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‘When I put a spike into my vein, I’ll tell ya things aren’t quite the same.’

Lou Reed sang that line, and I’m certain Courtney Taylor-Taylor relates to it.

I’m not saying The Dandy Warhols’ frontman is a junkie; in fact, it’s the one thing he says he’s not. But to say that he’s teetering on the edge would be a vast understatement for a man trapped between the blurred boundaries of music and self-medication.

As Courtney talks you find yourself on the edge of your seat, ears pricked, a perplexed expression on your face, hanging on to every word that falls out of his mouth like it could be the last thing you ever hear.

It’s not that anything he says is particularly deep (although he has his moments), it’s because at times you literally have no idea what the man is saying. What were once conceived as words emerge from Courtney as a distant, semiconscious preamble for a book no one is writing.

Being diplomatic and all, I blamed it on the time difference. The truth, though, is that I had ‘heroin’ stuck in my head for the rest of the day.

“Music is a survival skill. It’s what keeps me from just being another heroin junkie. If you don’t have a creative outlet you’ll die, you’ll OD.”

Courtney painted me a picture of his alternate reality but I decided to take the polite route, asking him instead about Dandy Warhols heartland: Portland, Oregon.

“The rain. That’s what it is about Portland. It rains for about ten months of the year. Soothes my depression; it’s ‘Portland’, not ‘Portlandia’.”

I point out that it has been known to rain in cities other than Portland. Surely there’s more than just weather-patterns keeping Courtney there.

“Look, this city’s a part of our identities now. To leave here would be to give up a part of ourselves. We have a lot of history here. Family, friends. My family’s been here for more than 150 years. But I’ve had to watch a lot of my friends disappear… when they get to their late 20s, early 30s, it’s suicide, or ODing. Junkies, you know?”

Of course I didn’t know. I didn’t have a clue. But Courtney was dropping some heavy shit, so I let him continue.

“I was on stage in Sydney about five years ago and my phone started ringing. I reached down to turn it off, but I realised it was a call from this guy who never calls me. So I answer it, and he says he was just calling to say one of my friends had ODd. ‘He’s gone, man. Gone.’ It was the worst set, I couldn’t feel a single song.”

Courtney spent the better part of the interview reminiscing about friends that had slipped away, his voice tinged with a quiet frustration as if it had all gone on too long for any sadness to linger.

I had to wonder if he saw me more as therapist or journalist, or if he was aware of the vast differences in confidentiality between the two.

Thankfully the conversation steered towards ‘This Machine’. You have to wonder, it being the Dandy’s eighth album and all, whether…

“No man, it’s our seventh album. We’ve released seven.”

“Are you sure?”

Like I’m going to correct Courtney Taylor-Taylor on the discography of The Dandy Warhols. He twice recounts a list of albums to me; both times the list is different. I assure him that I was mistaken, and ask him about his critics. You may have noticed the 5.1 rating ‘This Machine’ has on Pitchfork. You may have noticed that Pitchfork are not Dandys fans.

“We’ve never cared about critics. They either hate you because they don’t understand, or love you for all the wrong reasons. Who needs them?”

He may have said ‘reads them’, which strangely is also applicable.

“Besides, when you’ve got people like David Bowie and Joe Strummer saying that they like your band, it doesn’t matter.

“Having David Bowie say he likes your band is like having God come down from heaven and say ‘Hey, I’m sorry about all the elbows in the chest you got in school and all the times you got called a fag. It’s all ok, now. You’re fine.’

"And when Joe Strummer told us we were his favourite band, you know what he said next? ‘Do you want to hang out?’”

Now that, children, is hard to argue with.

The Dandy Warhols play Harvest Festival at Riverstage on Sunday November 18. ‘This Machine’ is out now.
Tuesday, 01 May 2012 16:36

Gangarang: Forming A Gang 101

With the return of Gangarang, there’s never been a better time to form your own gang. Here’s how, in four easy steps.

