: When David was singing on Thursday night, even before he mentioned anything about The Human Highway, I got an instant resonance of Neil Young. And I thought, he’d sound good trying that. Lo and behold!

RM: The great thing is we’re playing great songs and it’s always packed. No matter where we play, we seem to have quite an audience. We played all the way down in Esperance at the end of last year, in Albany at the beautiful entertainment centre down there, and we’re about to go to Darwin in November. So it’ll be great to go up there.

BQ: And then you’re doing something on a property out at Yorke.

RM: Yes, our friend Alan [Dawson, Radio Fremantle] will be doing the PA for that. Yes, this is a private show of some sort – someone who’s a bit of a fan. We’ve actually got quite a few fans who are big supporters and we’ve played at their birthdays and stuff like that.

So this person, we’re playing on their property there at Yorke. We just have some issues with the generator to work out to make sure that when I hit that low B on my bass guitar it doesn’t trip out the generator.

We have a great crew and it’s always fun to play those songs. There’s seven of us. We have Jeremy Threlfall on lap steel and rhythm guitar, Russell Smith on drums, Adam Gare on fiddle or violin, Rose Parker on guitar, and Dave Hyams, and me.

BQ: And Dave tells me that you’re going to be doing a gig here in Fremantle at Freo.Social.

RM: Yes. Usually Dave books November and December out for this band, so we have quite a few gigs. We’re going down to Margaret River and to quite a few regional areas.

BQ: Tell me about your work with Dave Mann.

RM: Well, Dave I’ve known for quite a long time. About 20 years or so. He’s one of my best friends, and for me, one of the best songwriters out there, and definitely one of the best singers as well.

We went to Melbourne to Joe Camilleri’s studio (The Black Sorrows, Jo Jo Zep And The Falcons). I remember that was our first experience together recording Dave’s second album there, and I’ve been on most of his albums since. Kind of similar to me, he’s now got a duo with his wife called The Nomadics – his wife is Bec Schofield. So they’re on their trajectory, and we occasionally do gigs with them.

I always get to see Dave when he’s in town, but right now he’s in Broome because he’s got a houseboat up there. So he’s with his family and he’s decking out his houseboat so he can eventually get it down to Perth. He’s quite a McGuyver; we call him McGuyver because he can make something out of nothing.

We recorded this one in Rada Studios, I think. It was basically Adam Diggs, myself on bass, and Dave Mann. The song is Tapachula Streets. Now this is interesting. Dave is a surfie and lives in Margaret River, and they had a surf movie festival playing down there. And he watched one great movie about surfing in Mexico and it was still not edited properly, so it didn’t have a lot of the soundtrack music on it.

And Dave was so inspired by this particular story which was about homeless kids in Mexico having them learn how to surf by an Australian couple who already had about six or seven kids who were already adult age. So they went to Mexico and started to teach the homeless kids to have some focus in their life and meaning.

And Dave was so inspired by this that he wrote this song, and you can hear the story beautifully, poetically talked about in this song:

BQ: You’ve done quite a bit of work with Rose Parker.

RM: Yeah, mostly playing bass but also on keyboards.

BQ: Did I hear before that you do a little bit of drums as well?

RM: Oh yeah, I do a lot of drum programming and playing drums as well. In all of the Chilali And The Chief stuff I’m playing everything. I think the only other instrument was harmonica which was done by Jean Guy Lemire, another Fremantle identity. He’s probably playing right now. He just goes around Fremantle, finds a gig, plays a couple of songs, and goes from one gig to the next, on a bit of a pub crawl playing.

BQ: You’ve also done some work with The Yabu Band.

RM: Yes. Let’s see; how did I meet those guys? It was actually again through Dave Mann. The drummer at that time was Jade Masters. Now Jade had been studying at [??]Music which is the Aboriginal/indigenous school for music, and The Yabu Band were two brothers: Boyd and Delly who both graduated from there.

