From The Vault – The Woodford Files 2014-2015: Brass Knuckle Brass Band, December 2014

Image courtesy of Brass Knuckle Brass Band

The Brass Knuckle Brass Band is the sister band of Moochers Inc who appeared on The Woodford Files last week.

If you stopped, looked slightly up and right, and mused, “Sister act? But dude, they’re all dudes!” then score five points for Gryfindor.

Coming out of Canberra faster than the Federal Highway or a politician with a dog-eared credit card, BKBB will explode everything you ever thought about brass bands, unless those thoughts are sexy, fun, dance, sweaty and more sexy.

Yes, brass is definitely the new black and if you knew sousaphone like I knew sousaphone, oh oh, oh I’m getting too old for this site because that gag was told me to by the midwife. At my birth.

Herewith, Cameron Smith, band-leader extraordinaire.

*** Audio file will be deleted by end of March 2020 ***

*** Audio file will be deleted by end of March 2020 ***

Image courtesy of the Brass Knuckle Brass Band

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Fred Smith Launches ‘Dust of Uruzgan’ Book, October 2016

Image courtesy of Fred Smith

The first lesson of communication is that everyone digests information in different ways, and the savvy communicator has their content in multiple formats for multiple audiences.

Fred Smith certainly has a few bases covered with his ‘Dust of Uruzgan‘ project.

“It started as a war then turned into an album and then into a theatre show then into a musical and now into a book. It’s a pretty straightforward sort of setup, really.”

Fred Smith spoke just before his Brisbane book launch and a house concert in Maleny.


There is an award in a supporting role for Fred’s daughter Olympia, but we cut out and saved some of the higher high C notes she regaled us with for the extended 12″ remix of the audio file that originally appeared in this article.

Fred next takes the book on the road to Melbourne, Victorian regional centres, Canberra, Sydney, then back to Queensland for some regional appearances.

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Karen Green Artist (Canberra) talks about art, social justice, and Grey Woman Matters, October 2016

Grey Matters Woman exhibition, 2014. Image reprinted by kind permission of Karen Green.

Audio of interview with Karen Green Artist also of Grey Matters Woman.

Karen Green talks with Bill Quinn of Overheard Productions about art, entering the Archibald Prize 2016, and expressing her passion for social justice through art and Twitter.

Karen Green first came to our attention via her art on display at the Tuggeranong Arts Centre.

Karen came into the studio with fellow artist Gosia Orzechowska one morning for a chat, and Overheard Productions has been interested in her works ever since.

*** Audio file will be removed by the end of March 2020 ***

*** Audio file will be removed by the end of March 2020 ***

In more recent times, Karen Green has been very active on Twitter, sharing thoughts, links and events about social justice. It was this interest that led to a chain of events that saw her enter a portrait of Kon Karapanagiotidis of the Melbourne-based Asylum Seekers Resource Centre in the 2016 Archibald Prize.


Kon Karapanagiotidis by Karen Green.
Entry in 2016 Archibald Prize. Image courtesy of Karen Green. Continue reading

The BordererS: To Canberra Polish White Eagle Club and beyond, September 2015

The BordererS Live
The BordererS Live

The BordererS from Adelaide have forged a reputation for frenetic, energetic live performances, built on the back of relentless touring.

September and October sees no let up, as having only recently returned from a very special performance at the Sydney Opera House (for the Sydney LifeForce Memorial Service on Suicide Prevention Day), the next few weeks has the band bouncing in and out of NSW, Victoria, then back to NSW for the Kangaroo Valley Folk Festival.

First cab off the rank is a performance in Canberra at the revitalised Polish White Eagle Club. This venue has long been a favourite of Canberra music aficionados, helped by the fact that the club has been for many years completely pokie-free. (A phrase to gladden the heart of many fine musicians — especially acousticos.)

The BordererS have been slowly building a loyal following of Canberra fans with repeat appearances at the National Multicultural Festival, and some memorable gigs at King O’Malley’s Irish bar among others.

A BordererS favourite review from National Multicultural Festival 2015
A BordererS favourite review from National Multicultural Festival 2015

They’ve also chalked up five appearances at the National Folk Festival and are always keen to return for more of the same. “The late night sessions at the National (when the festival shuts down for the night) with all of the top performers and the public all seated and singing together have been some of the most memorable nights in the band’s career,” Jim Paterson says. Continue reading

The Woodford Files 2014-2015: Trouble In The Kitchen (Sarah Island), December 2014

Trouble In The Kitchen at the Concert Stage
Trouble In The Kitchen at the Concert Stage

Youtube has a simple facility where at the push of a button, your shaky video is stabilised and appears much more professionally-recorded than you could manage when you were adding some extra jigginess via mundane bodily functions such as breathing or sneezing.