1. Become a ‘cult of personality’. Put up posters, make a YouTube video, hold public meetings and hand out tacky bracelets until millions of people start following you and believing the things you say for no good reason. Then, to seal the deal, take your pants off and run naked through the streets. Pretty soon you'll be more infamous than some Ugandan dude.

2. Watch ‘The Sopranos’. This show contains everything you need to know about gangs. Plus, it'll give you a few pointers on how to hit on your shrink. Make sure to memorise key phrases for later use, such as “Ohh!” and "This lasagne's cold”.

3. Learn to whistle a 1920s showtune. Your new gang is hanging out in a dark alley, when suddenly your rivals, the Toritos, approach. Everyone is uneasy, on edge. There’s an unmistakable sound of a flick-knife being drawn. Thank God you learned how to whistle the theme from ‘Chicago’.

4. Buy some cigarettes, but don’t smoke them. Make sure all your gang members are carrying at least one pack of cigarettes. Let's be honest. People with cigarettes look cooler, in an “I bet he knows what 'racketeering' means" kind of way. Don't smoke them though, that stuff's bad for your health! Instead, offer them to rival gangs, in the hope that your enemies will die too young to see their grandkids grow up.

Here are a few Scene gang suggestions.

chewieewoks

kiss

scooby doo

sesamethugs

‘Gangarang IV: The Rebirth’ is on at Rumpus Room, West End, Sunday May 6 from 3pm. Adding spice to the mixture, Scene will be filming on the day.

You’ve heard of Henry Rollins. The famous spoken word artist, travel writer, actor, activist and TV show host. Wait, what’s that? Oh, right. You’re thinking of the other guy. The one from Black Flag.

Truth be told, they're the same Henry Rollins. The man is becoming increasingly hard to define; short of cage-fighting with Chuck Norris, he's pretty much done it all. Speaking realistically, this is perhaps the greatest challenge you, as the interviewer, face. After reading through the 87-page Rollins bio your editor sent you, you're left wondering what you're supposed to ask him about. Long story short, he's dropping by Australia as part of his spoken word tour, 'The Long March'.

"For me, experiencing the world is of great importance. I think you really need to get out into the world to get an understanding of it. You can only be served so well by a book."

'The Long March' sees Rollins reflecting on his most recent travels, bringing them to life in vivid fashion. Don't be fooled, though. It's a little more intense than your Aunt's holiday slideshows... that is, unless she visited a minefield in Sudan.

"I'm gonna talk about countries that I've been to since the last time I toured Australia; North Korea, Mongolia, Nepal, Mali, Sudan, Uganda, Cuba... Travel's where I get my big lessons from. It's given me a much different idea about water, food, life, death. You see some pretty graphic examples of what a war looks like. When you walk around Southern Sudan you look down and there's bullet casings on the ground, and there's a farm we went to where they used dead Northern soldiers to fertilise the field. You see minefields, swept and unswept. It sucks. And these people are left to deal with the gift that keeps killing every year. Like in Laos, there's cluster bombs to the point where there's more than one or two unexploded bombs per Laotian person. What landmass wants those statistics? I mean, I don't even want that in my front yard."

When Henry Rollins speaks, you're completely engaged. His opinions are outspoken, yet well-informed, backed with a thirst for the truth that's helped him develop a stance on every major US domestic and foreign policy from the last 30 years.

For example, Rollins has always been a staunch opponent of US military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, yet a devoted supporter of United Service Organisations, the group responsible for entertaining deployed US troops. Some would see this as a conflict of interest. They would be wrong.

"In my constitution, the army doesn't start wars. The army doesn't go 'Hey, guess what? We're gonna go over to Afghanistan and kick some ass!’ That comes from Congress, and so me getting mad at the military about a war is like you going to the airport with your cancelled flight ticket and yelling at the lady at the check-in counter. She's just working there. The army, they just take orders. What, you think some guy, after 20 minutes in Iraq, wants to sit there for 15 months? It's just a job that he took. So my beef is not with the military. My beef is with those who sent the military out to do their work. So when the USO said 'Hey, you wanna go out and talk to the soldiers?' I said 'Yeah, I'll go out there. No problem.’"