They’re just phenomenal musicians, lovely guys. We hooked up with them because Jade was more or less managing them and sort of producing them as well. I think they did a couple of albums before me, but we had a good opportunity to go to Joe Camilleri’s studio – from our experience with Dave Mann, we went in with Jade and I produced that album.

We travelled; we went to Canberra quite a few times to play at Parliament House. Actually, there area lot of gigs that are shown on NITV, probably late at night. I sometimes get a ring from friends saying, “Oh Roy; you’re playing on TV.” Yeah, the same one that they play over and over again.

But they’re always great fun, the two brothers, and they’re actually doing gigs again, I believe. Unfortunately I’m too busy to be with them this time, but they’ve been doing lots of gigs up north, actually. Delly was a bit sick there for a while, but I think he’s come good now.

BQ: We’re moving through your record collection and we’re up to Wil Thomas.

RM: Wil is from Broome. And again, through the connection of Dave Mann, we used to go up to Broome all the time. In fact, Dave more or less goes up to Broome every winter and follows the sun. I remember we were playing at the famous markets up there in Broome, and Wil he’s the steel forge, kitchen utensil kind of guy – he’s making knives now and some beautiful, very artistic stuff with steel.

So he’s a great musician himself. He looks like Eddy Vedder from Pearl Jam, he sounds like Bob Dylan, and he writes some fantastic songs, mainly about the stories of Broome. Of course, one of the biggest things in Broome history is the Japanese divers that used to dive for pearls. And the song ‘Sayonara Nakamura’ is the story about one of the famous divers, Nakamura:

BQ: Tell me about your experience with Gina Williams and Guy Ghouse.

RM: Gina sings in the Noongar language. Oh my god; they’ve gone such great guns. Their programme is in the school curriculum now. They’ve made a music book and the kids are learning the Noongar language. Which is a wonderful thing because it was threatened to be dying out. Gina has an amazing spirit about her and an amazing way with words.

And of course, singing in Aboriginal/Noongar language, she has to set up the songs in English so the audience knows generally what it’s about. She’s such a great storyteller in the greatest folk tradition. I’ve never experienced this at a gig where I’m playing bass guitar in the band, and I’m following the music just trying to concentrate on my part, that there’s time where I can just escape and look out into the audience.

And I’ve never experienced this before where the crowd en masse are crying because it’s so emotional. And they don’t understand the words, but they know the story. And there must be such resonance in the words that they can feel it and they can understand the story.

BQ: Now you’ve got a residency at a lovely little venue here in town [Fremantle].

RM: Yes, there’s a new venue called Fire In Your Belly. I think it used to be an Indian restaurant, directly across the street [Queen Victoria Street] from Officeworks as you’re leaving Fremantle. Wonderful venue, great food, set up by another couple – husband and wife who are musos as well. We’re doing Wednesday nights there, roughly starting about six o’clock or so. We’re there for the indefinite future.

BQ: How did you stumble into that gig?

RM: Funnily enough, I was across the street at Officeworks getting my stationery supplies and I heard this great Stevie Ray Vaughan-like guitar emanating from somewhere. I thought maybe a car had their radio on really loud but I noticed it was a real live guitar and it was coming from the old restaurant that I used to get my Indian takeaway from.

All the chairs were stacked up at the front so you couldn’t go in, but I could see a stage and stage lighting, and there seemed to be a couple of people in there playing music live. I thought they were maybe rehearsing but it obviously wasn’t open to the public. So I just kept an eye on this place, and then I heard there was place called Fire In Your Belly.

I kept going to Officeworks getting more supplies and every so often I’d go in and ask about what’s happening here, armed with my CD and my business card. So I finally met Emmet and Kellie who are a wonderful duo. There act is called M8 (M8 Mewsic). And they really want to create it as a music venue. I’d say be summertime when it’s fully fledged, it’s gonna be one of the main venues in Fremantle for music.

BQ: Kellie was telling me she’s spent a lot of time setting it up, and she wants it to be more than just a restaurant/bar/eatery, but she wants it to be a place where workshops can happen, where people can meet and develop things.