Or as I was here, weeping uncontrollably.

Let’s go back a few years.

At probably my first Woodford Folk Festival, I got a treasured copy of the then very new ‘The Next Turn‘ album by Trouble in the Kitchen. As I set off down the D’Aguilar Highway on 3 January, processing eight days’ worth of festy wonderfullness, I was in an emotional, impressionable state, making listening to the 14 tracks all the more powerful.

(Some of my most treasured and loved folk albums have seared straight into the deepest levels of my cerebrum by dint of being absorbed in post-festival drives.)

However, my attention must have wandered on Track Five as I didn’t pick up all the lyrics nor their significance. I acquired and adopted a handful of mondegreens, and ran with those for many months until one day I sat with a stack of 20-25 Woodford-collected/purchased CDs and…

I read the liner notes.

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The Woodford Files 2014-2015: Moochers Inc., December 2014

Image courtesy of Moochers Inc.

For the next eight days and then some, I’ll be filing stories about the Woodford Folk Festival in south east Queensland.
Follow the stories and adventures here.

Bill Quinn, December 2014
Either Kingsgrove NSW or Woodford Qld


OK, some sort of spanner flew into the works here, because on checking back to this article on Thursday 6 February 2020, the above three lines are all that’s showing and there are no pictures. Some sort of poltergeist is in play.

So, to re-create from memory. Prior to attending the 2014-2015 Woodford Folk Festival, I got in touch with a stack of bands and did short interviews over the phone. I followed that up with a few face-to-face chats at the event, plus a few more general posts about goings on and proceedings over the nine days that I was on site at Woodfordia.

I called the whole shooting match: The Woodford Files.

The first cab off the rank with the pre-fest chats was with Rafe Morris, at the time resident in Canberra and one of the driving forces behind Moochers, Inc.

For the next few weeks, you can hear the audio here:

But after the end of February 2020 it, along with dozens of other audio interview files, is being archived to my Dropbox.

It shall live on in text format. Ah… Wait…

The penny hath dropped. This was originally a Timber and Steel article. Right. That’s why this article on my website was previously devoid of my usual drivel.

Image courtesy of Moochers Inc

Here’s what I said at the time of the December 2014 post:

The wonderful Woodford Folk Festival kicks off on the Sunshine Coast hinterland in a magical kingdom called Woodfordia on Saturday 27 December 2014, and ends in a fiery extravaganza on the evening of Thursday 1 January 2015.

If you’ve not experienced Woodford before, then don’t delay. There’s still time to kennel the cat, grab your significant other, and point the wagon train north to Caboolture* and peel off left. Or south to Palmview and peel off to the right past Beerwah.

Ok, I could keep going but you’ve probably got Google Maps too, so you can keep playing at home if you like.

This is the first in a series of interviews, vignettes**, features and story-ettes that will seek to entice you off the couch and away from the Boxing Day Test to a sport far more interactive (and you can get in on the cricket action with the Woodford XI).

OR if geographically, monetarily, fiscally-responsibly***, or familyscomeoverfromSweden-ly you’re not able to, you can pull up a bean bag, grab a bag of Smith’s Chips and a Passiona and tune in for a Christmas and New Year of music, song, dance, spoken word, art, community, and probably a shipload of rain and mud OR stinking heat and 40+ degree external saunas.

Me, I personally take Woodfordia in all its many-splendoured glories. If life sends you a baking sidewalk, cook eggs and bacon. (I was never into lemons or lemonade.)

First cab off the rank is a wonderfully fun, fast and very toight outfit from Canberra called Moochers Inc. As Rafe Morris says in the interview, they’re a band for dancing, singing and drinking with — during the show, and before and after if the mood takes you and them.

Warning: jazz students sitting in the first row trying to follow the complex chord progressions, you may have your view impeded by writhing, sweaty, beautiful young dancing bodies. Which can’t be a bad thing. I’d jump right in, if I were you.

I probably will.

I do carry on with some bollocks at times. I have no idea what the * or ** was supposed to signify. [Rolls eyes several times.]