For 20 minutes Rollins touched on every political and international dilemma currently overshadowing efforts for global utopia; from globalisation to immigration, corporatisation, Reaganism and the Occupy demonstrations. This all makes for interesting conversation... but, as a music fan, there's that one topic, that elephant in the room, that you're dying to talk about. That is, if names like Bad Brains, Minor Threat or Black Flag mean anything to you at all. You formulate the question in your mind, knowing that a man like Henry Rollins has been asked it literally hundreds of times before. Then you ask it anyway. 

"When Black Flag ended it was a shock! For five years you're doing this thing and then in one phone call it's over. Literally, in two minutes it's over and you're like 'Oh. Oh! Ok. Well damn!’ It was kind of like getting punched. But you just deal. I went 'Ok, time to start a new band and make a record'. I didn't have the money to stop, I didn't have anything to pay rent with. There was only time to book a few spoken word shows so I could pay my phone bill, form a band and keep moving.”

 Henry Rollins presents ‘The Long March’ at The Brisbane Powerhouse between May 2-4.

Wednesday, 07 March 2012 11:48

Evanescence: Worth The Wait

If you’re reading this, you must have a life. Congratulations.

That means that when the last iPhone was released, you weren't one of the millions of people camped outside an Apple Store, waiting all night to get their hands on Steve Jobs' latest flat-screen fiasco. You've seen the TV pictures, though; you know what this scene looks like.

Now, imagine all those people are Evanescence fans, and they've been waiting there for five years. Five long years spent hoping, and praying against all odds that Amy Lee still has enough life left in her vocal chords for one more album. It seems crazy, but maybe their beloved band isn't quite dead just yet. Troy McLawhorn was one of those people. Lead guitarist, man of faith.

"If you were to say that the break contributed in a positive way, that would be wrong. If you take five years off, I don't think a lot of artists can do that. I think we're very lucky that we've come back with an album and people are still interested. We have such loyal, loyal fans."

Troy chooses his words carefully, speaking with the faint suspicion of a man more accustomed to expressing himself with chords rather than consonants, harmonies over metaphors. Yet his utterances are decisive, carrying the amber warmth of a soft, Southern drawl that could only come from North Carolina.

The album he's referring to is, of course, Evanescence's third LP, a self-titled release that's garnered relatively warm reviews since its release last October. It's the first to include Troy as a component, yet while he only officially signed on to the band in 2011, his association with Amy Lee's outfit arches back years earlier. It's a story that seems to account for his slight mistrust of the press and, perhaps, of people.

"I met Amy when I was in Dark New Day on tour with Seether, and Amy and (Seether frontman) Shaun were dating. She had seen our band play and stuff. When I got the call, I didn't even hesitate. She was like 'Would you be willing...' and I was like 'Yeah!' before she even finished her sentence. I thought it was cool, I thought it was very interesting to me."

Troy would come to play with Evanescence intermittently from 2007 onwards, balancing his new band Seether with a burgeoning musical affinity with Amy Lee. Little has been said about the feud between himself and band mate Shaun Morgan that simultaneously developed; for the most part, Troy is unwilling to discuss it. From an outsiders' perspective, though, it seems obvious that his friendship with Amy was a catalyst for his eventual departure from Seether. In 2005, Lee and Morgan's two-year relationship collapsed, leaving both to endure an incredibly public and difficult breakup that left a profound impact on Seether's lead singer. As the jaws of alcoholism began to take hold of his wellbeing, it seems Shaun Morgan had no kind words to say about his guitarist's growing association with the girl from his past.

"It just wasn't working out for me. I don't want to get into the details because I don't feel like there's any reason to. Me and the singer just didn't get along."