RM: I’m gonna run a few workshops there like song writing workshops, and perhaps Chilali when her voice gets better – she’ll do some vocal training and stuff like that. Women’s empowerment groups.

BQ: So it’s in Queen Victoria Street, it’s called Fire In Your Belly, and we’re not on commission here [for mentioning the venue so often].

RM: I get a bit of a taste from the kitchen – that’s my sponsorship there.

BQ: Roy, thank you so much.

RM: I really appreciate it, Bill. That was fun.

BQ: And Chilali, if you’re listening, get better soon.


The Human Highway Celebrates 50 Years Of Neil Young’s ‘Harvest’

This article also appeared in Trad And Now magazine, issue no. 153, December 2022

2022 has been a big year for fans of Canadian folk-rocker Neil Young.

(Arguably it’s been a big year for Neil himself, but he wasn’t available for comment prior to press time.)

It’s been 50 years since Young’s seminal album ‘Harvest’ was released in February 1972. (The column author was in first grade at Rosary Demonstration School at the time and was sadly oblivious to this moment in musical history.) ‘Harvest’ was the best-selling album of 1972 in the USA and has remained Neil Young’s best-selling album to date.

‘Harvest’ was remastered and re-released on 2 December 2022, and not surprisingly in this digital, multi-platform age, it comes with a host of extras. The reissue comes in either vinyl or CD box set form, with both including two DVDs. Young’s much-bootlegged ‘BBC In Concert’ is included on CD and vinyl in the respective packages, and three ‘Harvest’ outtakes are also made available in physical form for the first time – on a third CD or a 7-inch record in the vinyl set.

And early December 2022 saw the debut limited release of the 1971 film ‘Harvest Time‘, a documentary covering the ‘Harvest Barn’ sessions at Young’s northern California farm, his performance with the London Symphony Orchestra in London, and in Nashville there are scenes of Young working on various album tracks.

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Mick Thomas’ Roving Commission in Western Australia

Image courtesy of Mic Thomas’ Roving Commission

Mick Thomas‘ Roving Commission are back in Western Australia for what’s becoming a festive season tradition.

The band are playing three dates this coming weekend:

Friday 16 December – The River, Margaret River
Saturday 17 December – Fremantle Navy Club
Sunday 18 December – The Oxford Hotel, Leederville

Support act is the wonderfully talented local singer-songwriter Carla Geneve.

MTRC have a new seven-track EP out and about – ‘Back In The Day’. It’s a mixture of reworked Weddings, Parties, Anything and Mick Thomas and the Sure Thing tracks, plus some others from The Saints, Johnny Thunders, and Neil Young & Crazy Horse. It’s a teaser for a 2023 album in the works titled ‘Where Only Memory Can Find You’.

On Monday 12 December in Fremantle time for the interviewers, and just a tick or three of the clock into Tuesday for the interviewee in Melbourne, Mick generously gave some of his time at the witching hour to talk with Frank Hodges and Bill Quinn from 107.9FM Radio Fremantle about the upcoming dates in WA.

Image courtesy of Mick Thomas’ Roving Commission

Bill Quinn: Hopefully on Saturday we can bung on some balmy weather, but joining as from the cold, Siberian-like/Arctic wasteland that is Melbourne, we can say hello, good evening, Mick Thomas.

Mick Thomas: Hello to you.

BQ: Is it as bad over there as we’re hearing? Is it really, really cold?

MT: It’s too cold for this time of year, in my opinion.

BQ: Mick, before we dive into questions about the EP and the upcoming album and the gigs, I’ve got a bit of a confession. In the last ten years or so, I’ve lost track of the Mick Thomas story since the days when I was part of the furniture at the Illawarra Folk Festival – where you were always a very welcome visitor to the Slacky Flat Pavilion.

Can you just fill us in with what you’ve been up to in the last ten years or so?

MT: I’ve been making records and putting together bands, different bands. Yeah, I just kept making music; that’s my thing. That’s why I keep making records.