Image courtesy of Moochers Inc

Here’s the text of the interview:

Bill Quinn: Coming up very shortly, the Woodford Folk Festival kicks off on the 27th of December in south-eastern Queensland at a magical place called Woodfordia. I’m speaking this afternoon on the line with Rafe Morris from Moochers Inc. Good afternoon.

Rafe Morris: Good afternoon, Bill. How’re you doing?

BQ: I’m doing fine. And your good self?

RM: Nice one. It’s pretty sunny and lovely and close to Christmas and close to Woodford, so really nothing to complain about.

BQ: Now, Rafe, when I spoke to you earlier this morning, I made a fatal error: I called your band ‘Moochers’, and you were quick to correct me and call it ‘Moochers Inc’. Tell me about the ‘Inc’; I’m fascinated.

RM: Well, I think that really the main reason for the ‘Inc’ was that ‘Moochers’ was already taken. But then, if we were to make things up, we could say that we’re a very formal group, we’re incorporated, we have a very established business structure and model, and organisational charts.

And although there are only six band members and we’re all horrible at admin, we just like to formally recognise…

BQ: Your ‘Inc’-ness!

RM: That’s right!

BQ: Because you do the jazz stuff, you could go with a bit of homonym stuff and say, “If you like the Ink Spots, you’ll love Moochers, Inc!”

RM: We could do that. We’ve never done that and we probably never will, but we could.

Image courtesy of Moochers Inc

BQ: Let’s go back a step, Rafe. Tell us a bit more about the band.

RM: There are six of us. We play fun, fast, sloppy trad jazz but people say we play it well. So that’s nice when they say that. It’s a mix of old jazz standards, maybe some that people might not be too familiar with. And a mix of originals written by myself and the trumpet player, Cameron Smith.

And we have a lot of fun. Six of us: we have the trad jazz line up with the sousaphone at the back there with the drums, the guitar, trumpet and clarinet and the trombone making a bunch of noise. And we call kinda yell and sing and jump around.

BQ: When people say that a track needs more cowbell, I always say no, no; it needs more sousaphone.

RM: Yeah, everything needs more sousaphone. I’m standing on the street right now and I can’t see a sousaphone anywhere. So that’s one thing that needs more sousaphone: this street.

BQ: Now you say you have fun, and I pick up on that because when I was on Artsound FM 92.7 FM and we’d play a lot of jazz, people would ask what I think of it. And I’d reply it’s not really my thing and I especially don’t really like trad jazz, but I’m guessing you’d make it more accessible than what I think of as trad jazz.

RM: Yeah, you know what? I think that what we’ve found is people are surprised when they see that they like us. Because it would be very easy to pigeonhole us as being a very cheesy trad jazz band that appeals to a dying population. But if you approach anything with a bit of fun, a bit of humour, and you don’t take it too seriously, then that shines through and then people enjoy it because you’re enjoying it.

We move around a lot, we joke around a lot, we drink maybe more than we should sometimes.

And people like that. We approach it with fun and irreverence, and it’s not boring.

BQ: That’s interesting because my resonance of trad jazz is going to, say, the yacht club on a Sunday afternoon and you’d get a string of standards or originals, and it starts with one verse and then 87 solos.

RM: Yeah, and those same people, they don’t look at the audience, they’re staring at the ground and they’re looking like they’d rather be asleep.

That’s not us. Our songs, we try not to drag them on for too long. We’re quick and fun, we get people up dancing and we get good reactions wherever we go, I think generally because we enjoy what we do and that’s a bit contagious.

Image courtesy of Moochers Inc

BQ: That’s excellent because I’ve only ever been to one jazz festival in my life, which we won’t mention which one it was MoruyaJazzFestival and what I did notice was a lot of students sitting in the front row intently watching every chord, every move, every muscle – I’m guessing those people in the front row will be dancing at your gigs.

RM: Yeah, they do that, they do that. And generally, they’re those same jazz students as well, I think. No, those festivals are interesting, and we do play a couple of jazz festivals around the south coast quite regularly. It’s a funny mix of people sitting and staring, and the audience kind of knowing that music is for dancing but for every other band they’ve been sitting and watching. So, there’s some confusion at first until they realise that dancing is ok.

BQ: Excellent. So from the south east, you’re going to be heading the wagons up to the north. You’ve been to Woodford before?

