ANZAC Day is probably the most important date on the Australian and New Zealand calendar, honestly no other day comes to mind. Remembrance Day is very important also, but there is nothing quite like the atmosphere of an ANZAC Day dawn service. For those who aren’t from Australia or New Zealand this is the day 102 years ago when these two nations participated in their first major military operation in World War I. Aussies and Kiwis died together on the beaches of ANZAC Cove (as it’s known today), just before the break of dawn on the 25th of April 1915. Both Australia and New Zealand were relatively young nations at the time, Australia only federating 14 years prior. The day represents a coming of age for the two nations, and we still celebrate it 102 years on, with many more ANZACs fighting for their country. We tend to get carried away with politics, these days in particular, violence and personal attacks have become the method of discourse, much to my dismay. ANZAC Day is the day we put all of that aside. Soldiers just follow orders, you cannot blame them for the decisions of politicians, good or bad. These people put their lives on the line to keep us safe, yet this isn’t good enough for some people, that it’s not respectable. I for one think that’s a disgrace. It’s shameful to sneer at those who guard you while you sleep. So thank you to the brave men and women who serve and to those who have died protecting us. Lest we forget.
This all started off several months ago on the 9th of February 2017, where we played our debut gig as Dear Sol. We honestly could not have had a better launch gig, we were the headline act at the Zoo (the Brisbane music venue) of all places. How many people get to say that about their first gig. The turnout was fantastic, blowing the required number of ticket sales (30) by an extra 18. The vibe was fantastic, we had an amazing time. Even our shy keyboardist who’s never been a huge fan of performing live said afterwards “that was actually fun”. Actually? In all seriousness I couldn’t have expected a better show.
It was our intention to get a video done for promotional purposes while we had the opportunity to play on a large stage. However, the Zoo was going through a refurbishment and couldn’t record us properly. So we had to think on our feet for this one. We had the video done but we still needed the audio. It wasn’t until the 9th of April that we actually got a recording session done. Now this won’t be much of a shock to anyone who’s tried to record something before in an actual studio, studio time is not cheap, it’s even more expensive when you add the audio engineer’s fee. So we put some money together and got a 4 hour recording session and asked our mate to mix. We did several live takes of the song that will be our first single, “Shiver”. 4 hours seemed like long enough, but it wasn’t. We got there in the end though and have the recording done.
Suffice to say this was all a bit of an ordeal, it just goes to show things don’t always go to
plan and sometimes you need to think on your feet. We now have the video done and the recording done, and expect to release it within the next week in anticipation of our next show at Rics Bar (Brisbane) on May the 4th, that’s right Star Wars Day. Since not many people read this blog currently (probably none), so it’s not a big deal if I spoil the fact we’re going to play an arrangement of the Cantina Theme. Should be a cracking show.
I must say I usually find articles about the music industry to be tedious. So enjoy me commenting on the music industry as a young fellow living in it.
The music business is a tough mistress as most will tell you. If you manage to get ahead and make a successful career for yourself, you’ve beaten the odds. All good things must come to an end however and what has been interesting for me to observe is how people manage the tail end of their careers.
Most of those familiar with Australian music, one of the most popular, iconic Australian bands called it quits in 2010, Powderfinger. It was quite well known frontman Bernard Fanning was the primary writer in the group, and prior to the band’s breakup in 2010 he had already released his first solo record, Tea and Sympathy in 2005 during Powderfinger’s hiatus between Vulture Street (2003) and Dream Days at the Hotel Existence (2007). For a while the signs were there that they were about to finish their career, as a group at least. So Golden Rule (2009) came and went, along with the subsequent tour and final show at the Brisbane River Stage on the 13th of November 2010. Where are they now you ask? Well Bernard Fanning is enjoying the fruits of a successful solo career, as expected. Guitarist and singer Darren Middleton has also been enjoying a solo career, guitarist Ian Haug went on to join the existing band, The Church, drummer Jon Coghill went on to become a journalist for ABC, and bass guitarist John Collins went on to found one of Brisbane’s finest music venues “The Triffid”, along with Scott Hutchinson of Hutchinson Builders. Many feel as though Powderfinger’s disbandment was premature and fans are aching for a reunion.
Next I’ll talk to you about one of the bands that has influenced me the most, Pink Floyd. When Pink Floyd became a “spent force”, the two frontmen Roger Waters and David Gilmour went on to pursue their own solo careers, but each in different ways. Gilmour continued with writing original music with On an Island (2006) and Rattle that Lock (2015). He is quite obviously not in a rush, though the time between records may have been a symptom of his sadness towards the late Richard Wright. On the other hand Roger Waters’ solo career has gone a different way, his 2005 opera Ça Ira was not well received, and not particularly well noticed (I actually didn’t know about this until I looked it up and I’m a die hard Pink Floyd fan) His 2017 record has yet to be released but my money is on it being one long political rant. Both musicians enjoy big turn outs at their live shows, however Roger’s seems to be more of a rehash of existing Pink Floyd material. He toured The Dark Side of the Moon in 2006 and The Wall (again) in 2011. Now I’m not complaining, I did actually see The Wall live in 2012 and it was good. You’ll be beginning to see a difference here however, Gilmour’s career is in writing and touring new original blues rock and jazz music with Pink Floyd classics mixed in. Waters on the other hands seems more content rehashing his older works. In essence Waters has become the Wall live.
Now why am I telling you this? Well I believe there’s two ways for a musician can manage the ‘tail end’ of their career, and at the same time continue to contribute to music. In Powderfinger we have two members enjoying solo careers, target demographic being fans of Powderinger. In Pink Floyd we have two solo careers, but one significantly different to the other. One has become more of a novelty act, and the other an original act that doesn’t try to appeal the younger crowd. I think it should be obvious by now that I favour Gilmour’s choice. He knows his main career is over and knows who his audience is, he is perfectly happy writing and playing music, probably until the day he dies. Or as I’ve come to say lately “The music for the sake of music, a musician’s musician”. One doesn’t have to look to far to see those who are trying desperately to stay relevant in the industry versus those who know their time in the sun is over. If I’m ever to see success in this industry I’d like to go out like Gilmour.
Food for thought.
I’m a firm believer that a joke is not a joke unless it’s at someone’s expense. This is something to expect from this blog regardless of the topic. Whether it’s political, in relation to music, literature or social commentary, never be surprised. In other words if you’re one of these people with skin the thickness of a Planck length, this blog is not for you. I am also a firm believer in the phrase “the truth will set you free”, those who are offended by the truth will take an instant dislike to this blog. In the words of the late Christopher Hitchens,
If someone tells me that I’ve hurt their feelings, I say, “I’m still waiting to hear what your point is.” In this country I’ve been told “That’s offensive” as if those two words constitute an argument or a comment. Not to me they don’t.
What can you expect from my content? First and foremost you will hear about an original band project of mine operating out of Brisbane, Australia, Dear Sol. You will hear about the band’s progress as well as my thoughts on music in general, creativity and the writing process.
You will occasionally see my thoughts on other random topics including literature and social commentary. The moment George R.R. Martin releases The Winds of Winter you bet I’ll have something to say about it.
So here’s to the first of – what I hope to be – many pieces of social, musical, political and satirical commentary. Now that’s a joke. See? Never underestimate the power of self-deprecating humour.