The new thing is The Roving Commission which is me and Wally [‘Mark “Squeezebox Wally” Wallace] who was in the Weddings with me – Weddings, Parties, Anything. Wally came back into it and had a big part – a big role in it.

We thought we wanted a second singer in it, so we’ve run through a bunch from Shelley Short to Ayleen O’Hanlon to Jac Tonks to Brooke Russell. And we finally ended up with Brooke Taylor who’s there at the moment, and she’s sort of killing it, and we really like that.

So I really like that second singer. We’ve played lots, we’ve made some records during the lockdowns of Melbourne, which is something you guys in Perth didn’t get.

But we got it. It was pretty big and it was pretty strong, and it really affected us. But we made a couple of records. And we made them in our back rooms and we sent our files to each other. It was a big deal.

Image courtesy of Mick Thomas’ Roving Commission
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Albany International Folk’n Shanty Festival 2022

This article also appeared in edition 152 of Trad And Now magazine in November 2022.

Having not ventured from Perth/Fremantle since landing in Western Australia in April 2022, it was great to zip off for two weeks in a rented campervan to see the great south west, mostly to take in the 2022 Albany International Folk ‘N Shanty Festival. Heading off towards a weekend of music, song, and good people is hard to beat.

It was my first time driving in Western Australia and proved quite the revelation. WA for me conjures up images of stark rocky ranges, miles of pindan dust, and a harsh, dry climate. But Freo to Albany and return via Denmark, Nannup, and Margaret River has the look and feel of south east NSW or Victoria. Dairy cow, vineyard, and tall tree country.

Albany is quite stunning. Turning up early and staying late was wise. A boat across Oyster Harbour and up Kalgan River, a morning zip around King George Sound on a whale-spotting boat, a spin out to the wind farm, and wanderings around the tops of Mounts Melville and Clarence (Corndarup) – all recommended diversions. Bring a jumper.

Add in a trip to a local brewery and the giniversity and that was a pretty full first visit. Now add 2.5 days of a shanty festival and stir liberally.

Albany Town Hall
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Fo’c’s’le Firkins – Shanties And Songs Of The Sea

Image courtesy of The Original Fo’c’s’le Firkins

This article also appeared in edition 151 of Trad And Now magazine in September 2022.

Here in south west Australia, and in niche but growing enclaves around the country and the world, many of us are starting to get a little excited for the upcoming Albany International Folk ‘n’ Shanty Festival which takes place from Friday 30 September to Sunday 2 October 2022.

“From fireside folk sessions and concerts, to full blown pub shanty singing, from tales of pirates, whales and shipwrecks; the Albany International Folk ‘n Shanty Festival turns historic Albany/Kinjarling into a playground of maritime culture.” – shantyfest.com

Albany may not lay claim to the most remote festival venue on the continent, but there would be few that could beat it. Albany is 3,335kms by road from Melbourne, 3,864kms from Sydney, and about a five hour drive south from Perth.

But more of the festival itself in a future edition. I mention it here for context to say I’ve been booked in to attend for a while, so when news of a CD launch of sea shanties and songs of the sea* bobbed up, my interest was already piqued.

* There’s a difference between the two. All shall be revealed hereunder.

The Original Fo’c’s’le Firkins launched their live CD in Fremantle at the Navy Club on Saturday 20 August 2022. It was a nice piece of musical recording symmetry as the album was recorded in 2021 at the same venue.

Band members were understandably taking any chance to plug the CD and gig around Fremantle in the lead-up, and group member Jon Cope spent some time during ‘Folking Around’ on Radio Fremantle to talk in detail about the recordings’ evolution and background.

Normally, I would have been one of the interviewers, however, I was struck down by a debilitating (non-plague) illness that week, so my colleagues of the airwaves manned the bridge and took the wheel: Frank Hodges (asking the lion’s share of the questions) and Alan Dawson (on the panel, knobs, buttons, and light comic relief).

Image courtesy of The Original Fo’c’s’le Firkins
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