In hindsight, the rift that developed was an inevitable one. While Troy mulls his words before expressing his thoughts, the Twitter page of his counterpart seems haphazardly awash with snide criticisms and
sarcastic remarks. "That dust will never settle. You ever find yourself at a party and you're like 'I need to get out of here’ ... like a situation where you've just gotta go, 'cause it's getting weird? I got in a cab and left."

For now, Troy feels he's in a better place, that the move to Evanescence "made sense". In his own words; "I probably wouldn't have taken the gig if it was some sort of jazz band". But business is business, and he faces a relentless touring schedule ahead.

"Being on tour is like Disneyland. It's not the real world. You're flying all over the place. The days don't matter. Don't matter if it's Monday or Saturday. You're playing a show that night. It's pretty brutal if you can't keep it together. Right now I love it, but we're just getting started on this tour. Talk to me in a year-and-a-half, I'll probably be like 'Oh, this sucks!'"

Evanescence play the Brisbane Convention Centre on Monday March 26.

Wednesday, 08 February 2012 12:26

Only Human: Game

“Where are we?” I look up at Snoop Dogg with the enquiring eyes of a confused child, gripping the shovel he’s handed me like it was a matter of grave consequence. “That’s not important,” he says. “What is important is that we bury these coconuts.”

A phone begins to ring. My phone. The dream quickly shatters as I roll onto my back like a wounded seal, moaning, plucking the sleep from my eyes, kicking blankets away with my feet. I lie there for a second, dazed, a little nauseous, before flinging an arm towards the phone now ringing with a sense of growing impatience. Whoever’s calling, they'd better be worth it.

"Hello?"
"What's up, baby? It's Game."
"My man! How you been?"

I sit up in bed, wrapping the blankets around my legs. Finally, he'd returned my call. For a while, none of us thought we were going to hear from Game again. With the release of 2008's 'LAX' emerged rumours of his impending retirement. He'd already dropped 'The' from his name. It seemed only a matter of time before 'Game' disappeared as well. "I really didn't care about rap or hip hop at all for a second. After a while shit just gets boring when it's too repetitive. Putting out albums every year and going to award shows, it just got boring."

Game stresses to me that he's just "human", appealing to my common man. It's a situation many of us could have related to, as well; who isn't sick of going to award shows? Game's latest album, then, is an attempt to re-energise himself; to reignite the passion, that hunger for rhyme, while staving off complacency.

'The R.E.D. Album' is by no means flawless (as any Pitchfork junkie will tell you), but then that wasn't the intention. 'R.E.D.' is as much about Game's search for his own identity as it is about lining his pockets with Benjamins, cataloguing months of hard work after a self-imposed mini hiatus.

"I stepped outside of hip hop and started doing some of the things that I used to do before I was a rapper. I got kids now, so I took some time out to be a dad. Plus, hip hop was evolving and changing into something I wasn't too fond of and so I just stepped away for a minute."

It isn't just Game's attempt to re-establish himself that makes 'R.E.D' significant. Indeed, the fact that it came out at all could be interpreted as a minor miracle; the album's release date was rescheduled no less than ten times. Game's explanation for this is: "Time comes, time goes", which seems to echo the feeling that his fans were willing to wait. After all, this was the album that would see him and Dr. Dre working in the same studio, ending their half-decade split.

"I worked with Dre closely in the beginning process of 'R.E.D.' and at the end ... Dre is the guy that gave me a chance to alter my lifestyle in hip hop and I'm forever appreciative. I'll be in debt to him as long as I exist."

Seeing as he's "forever in debt" to him and all, it would have been fitting for Game to release his album on Dre's label, Aftermath. That didn't happen, and you might say that he regrets it. Partially, anyway. "Sometimes I'm just indecisive, man. I come up with one way to do something and then at the last moment I'll change it. Kinda like getting dressed for the club, y'know? You pull out a few different outfits, you pick one and before you know it you've tried on all five. I'm just human, man. Just doing the best that I can."