RM: Yeah, I used to play in a fun reggae/rock/ska band called Dahahoo and we went up a couple of times, and did lots of gigs on the way up and back. But I haven’t been in about six years, I think, so I’m sure it’s changed tremendously. This is the first time Moochers Inc has been up as a band, so we’re pretty excited, pretty excited.

Image courtesy of Moochers Inc

BQ: You’d have a few little Woodford virgins there [in the band]; have you given them a briefing of what to expect, or are you just going to let them experience the wonderment when they get there?

RM: Can you believe that one of our band members had never heard of Woodford? And he’s like, “Oh guys, I don’t know…”

And we’re like: “Just shut up. Stop talking. Just say yes. Stop talking.”

BQ: Just use the Corinbank approach. Just immerse.

RM: That’s right. There’s not much you can do to explain the enormity of it, is there? It’s something you’ve got to experience. You can only say: “It’s gi-normous and awesome!” so many times before those words kind of lose their meaning.

We’ll let them figure it out for themselves.

BQ: Yeah, just three words you need to let them know: hydrate, hydrate, and… what’s the other one? Hydrate.

RM: Ah, I thought the other one was ‘Clown Poo’. Wasn’t that the alcoholic slushies with all the funny colours?

BQ: I’ve not experienced that one!

RM: Aw, it’s good. I hope they’ve still got that.

BQ: Sounds like far too much fun, Rafe.

Looking forward to seeing you up there myself and have a happy Woodford.

RM: Thank you. I should probably say that we’re coming with our newly-launched EP. Maybe six tracks on it; they’re all originals. We’ll be selling them for about ten or twelve dollars. It’s called Standing In Front Of A House.

And you can tell it’s our CD because it’s got a picture of us standing in front of a house.

And we would encourage people to buy that because we’ve got so many CDs and it’s a dying technology, so we need to sell them before CD players become non-existent.

BQ: There’s that, and as I always say, it’s an ecologically responsible thing they’re doing by buying your CDs because it means that your carbon footprint is reduced on your return journey – and that’s very important now that we don’t have a carbon tax anymore.

RM: That’s right. What is it? Positive action or direct action.

BQ: Rafe, thanks so much for talking with us this afternoon for Timber and Steel and various other publications, and we’ll see you at Woodford.

RM: Cool. Thanks, Bill.


Timber and Steel

The wonderful Woodford Folk Festival kicks off on the Sunshine Coast hinterland in a magical kingdom called Woodfordia on Saturday 27 December 2014, and ends in a fiery extravaganza on the evening of Thursday 1 January 2015.

If you’ve not experienced Woodford before, then don’t delay. There’s still time to kennel the cat, grab your significant other, and point the wagon train north to Caboolture* and peel off left. Or south to Palmview and peel off to the right past Beerwah.

Ok, I could keep going but you’ve probably got Google Maps too, so you can keep playing at home if you like.

This is the first in a series of interviews, vignettes**, features and story-ettes that will seek to entice you off the couch and away from the Boxing Day Test to a sport far more interactive (and you can get in on the cricket action with…

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Owen Campbell on ‘The Pilgrim’ Tour, May 2014

Owen Campbell to play The Abbey, Canberra on Friday 2 May
Image courtesy of Owen Campbell

Owen Campbell to play The Abbey, Canberra on Friday 2 May 2014

Australian blues man Owen Campbell has been busy promoting his latest album ‘The Pilgrim’ and will be taking the show back to his old stomping ground of Canberra atThe Abbey on Friday 2 May 2014 to kick off his ‘Remember to Breathe’ Tour.

Show only tickets are available for just $20 or dinner and show is $65. Booking fees apply to both and the details are available at The Abbey.

Owen took some time out to talk with Bill Quinn who was cooling his heels at Central Railway Station – the foyer of the Sydney Gaelic Club proved to provide the best acoustics.

*** Audio file will be removed at the end of February 2020 ***

Bill Quinn: I’m stood above Central Station where the tunnel is a hive of activity for buskers, and that’s very appropriate as we’re talking with Owen Campbell. Owen, how’re you going?

Owen Campbell: Good thanks, mate.

BQ: Owen, tell us what’s up in the world of Owen Campbell at the moment.

OC: Just a lot of work, a lot of touring. I’ve just started a national Australia tour that started at Deni[liquin] Blues and Roots FestivalDeni[liquin] Blues and Roots Festival last week and’s going all the way up to the Blues On BroadbeachBlues On Broadbeach Festival at the end of May. So that’s about six weeks, and then I’m driving back to Sydney then flying out for a six week tour in the US.

