The Music Page
Not too sure where to start this page. I guess a bit about me and my music. I started playing piano when I was about 10 or 11, loved it and did well till I changed schools and music teachers. At high school I played trombone, then euphonium and ended up on the double B flat bass (I was the only kid in the school big enough to carry it on street marches). I learned half a dozen chords on the guitar and a dozen or so songs which I proceeded to play with the same mistakes for the next 10 years. When I was in my late 20s I started jamming with some guys (mostly out of boredom....we lived in a small town with no entertainment) and I quickly realised that even though the other guys could play better than me, my childhood music training gave me a head start in organising people to play together (not as easy as it sounds).
My older brother introduced me to the blues in the early 70's, mainly John Mayall, early Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Paul Butterfield, Canned Heat.......that kind of stuff. So when we started jamming, the easiest thing was to play blues......at least everyone was playing more or less the same song......heheh.....(besides, that's what I wanted to do). One day one of my mates walked in while we were jamming (badly I might add) and saw a Rolling Stones song book open at Let Me Go and said "I can sing that"........so we learned it and my first band was born........The Suspex. We played parties, pubs, birthdays........anywhere anyone would have us, picking up a bass player and 4 different drummers along the way (what is it about drummers). Around that time I discovered Stevie Ray Vaughn and he became my main influence. Mostly we did Stones, SRV, a few Beatles, and various early R&B songs (that's Rythym and Blues.....not what they call R&B these days, Rythym and Bass). We played on and off for 10 years. Eventually the Suspex broke up (as all bands do), by that time I owned about $10,000 worth of guitars, amps and PA equipment.
By this stage I was obsessed with being in a band so I started playing with Pitcrew, a rock band in Streaky Bay. Mostly I played keyboards, some guitar and ran the sound system. That went on for a year but I found playing in a band that lived 130km away too hard so I became just the sound engineer which meant two things........I only had to go for the gigs and I bought more and more PA equipment. At various parties we played at I would get up at stupid o'clock in the morning with Garry (Pitcrew guitarist) on bass and Buzzy (Pitcrew drummer) and play blues for all the drunks still concious enough to listen. That was the beginning of Two Lane Blacktop. Eventually Buzzy left Pitcrew (what is it about drummers......heheh) and moved to Elliston where I lived (thank God for girlfriends). We started playing with Johnny (the other Suspex guitarist) and then Garry started driving down from Streaky Bay to play bass. Finally the last piece came together.......a local surfer who had been playing blues harp for about 6 month asked if he could come along and play with us. Of course he was really talented and had a great voice so he became our main singer. I got to sing enough songs to satisfy my "singer/guitarist" fantasy and Johnny got to sing his songs. Two Lane Blacktop played for about four years, the highlight (for me at least) being a spot in the 1997 AusBlues Festival in South Australia. Eventually, of course, band members' real world lives got the better of us and in late 1999 we had the first of our many "official last shows" (I think we're up to about 15 now). These days I live in Alice Springs (1600km away) but every time I go south to see my kids we get together and play somewhere just for the fun of it. Funny thing is that we play better now than we did when we were an active band.
My guitar rig
1975 Fender Stratocaster, Custom Flying V (built it myself), '59 Fender Bassman reissue, Ibanez Digital Delay, 2 Ibanez TS9 Tubescreamers (originals) and a Boss Compressor/Sustainer. I have owned most of it for over 10 years, I'm not really one for changing things, I have a sound I like and that's good enough for me.
The Flying V was a bit of a project. I wanted a Gibson sound but didn't like the feel of Gibson style guitars (and I have a thing about sunburst/maple neck combinations). I always liked the Gibson Flying V so I decided to build my own V with Stratocaster feel. I got a cabinet maker friend to get me a piece of Tasmanian Blackwood, I drew the shape and marked the pickup and neck cavities and he did the router work. The neck is off an old Ibanez Blazer that got destroyed in a domestic sacrifice. I did all the rest including the 3 colour sunburst. The pickups are Gibson '57 PAF reissues mounted directly to the body, bridge and tuners are by Schaller.
My Stratocaster is a 3 bolt neck, 1975 US model, from the low point in Fender's quality control but it has a very distinctive sound. The body is ash which varies hugely in density and mine seems to be from the dense part of the tree........it is very, very heavy (heavier than a Les Paul), almost to point of being unbalanced and I think that is what makes it sound so distinctive. The only bits that aren't original are the tuners by Schaller, a Graphtec nut and a nameless brass bridge/tremelo. Anyway, it has been in the family since new.....I bought it from my older brother the day my youngest daughter was born and it will never be for sale.
I bought my Bassman quite by accident. I was after an early '60's Fender Super Reverb and had my local music store keeping an ear to the ground. Jim rang me one day and said he had just traded something I may be interested in, a '59 Bassman Reissue with 4x10" speakers. When I asked the price he said $700 and the deal was done.........new price then was $2,500 and it was only a couple of years old. I would love to have reverb but I haven't found an amp that equals the rich, warm clean sound, so I use a delay pedal with a very short delay and a long decay..........I've got so used to it that reverb doesn't do it for me any more.
Here is a couple of pics Two Lane Blacktop
Click on thumb to view the larger pic, use your back button to return here.
And here are a couple of downloadable .mp3s for you to have a listen to.
Sorry about the quality, they were recorded live at a mate's birthday
with limited equipment......but they're all I've got.
Smokin' Blues is an original I wrote in about 15 minutes at 4.00am on the way home from a gig and
Problem is a song by a great Australian band called the Bondi Cigars.
Get Your Mojo Workin' is an old classic by Muddy Waters
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Site last updated 15/12/04
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