Someone who isn't quite human is Tyler The Creator, that 20-year-old insane genius skateboarding around Compton's streets. During the production of 'R.E.D.', Game managed to wheel him into a studio and lay down what would become the collaboration 'Martians Vs Goblins'. The track's become infamous in its own right, dissing every music personality from Bruno Mars to Chris Brown. Not that you can call dissing Chris Brown a 'crime against humanity'; more like a community service announcement.

"At first it took me a little while to track him down 'cause he doesn't really have a cell phone and he's never home. He just skates around Los Angeles. If you don't find him in the streets you probably not gonna find him. So we finally tracked him down and he came right to the studio and knocked it out." Knocked it out he did.

Game plays The Arena on Thursday February 16.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012 13:32

Hard Dance Alliance

The DJ Team

Compiling the year’s biggest, most bumpin’ tunes can be a little more involved than making your girlfriend a mix CD.

Forget John Cusack in ‘High Fidelity’, it’s the crew from Hard Dance Alliance that know the secret ingredients of a killer mix, taking their 42 flavours of bass and infusing them in the three CDs of ‘Wild Energy 2012’.
“We’re a group of friends and we DJ together frequently… we’re like a DJ team,” one-third of the crew, Steve Hill says.

Like a team, kids. The Justice League. Batman and Robin. Superman and that other newspaper guy. This is how seriously Steve Hill takes HDA, sharing the trio’s history of accolades with fellow members Suae and Pulsar. It’s no wonder, either. Hill alone has over 300 productions to his name, and he isn’t talking about musicals.

“I’ll go to the UK and spend two or three weeks there, make 20 or 25 records, roadtest them for a few months and then release them. Sometimes I forget tracks, and I end up going on Discogs to remember… thank God for Soundcloud, I just give them away for free now.”

That’s right, Hill’s music stratosphere is so out-of-control, he has to research himself on the internet. This is the sort of stuff movies are made of. So, with some of the dance music industry’s giants at the helm, the Justice League of Beats if you will, what’s in store for the latest ‘Wild Energy’ mix?

“What HDA tries to do is marry what Wild stands for with what we do… kids love harder styles of music, but they also love what they hear on the radio. We’re dragging Wild in a bit more of a harder direction than it would normally go.”

Hill reckons you need to approach ‘Wild 2012’s three CDs as a sonic journey. The first CD sees HDA giving Wild fans what they want, with more mainstream, radio-friendly hits. By the second CD, the effects of HDA's heavier, club-driven sound begins to bubble to the surface, until the final disc sees them locking a group of Wild fans in their van and driving away. It’s like ‘Wolf Creek’, but louder.

“We’ve managed to get everyone from Armin Van Buuren to Ferry Corsten to Tiesto in the mix.” Brace yourselves. ‘Wild 2012’ is gonna be bigger than pictures of Kim Jon Il looking at things.

‘Wild 2012’ is available now.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012 12:26

Alex Dimitriades

The Coolness

Few are cooler than actor Alex Dimitriades. But when he’s not in front of a camera he’s airing out his vinyl, bringing secondhand sounds to the people.

Most of us are familiar with your identity as an actor, but not so much as a DJ/ record collector; where does music fit in the tapestry that is Alex Dimitriades?

For as long as I can remember, well, since I was about ten years of age, this black music thing has had me by the balls and it's been a non-stop journey of discovery ever since ... I've never stopped digging.

What first sparked your interest in vinyl and led you towards DJing?


I used to listen to a late night radio show hosted by Tim Ritchie on Triple J in the early ‘80s; he was playing all the hard edge new release imports at the time which were hot, many of which are now cited as seminal classics of the hip hop/ electro/ house genre — basically anything electronic dance, which back then was very, VERY alternative! That sound really caught my imagination; it was like nothing else I'd ever heard anywhere else, so it became like religion.

What genre/ era of music are you most interested in, and why?

These days I'm mostly digging ‘70s soul. It was such a fruitful and important era in the development and evolution of what is broadly categorised as ‘black music’ and is pretty much the era in which the two most potent forms of modern dance music — hip hop and house — were born. You can go either side of that decade a little, and I'm still with it.