So just flat out, man.

Image by Swamp House Photography, courtesy of Owen Campbell

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Interview: Johnny Huckle (ACT)

Image courtesy of Johnny Huckle
Image courtesy of Johnny Huckle

Interview with Johnny Huckle (ACT)

I first saw Johnny Huckle playing in Woden in the late 1980s or early 1990s. My girlfriend/fiancée at the time was working at ATSIC (née Department of Aboriginal Affairs), and more than the odd Friday afternoon would have us plonked at the Aboriginal Club or the Contented Soul watching Johnny belt out a blend of covers and originals.

His rendition of ‘Do The Hucklebuck’ was always a crowd-pleaser.

Fast forward twenty years or more, and I only manage to run into Johnny at festivals. As was the case earlier this year in Illawarra where we finally made some time to gather around the MP3 recorder and have a chat.

Hopefully you can decipher most of the conversation despite the cacophony of competing sound spillage.

Johnny Huckle performing Spiritman:

Johnny jamming with Canberra music and recording legend Trev Dunham:

A Punter’s Perspective #43: Overheard at the 2013 National Folk Festival

The iconic National Folk Festival bunting
The iconic National Folk Festival bunting

A Punter’s Perspective

Random observations on the wide, weird world of folk from the side of the stage

#43 Overheard at the 2013 National Folk Festival

First published in Trad and Now magazine, April 2013

I usually stop short of epithets like ‘the best’, ‘the greatest’ or such like. But in a relatively short experience of the National Folk Festival (my ninth of a possible 47), this year’s was definitely the most anticipated Nash I’ve personally known of.

A number of variables made the lead up to this one a little tantalising.

The organisers made no bones about the fact that it’s been testing times for the National. Some may shudder at words they’ve used like ‘consolidation’, ‘challenge’ and ‘sustainable’, but I’m actually a bit of a fan.

If there are threats to a festival’s viability, you can either fix a smile and adopt a ‘Move on, nothing to see here, all is well’ approach. Or squat on your heels, furrow brows, chew bits of bark and declare we’ll all be rooned.

Or you can call a spade a spade (not a manual earth-moving device) and accept there are indeed challenges and forge ahead.

Disclaimer: I’m observing all of this from some distance, and am NOT privy to any of the National’s internal machinations. Continue reading

National Folk Festival – Wheeze and Suck Band – interview with Tony Pyrzakowski, 2013

Image courtesy of the Wheeze and Suck Band
Image courtesy of the Wheeze and Suck Band

This interview originally appeared on Timber and Steel in March 2013:

Wheeze and Suck Band have since wound up, and a cut-down version of the band perform as Traditional Graffiti. Tony Pyrzakowski performs with Butch Hooper as Hooper and O’Toole.

As I’ve said many a time on stage and in print, I don’t even try to have a veneer of objectivity when it comes to some bands.

They’re just my favourites, and I adore their music and I’ll hunt them down at every festival and sing along, and sometimes dance along, and that’s just the way it is and ever shall be, Wheezer World without end, amen.

So yeah, I quite like the Wheeze and Suck Band.

There, we’ve got that bit established.

If you think age shall weary them, just click on the video link below and suspend disbelief. It says so much with music and dance in this shaky clip I took at St Albans Folk Festival from a couple of years ago (usually held on an Anzac Day weekend — put it in your calendar now; thank me later) is the range of ages the Wheezers appeal to.

What child could resist jumping around to a bunch of men in funny hats and cloaks? And that’s for the young at heart and the young in the head.

And the young in age.

It’s enough to even make you groan with empathy (and maybe a little sympathy) to John ‘Red Tips’ Milce’s jokes, trotted out at irregular intervals in pure Lancashire-ish.

Fiddler-player Tony Pyzarkowski is one third of a regular trio along with Butch Hooper and Kevin ‘Bodhranworld dot com‘ Kelly who form “Kelly’s Heroes” and bash out three hours of stuff you probably know, stuff you may know and stuff you may not have heard of in PJ O’Brien’s pub in Sydney every Sunday night from 6-9pm. (No chance on Easter Sunday — that’s National Folk Festival central.)

After last Sunday’s session, Tony had a bit of a chat about what’s going on with the Wheezers and looked forward to the National Folk Festival starting this Thursday 28 March 2013 in Canberra.

Image courtesy of Wheeze and Suck Band

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