You grew up for the most part in Central Australia, when did you start becoming interested in soul and funk music?
My dad was always into blues and country music. So I sort of cut my teeth on Chuck Berry, and the Beatles. I went to an international school in India when I was 12 and discovered Bob Marley. I met people who were into disco and from there it was a natural progression I guess. I also spent a lot of my teen years listening to Prince.
We remember your electrifying performance at Meredith in 2006 at 4am with the Bamboos, how have things changed for you career-wise since then?
That really was a fun gig and it changed my life. The Bamboos have taken me around the world and Lance Ferguson has co written and produced all three (nearly four) of my solo albums which came out on Tru Thoughts UK.
How many bands have you played in?
That is too hard. I played in the local pubs in Hay with my dad on guitar and a friend on drums when I was 15, then came to Melbourne and joined Bull in a China shop. Then there was Curtis Late, Heavy Earth, Polyester, Mega Bias, The Bamboos, Cookin’ on 3 Burners and now The Glenroy Allstars. And I’m sure there were a few others in between.
There seems to be a real community of Melbourne bands interchanging members and swapping around, etc. Why do you think that is?
Melbourne is the music capital of Australia and it’s quite a tight knit community. As with every trade, word of mouth and who you know plays a big part. You need to get along with people you make music with so it inevitably ends up that you are playing with friends or friends of friends.
What can audiences expect from your live performances?
A few venues have asked me to scale down the band sometimes either for the sake of the budget or to actually fit on the stage but the big band sound is what I want for the songs that I’m doing at the moment. Ross Irwin arranged all the strings and horns for my albums so those parts are important so I always have a horn section. I’m lucky to get to play with some of the best musicians in the country. And when Phil Binotto is available I get him in to play percussion. Then there’re eight of us on stage.
Your band is the Glenroy Allstars. What significance does the suburb of Glenroy have to you?’
I live in Glenroy. I’ve only been here ten years but it’s a great place and my boys have been involved with the Glenroy footy and cricket clubs. I had to think of a name quickly for a poster and that’s the best I could do at short notice. And the footy club lent me some jumpers that I sometimes make the boys wear. I tried to make them wear something nice and they always turned up looking a bit of a mishmash so I punished them by making them wear the footy jumpers.
What are you looking forward to most about performing at the Coburg Night Market?
I’ve never been to the night market but I lived in Coburg for quite a while; my son Reggie went to Coburg Primary until Grade Three, so hopefully I’ll see some familiar faces. I always loved food shopping down there. The delis and butchers are great. And it’s always nice to do family friendly gigs.