Your approach to playing music; do you keep it old school and stick to vinyl, or incorporate newer technologies such as Serato?


Unfortunately the advent of new technologies makes life harder for vinyl purists; it's removed the art of sound engineering from the equation because their job has become much easier, making them lazier. I can't tell you the number of times I've had sound issues because they've cut corners. Not their fault though, it's in our nature as humans to seek the path of least resistance. It would be nice to pack my laptop and carry 1kg around as opposed to 20kg per case, and it would certainly save money at airport check-ins, but it's just not for me. I'm a vinyl junkie; always have been.

Alex Dimitriades plays the Zuri Lounge January 27.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011 12:07

Dum Dum Girls

Pop Religion

For Dee Dee, fronting a rock band wasn’t a dream; it was a religious calling.

“I spent all of my teen years knowing I wanted to do something like this, but not knowing how. I had terrible stage fright, I had no self-confidence, I didn’t know how to play guitar … I had friends in bands but I didn’t know how it could translate to me; that it was something I could do. Finally I started singing in my boyfriend’s band when I was 18 and it kind of just progressed from there. This is my calling.”

But which hand of rock was it that reached down and grabbed Dee Dee's guitar by its neck? Surely the clue lies in her band's name; 'Dum Dum' is a blatant reference to the Vaselines album of the same name. Then again, there's that Iggy Pop song, too.

“It’s about a 50/ 50 even split. They’re both massively influential and inspirational in terms of bands that I love that mean a lot to me. Both groups write perfect pop songs, they just colour them a bit differently, and that’s always been my interest.”
If Dee Dee is anything, she's prolific. It feels like Dum Dum Girls have only been around for a handful of years, and yet she's provided them with enough material for three EPs and two full-length albums. Songwriting is Dee Dee's craft, but it's still not an exact science.

“I remember I read an article about a woman who used a very antique form of poison to kill her husband... that spawned a song I wrote called ‘Mercury Mary’ which was on (our) first 7”. Usually my songs are more personal and narrative than that, but sometimes I just stumble upon an idea.”

The 'all-girl' band moniker is one that never fails to capture the media's attention. Perhaps it comes down to curiosity — it does for Dee Dee, anyway. “It’s a bit irritating to have your music categorised by gender… that can feel pretty small. But at the same time it was a conscious choice on my part. I’d never played music with women before, and I was literally just curious.”

Dum Dum Girls are headlining No Years at The Powerhouse on Saturday December 31.

Wednesday, 07 December 2011 12:24

Mary Poppins

Musical Theatre In Preview

P.L Travers once wrote that Mary Poppins could not "forever arrive and depart", but lately that's exactly what she's been doing.

Over the last decade, the stage production of ‘Mary Poppins’ has carried this magical British nanny to major cities across the globe,  igniting the notepads of critics in West End and Broadway with flurried witticisms of praise and adulation. Since Travers' first Poppins book was published in 1934 the story has undergone countless adaptations, yet it's the 1964 film that most of us relate to. Whether or not musicals are your idea of a practically perfect night, almost all of us are familiar with the image of Julie Andrews floating through the clouds, umbrella in hand. That is, unless you're a fan of the Soviet Union's 1983 adaptation, where a Babushka arrives in a T-34 tank and says, "In Soviet Russia, nursery tidies up you!"

Regardless of Mary's place in your life, we're all well aware that the East Wind will soon bring her to Brisbane; the musical's publicity team has already plastered posters across every surface area they can find. Filling her corset for the show's run of Australian dates is acting veteran Verity Hunt-Ballard, a leading lady determined to bring her own distinct flavour to one of the 20th Century's most identifiable roles.

“When I got the role, I asked if I could go to New York to see the show because I’d never seen it before. They were adamant that I didn’t, because they didn’t want a mimicry. They wanted us to bring our own sense of truth to the part. Musicals evolve as they go from country to country and it’s pretty much the same creative team that put the show on ten years ago, so they’ve been evolving too. They’ve cut parts and re-edited bits and cut music and rethought things. I think that’s what I’ve loved about working with this team so much is that they’re always wanting to better the show. They’re never wanting to put in a carbon copy or template that they’ve stuck with.”

Few stories have existed for so many decades and in so many forms, yet Verity contends that it's no secret as to why Mary keeps popping up in our neighbourhood. “It’s a show with timeless values and morals and I think we’ve lost a sense of a lot of those things in 2011. People come and see the show and are reminded of a more innocent age … and the fact that we all come from a slightly dysfunctional family and often need a little bit of outside help. There’s a great line in the show that says ‘anything can happen if we only get out of our own way’ and I think that’s the essence of what we’re trying to say.”
The hidden value of entertainment has always been the escapism it offers, and stories like ‘Mary Poppins’ remind us that happiness can be found in the most unlikely of places. Mind you, that isn't a reference to finding this production landing itself in Australia; with P.L. Travers' local roots and the similarities shared between British humour and our own, the musical's Australian leg has provided the production with a home away from home.

“I think Australians tend to understand English wit a little bit more than Americans, and the English people have said that the Australian cast bring a certain earthiness, a kind of groundedness to the performance and a different type of humour. Every show is different.”

If Verity Hunt-Ballard's reputation within theatre circles wasn't already firmly established, it certainly is now. Around 1000 people auditioned for the lead role on the Australian leg of ‘Mary Poppins’ before her services were specifically requested. The rest may be history, but with the opportunity of a lifetime has come the most difficult task in her career.

”I wanted to pay huge respect to Julie Andrews. She made the role famous and it was about wanting to find a combination of paying respect to her but also finding my own way of portraying the role. I think the real challenge is playing a role that isn’t quite human, but has human characteristics and emotions. I’m performing magic tricks and everything needs to be full of smooth lines ... there’s no room for error."‘

Mary Poppins’ will be performed at the Lyric Theatre QPAC from Dec 30 - March 17.

Wednesday, 09 November 2011 13:37

Barry Morgan's World of Organs

Musical Comedy In Preview

Chatting on the phone with Barry Morgan is like catching up with the crazed uncle you never had. When we spoke, he was in his Toyota Crown, a Hammond Aurora strapped to the roof.

Barry is the man responsible for helping us rediscover the joy of press-and-release. But when he’s not on the road, he’s selling his organs in Sunnyside Mall. “It’s a fantastic place. You get into Adelaide and you head up towards Happy Valley. You take a left just before there and you end up at the Sunnyside Mall, and that’s where I’ve got my World of Organs Superstore … packed with organs! If you come and visit we can talk organs and I can teach you my ‘one-finger method’.”

Yes, the famous one-finger method - the revolutionary organ technique that took the music world by storm, shooting Barry to the top of the charts. “It’s very easy. You just choose a finger - any finger will do, that’s entirely up to you - and it’s a simple touch and release. Away you go. It’s beautiful instant music.”

Listening intently to Barry’s instructions, my thoughts wandered to his Organ Superstore, full of customers eager to get their hands on a 1981 Hammond Aurora Classic. The man was clearly a musical genius, with safari suit to match. “I think I’ve sort of just come into my own. I’ve been doing the organ sales thing for a lot of years, and since my appearance on that little Adam Hills program, things have changed quite a lot. I’m pleasantly surprised at how Barry’s naturally in the pocket of being quite groovy.”

That little Adam Hills program was ‘Spicks and Specks’, which briefly aired on a community station called ABC. And don’t be fooled. Barry may want to reignite our love of organs, but he’s not leaving until he’s made a sale. “Make no mistake, the organ is for sale. Some people say it’s a concert or performance, but I really just think it’s an organ demonstration. I’m really trying to get a sale. I don’t want to strap (the Hammond) on the roof and drive it back to Adelaide, my goodness no.”

‘Barry Morgan’s World of Organs’ is playing for two nights only, November 12-13 at the Brisbane Powerhouse.

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